SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Sault Area is taking a proactive approach, when it comes to COVID-19.

On Tuesday, hospital staff began screening all patients and visitors for symptoms of the virus as a precaution.

"The risk to the public remains low at this time," said Dr. Lucas Castellani. "We're conscious of what's happening around the world and we want to make sure our patients and our staff are safe."

Dr. Castellani says patients and visitors might also be asked by staff to wash their hands.They could even be isolated in a private room at the hospital, if symptoms are present. In some cases, Castellani says staff might ask the person to self-quarantine at home.

"It helps with the flow of patients and clinic, it helps minimize visitors that could also potentially be sick," he added.

The precautions come as a comfort for executives at the Marconi club, who say they're concerned for family and friends in Italy.

"People frequent Italy on a regular basis in Sault Ste. Marie, that country means a lot to this city," said Sonny Spina, G. Marconi Society President. "it's really sad for us to see so many in our community here, not able to reach out to their family and friends."

Italy is struggling to contain the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Europe and has placed the entire country under lockdown.  So far, the virus has claimed 631 lives and has infected more than 10,000 people; the most positive cases worldwide, outside of china.

"We have to put our trust in the professionals, the doctors, the physicists, the scientists that are all working hard to keep this epidemic from spreading," said Ida Simon, Electra Marconi Society President. "My heart goes out to everyone at this point in time and I hope this ends soon."

Spina and Simon add that they've not heard from anyone whose returned from the country, to Sault Ste. Marie recently.

Meanwhile, officials say the risk to the city remains low, with no positive cases of COVID-19.

A statement from Algoma Public Health, confirms "fewer than 10 tests have been submitted for the region."