SUDBURY -- Health authorities have found a second confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Sudbury region.

"This is not good news, but it's also not unexpected. This individual was a close contact of the one confirmed case in our area," said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe. "The other good news about this is the individual has been under self-isolation, including at the hospital, as well as at home. That's where they were tested and then they went home. No concerns about any other contacts or any other actions that have to be taken as a consequence of confirming this second case."

Dr. Sutcliffe couldn’t say anything else about the individual, only that they were a close contact of the first case.

The case comes as more and more people have begun to self-isolate and parts of the city are shutting down.

"The second confirmed case is not any evidence of local transmission within our community, so that's clear. However, we are seeing some evidence of local transmission in other communities and certainly other parts of the world and other parts of Canada. There's no reason to think that we would not have local transmission in our community at some point also," said Dr. Sutcliffe. "So, I think that you're right and that we're inching closer to broader social distancing measures, closures, the need to be cautious about large gatherings and meetings and that kind of thing. So, while there's no formal statement about that right now, I think it's becoming self-evident to everybody that we need to be thinking more about what those measures are, how to protect ourselves and our families, how do we think about our workplaces, do we have options to work from home and in particular how do we help the more vulnerable."

The working hypothesis, which is still the case for Sudbury at the moment, is that the first case contracted the virus while he was a delegate at the Prospector & Developers Association of Canada 2020 convention in Toronto.

The man, who is in his 50s, works at the Willet Green Miller Centre on the Laurentian University campus as an employee of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

He remains at home in self-isolation.


In the midst of mass event and service cancellations, Dr. Sutcliffe says public health is aware of some daycare and camps that are still running within the region. She says a decision to shut those down would have to be made at the provincial level.

"It does require a statement of emergency, provincial authority to be able to do that. The direction and the public health advice can certainly come from local public health and can come from the Medical Officer of Health, it can come from the municipality, etc...," she explained.

Dr. Sutcliffe adds Sudbury has already been incredibly proactive in thinking about the concerns and people protecting themselves and their businesses.

Testing for COVID-19 in the Sudbury/Manitoulin Districts is now being done at Health Sciences North Research Institute on Walford Road in a bid to keep people away from the main hospital site. The samples, however, are still being sent to Toronto and the Public Health Ontario facilities.

"I think this is such a rapidly evolving situation, it's really important to stay tuned with what's happening. One of the efforts of local public health and Public Health Sudbury & Districts is to try and interpret what we're hearing globally, nationally, provincially and what that means here locally. So, stay tuned for that," she said. "Absolutely, the same precautions that everybody has heard about: respiratory etiquette, so staying home when you're ill is so very important, making sure that we cough into our sleeve, making sure that we keep distance from ill co-workers, that kind of thing is so critically important."

"I think the issue of stockpiling; we need to put some common sense to this that we understand there is absolutely no concern with regards to supply chains of toilet paper, food or anything. In fact, that behaviour is not necessary. Pick up a few extra things when you go to the grocery store, be reasonable and look after each other," Sutcliffe added.


In the meantime, Health Sciences North has begun to take additional measures in a bid to protect those needing urgent medical care.

According to a statement from the Sudbury hospital, they're in the process of introducing active screening measures. Some entrances at the Ramsey Lake Health Centre and 680 Kirkwood Drive are also restricted access or closed.

The hospital's volunteer program is also suspended, effective immediately, until further notice.

Patient consultations, wherever possible, are also being conducted by teleconference and video conference.

Visitor restrictions remain in place at the facility and elective surgeries and procedures for the weeks of March 15 and March 22 have been cancelled.