SUDBURY -- The Timiskaming Health Unit says the rumours circulating on social media about a northern Ontario outbreak of the coronavirus in a long-term care facility are not accurate.

Local public health officials say they are continuing to work with others at the provincial and national levels to monitor the novel coronavirus, also known as the 2019-nCoV strain.

It's been linked to the outbreak in Wuhan, China, that has killed 17 people, and has infected over 400 others.

The Timiskaming Health Unit says the virus affecting a local long-term care facility is not caused by the 2019-nCov strain and that there is no need to panic. For this reason, local health authorities say residents at the facility are not considered to be at risk.

"The Timiskaming Health Unit will continue to monitor reports regarding 2019-nCoV from Health Canada to ensure the safety of our community," said Angie Manners, Timiskaming Health Unit infection disease program manager.

Public health officials say coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that can cause serious illness, but can also cause the common cold.

"To best prevent common colds caused by viruses (i.e. coronavirus or even influenza), the Timiskaming Health Unit recommends good hand washing with soap or alcohol based hand rub for 15-20 seconds, covering your cough and sneezes, and staying away from vulnerable individuals when ill (i.e. elderly).common cold," said Manners in a statement.