Ontario announces its first death due to COVID-19

Mar 18, 2020

Ontario is reporting the first death related to the COVID-19 virus.

A spokesman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says the 77-year-old man in the Muskoka region was a close contact of another positive case of coronavirus. Travis Kann says the man was under investigation for the virus and was confirmed to have it after his death.

Health officials say there are now 186 cases in Ontario. Three quarters are travel-related, with 29% of patients visiting the United States.

The death comes after Ontario became the first province to declare a state of emergency in an attempt to keep the novel coronavirus from overwhelming the health care system.

All theaters, concert venues, private schools, licenced childcare centres and libraries have been ordered to close effective immediately. Bars and restaurants have to cease operation except for takeout and delivery.

Premier Doug Ford said this is not a provincial shutdown and services most vital to day-to-day life, including transit and grocery stores, will not be affected. The order will remain in place until March 31.