Manitoulin sees its first two cases of COVID-19

International travellers tested on March 23

MANITOULIN – Manitoulin Island has its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19, a married couple in their 50s that had travelled internationally. Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) reported that the couple was tested on Manitoulin March 23.

The couple flew from Sydney, Australia to San Francisco Airport on Qantas Airways flight QF73 on March 19. Passengers in rows 40-44 and flight crew that may have served these rows are considered close contacts of the confirmed cases. They then flew from San Francisco to Toronto International Airport, also on March 19, on Air Canada flight AC742. Passengers in rows 17-21 and flight crew that may have served these rows are considered close contacts of the confirmed cases.

Prior to that, the couple were passengers aboard the Princess Cruises ship Ruby Princess, which departed Sydney, Australia on March 8 and arrived back in on Sydney Australia on March 19.

PHSD reminds all people that have travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival in Canada.

“Just to be clear, the two confirmed cases are a married couple that came home from out of country and self-isolated when they got home, even before symptoms, and they were just confirmed today,” a person close to the couple posted online following the Sunday evening news, adding that “they did everything they were supposed to.”

Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin issued a press release Monday morning following the PHSD announcement. “Although we knew that eventually this virus would come to the Island it is still disconcerting that it is here,” the mayor stated. “We will keep this couple in our thoughts and hope for a speedy recovery for them, but I need to urge our citizens to follow the advice of the PHSD. Stay home when you can, keep your distance from others and wash your hands regularly.”

As of press time Monday, there were 10 cases of COVID-19 in the Sudbury-Manitoulin district, two of which are on Manitoulin.