Coronavirus: What are community cases and should Canadians be concerned?

As the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus increase in Canada, medical authorities are urging Canadians to practise social distancing and prevent the virus from spreading through community transmission. But what are community cases, and why are they cause for concern?

The Canadian government said a community case occurs when the virus has passed within a community, rather than contracted through travel.

Happening across the country

Isaac Bogosh, an infectious disease specialist based out of Toronto General Hospital community, told Global News, “Community transmission is likely happening across the country” and those numbers are expected to rise as more and more people are tested.

Canada’s epidemiological summary of COVID-19 cases in Canada, which was updated on Friday, showed that out of a study of 434 confirmed cases, 24 per cent of them were contracted in a community setting. Another 10 per cent were linked to having close contact with a recent traveller.

As of Saturday afternoon, deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said there were 1,099 confirmed cases in Canada. Thirteen people have died from the virus.

Following the partial closure of the U.S.-Canada border, which was effective at midnight Friday, Bogosh said the country would likely not be “importing” any new cases of COVID-19.

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