Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Advisory Alert

Update: January 24, 2020

To: Local Health System Partners

Re: Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

This is an update to the information shared with you in the Advisory Alert of January 22, 2020. It contains up-to-date information from the province’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, on the 2019-nCoV situation, legal reporting requirements, and updated IPAC measures. The case definition for the novel coronavirus is also included.

Please note the increased case counts, cases in health care workers, evidence of human-to-human transmission, and the first confirmed case in North America (Seattle, Washington). Dr. Yaffe also notes that these developments are not unexpected and do not substantively change the risk to Ontario, which remains low.

As of January 22, 2020, the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) was amended to add “diseases caused by novel coronaviruses, including SARS and MERS” to the list of Diseases of Public Health Significance (DOPHS) under the Designation of Diseases regulation (O. Reg. 135/18) in Ontario. This means that novel coronaviruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), must be reported to local public health officials by those who have a Duty to Report under the HPPA (including physicians, hospitals, laboratories). This new DOPHS has also been designated as communicable, providing Medical Officers of Health with powers under the HPPA to ensure appropriate case and contact management.

Health system partners are reminded to ensure you are familiar with infection prevention and control (IPAC) best practices available at IPAC guidance for 2019-nCoV in acute care settings is outlined in the letter and guidance for other settings is forthcoming from the Ministry of Health in the coming days.
Thank you for your attention to these important matters. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is committed to timely and clear communication about this quickly evolving situation. Should you have questions or comments, or for immediate reporting of persons meeting any of the 2019-nCoV case definitions, please contact the Control of Infectious Diseases Program at 705.522.9200, ext. 301 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200) or after hours at 705.688.4366.


Penny Sutcliffe, MD, MHSc, FRCPC Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer


This item was last modified on January 24, 2020