Cablegate: Wgsars: Update 8 - Ontario Sars Health Emergency

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: WGSARS: Update 8 - Ontario SARS Health Emergency

Ref: Toronto 1048 and previous

1. Ottawa transmitting text of AmConsul Toronto.

2. Fatalities: As of COB April 9, no new SARS deaths have
been reported, leaving the number of SARS fatalities in
Ontario at ten.

3. Number of cases: Health Canada's April 9 SARS advisory
lists approximately 195 cases of SARS in Ontario, including
94 probable and 101 suspect cases, an increase of 3 probable
and 2 suspect cases since April 8 reporting. A total of 49
patients treated for SARS have been discharged from
hospital. All Ontario cases, according to the advisory,
have occurred in persons who have traveled to Asian SARS
hotspots or had contact with SARS cases in a household or in
a health-care setting.

4. Prophylactic measures: Acting on the recommendation of
Toronto Public Health as a precautionary measure, the
Toronto District School Board closed two Toronto high
schools until April 15, a closure affecting almost 1500
persons. One student who developed SARS-like symptoms last
week is undergoing review to determine cause of illness.
Leading daily "Toronto Star" reported on April 10 that York
region health officers have requested home quarantine for
all those who were at Hewlett Packard's suburban Toronto
facility in Markham from March 29 to April 1.

5. The Provincial Ministry of Health is opening up
additional space at the Oakville Lifecare Centre at the
outskirts of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to move patients
awaiting long-term care placement out of Toronto hospitals,
freeing GTA hospital beds for acute care patients. The
April 9 "Toronto Star" reports that province-wide SARS
health-care measures were working, as exemplified by smooth
operational procedures at a rural Ontario hospital in
Listowel. A suspect SARS patient, back from Asian travel,
was admitted and "quickly whisked into an isolation area."
"We are ready right at the door and so we picked [the case]
up with our screening tool," stated the hospital's CEO as
reported in the "Star."

6. Economic impacts: According to media reports, including
Reuters on April 10, Wal-Mart Stores has temporarily barred
its employees from traveling to the Toronto area, while
asking staff returning from Toronto (as well as SARS Asian
hotspots) to remain at home for 10 days. The GTA contains 9
Wal-Mart complexes plus the company's home office in Canada.
On the good news front, the "Star" reports major conventions
maintaining schedules in Toronto, including this week's
2,000-delegate National Association of School Psychologists
and the International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine.


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