Quebec health officials have disclosed the province’s first probable case of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Montreal.
The patient, a Montreal-area woman, had just returned from a trip to Iran via Doha, Qatar, Monday when she went to a medical clinic that same evening because of “mild” symptoms, Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann said. Her condition did not require hospitalization, the minister said — though numerous reports said she underwent tests at Verdun Hospital before being released.
The patient is now in voluntary isolation at home and is “doing fine,” McCann told reporters Thursday evening at a hastily called news conference in Montreal.
The woman did not go to work after her return from Iran nor did she take public transit, Dr. Yves Jalbert, deputy head of the provincial public health protection agency, told reporters by phone from Quebec City during the same news conference.
“The detection of this case shows that our system is efficient, it’s reliable and our treatment protocols are well established,” McCann said.
Results of tests done Tuesday came back Thursday, Jalbert said. Another analysis of the samples now needs to be performed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for official confirmation, McCann said. Results of that analysis will be known Sunday.
“We have been very vigilant as a government,” McCann said. “We have been investigating many people. The system has worked very well. So I want to say to the population that we are ready, the network is ready. All the measures that are necessary to really protect the population, protect the workers and take care of the patients are there.”
Added McCann: “There is no cause for concern.”
McCann reiterated that four Quebec hospitals will be used to treat infected patients who need to be admitted. They are the Jewish General and Ste-Justine’s in Montreal, the Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval and the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute in Quebec City.
As of 8 p.m. Thursday evening, 21 people were under investigation for the coronavirus in Quebec, the health ministry said on its website. Another 79 so far have tested negative.