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By: Michelle Poirier

The Regional Municipality of York has had its first death related to COVID-19, a female in her 70s who had recently returned from international travel.

The woman was a resident of Markham and returned home from travel on Saturday, March 21.

“York Region extends their deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the individual,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “This case speaks to the seriousness of the current situation and how as a community we need to continue working together to protect one another.”

Wayne Emmerson, York Region Chairman and CEO, said in a media release that they offer support to the family of the woman who passed.

“During these times of uncertainty and rapid change, this is an unfortunate and somber reminder of the seriousness of this situation. Now, more than ever, we need to follow the advice of public health to protect ourselves and our community,” Mr. Emmerson said.

The City of Markham has also declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Markhaven Home for Seniors, which signals local transmission.

“We now cannot rule out local transmission in York Region,” said Dr. Kurji. “These unfortunate signals are indications of progression of the virus in our community. Local transmission is defined as individuals who did not have close contact with a travel-related case or any known case of COVID-19.”

There is a total of 53 cases in York Region as of March 23.

“To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our community, York Region Public Health encourages residents to avoid crowds, stay at home when possible and practice social distancing and maintain good hand hygiene. Even with newly confirmed cases, these measures will help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Ben Mulholland, Corporate Communications for The Regional Municipality of York, said in a media release. 

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