The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2020 Convention is at the center of a new confirmed case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Toronto, with an exposure setting. More than 23,000 people attended the conference held March 1-4 in Toronto, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior cabinet officials, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his senior cabinet officials, as well as numerous senior and junior mining executives.
The man, who was said to be in his 50s, tested positive after returning home to Sudbury, Ontario, after being at the conference on March 2 and 3. He remains in self-isolation and has experienced cough and shortness of breath (difficulty breathing), according to the Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
“I am confirming that based on our investigations so far, the individual was not infectious while attending the PDAC 2020 conference March 2 and 3 in Toronto,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury and District medical officer of health. “Our working hypothesis at this time is that this individual was exposed to COVID-19 while at the conference and therefore we are advising those who attended the conference to monitor for symptoms for 14 days since leaving this event.”
Toronto Public Health said it is conducting a detailed investigation of this person’s activities while they were in Toronto.
“Given the global circumstances, it is not surprising that this case has been identified,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, medical officer of health for Toronto Public Health. “Individuals who attend events and large gatherings are reminded to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 which includes: fever (greater than 38 degrees Celsius), new onset of cough and difficulty breathing.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government had established a more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund. This includes new investments to respond to the outbreak, limit the spread of the virus and prepare for its impacts.
“As COVID-19 continues to spread, we are taking every precaution to minimize the health, economic and social impacts of the virus in Canada,” Prime Minister Trudeau said.
In related news, an employee at Kinross Gold Corp.’s Toronto office tested positive for the virus. The company closed the office and asked its employees to work from home until at least March 20.
“The company is working directly with Toronto Public Health (TPH) who used current evidence to carefully assess the potential health risk, identify people who may have been directly exposed to COVID-19 and actively follow up with them,” Kinross said in a statement.
The employee who tested positive was last in the Toronto office for 1.5 days ending March 3, is currently at home in self-quarantine, and is in good condition, according to the company. This employee did not attend the PDAC conference or other external events and has not recently traveled to Kinross sites.
To date, COVID-19 has not impacted production or product shipments at any of the company’s sites. There also hasn’t been any significant negative impact on, or disruption of, the company’s supply chain, Kinross said.