April 20, 2003

Possible SARS exposure at York Region funeral

NEWMARKET – York Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hanif Kassam, reports that an individual who attended a recent funeral was ill with symptoms of SARS. It is possible that others attending the funeral home and church may have been exposed to the illness.

York Region Health Services is contacting everyone who attended:

All attendees must call York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 immediately for information and direction. Those who meet the criteria will be quarantined at home for ten (10) days as a precaution to prevent exposure of SARS to others.

"SARS is a serious illness and we will continue to take strong measures to contain it," said Dr. Kassam. "Placing everyone attending this event in quarantine is an aggressive, yet effective, method to prevent the further spread of SARS. It will only work, however, if individuals come forward and agree to follow the quarantine directives."

It is recognized that some attendees will live outside of York Region. While York Region Health Services will make the initial contact with individuals, additional follow-up of non-York Region residents will be done by their local health department.

All those who attended the funeral home or funeral mass are asked to call York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 immediately. Hours of operation are from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week during this SARS outbreak. Residents may also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, which also provides service in languages other than English.

For general information on SARS, contact Health Connection or visit www.region.york.on.ca


Media Briefing: Dr. Kassam will be available to speak to the media about this issue on Monday, April 21 at 10:00 a.m. in the Great Hall, York Region Administrative Centre, 17250 Yonge Street, Newmarket

Contact: Patrick Casey, Corporate Communications Services, York Region

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