Regional health officials hold media event - MoH pleads with public to follow the rules

News 100 redBy Staff

March 19th, 2020


Correction. There were two COVID19 deaths in Ontario; one of which was in Milton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health, Halton Region and Dr. Neil Rau, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Halton Healthcare met with media at 1:30 this afternoon to expand on the second COVID-19 related death in Ontario.”

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health, Halton Region

They took questions from the media – the questions the Gazette submitted were not given to the MoH.

When Dr. Hamidah Meghani was appointed as Medical Officer of Health she said it was the job of a life time.  She may not be saying that today. These are what can only be described as very difficult circumstances under which Dr Meghani does her best.

When she spoke this morning she was at the podium all by herself for the most part – not a politician in sight.

She was supported by Dr. Neil Rau, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Halton and a communications staff person who did the introductions.

Meghani - Mar 19th

Dr.Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health, Halton Region, standing at the podium by herself – not a politician in sight.

Dr. Meghani announced that Halton Region Public Health had been notified of a death related to COVID-19. The individual, a man in his 50s, is the second COVID-19 related death in Ontario.”

The man had an underlying health condition and was being treated first at the Milton District  Hospital and then transferred to the Oakville hospital where he died shortly after arriving.

“This is the tragic proof that we need to work together as a community to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and taking action to protect yourself and those around you,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “This is a larger community issue and I know that everyone joins me in extending their deepest condolences to his family at this time.”

“Halton Healthcare extends our sincere condolences to the family and our thoughts are with them at this time,” said Dr. Neil Rau, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Halton Healthcare. “We want to reassure our communities that all of our infection, prevention and control policies and procedures were followed during this patient’s stay, consistent with the clinical presentation.”

virus imageDr.Meghani said “we have one shot” at this and later added that it was her belief this most recent death was the result of contact with someone in the community. The deceased had not traveled outside the country and was not known to have interacted with anyone who was self isolating.  The virus is now amongst us.

Dr.Meghani explained that the necessary follow up investigation work is being done to learn who the deceased met with in the last couple of weeks. “These investigations take time” she said.

Dr. Meghani said this is not the time for dinner parties or for play dates for children.  The time to hunker down and stay at home is now.

Halton Region Public Health urges residents to take every precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect the health of the community, especially those most at risk. The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 is to practice social distancing and:

• stay home when ill;
• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;
• wash hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;
• clean and disinfect objects and surfaces;
• do your best to keep at least two metres away from others; and
• if you are able, avoid all non-essential activity recommended and declared by the province.

social distance 6 omn steps

Keep a six foot distance between others whenever you can.

Halton Region Public Health continues to focus on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from these groups only:

• health care providers seeking or reporting information;
• those living or working in a healthcare setting or institution and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; or
• those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If you have severe symptoms, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

Residents are encouraged to stay informed by regularly reviewing credible sources of information. To get the latest information on cases in Ontario and to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19, please visit

For more information on COVID-19 including confirmed cases in Halton, symptoms, risks and when to contact Halton Region Public Health, please visit

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