Covid-19 patient at PDAC conference sparks transmission fears

Matthew Hall 12 March 2020 (Last Updated March 12th, 2020 13:34)

A man who attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual conference in Toronto, Canada last week has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, sparking fears of local transmission that could have occurred between some of the 23,144 attendees at the conference.

Covid-19 patient at PDAC conference sparks transmission fears
Public Health Sudbury and Districts posted details of the case online, confirming that a man in his 50s had been tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the PDAC conference. Image: PDAC.

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A man who attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual conference in Toronto, Canada last week has tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus, sparking fears of local transmission that could have occurred between some of the 23,144 attendees at the conference.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts posted details of the case online, confirming that a man in his 50s had been tested positive for Covid-19 after attending the PDAC conference.

In a statement, Sudbury and Districts medical officer of health Dr Penny Sutcliffe said: “Although this is concerning, as a community and as a health system, we have been preparing for Covid-19. Our focus is on breaking the chain of transmission to limit the spread of infection and as a precautionary measure, we are asking those who attended PDAC 2020 to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.”

Sutcliffe said that the individual was not infectious while attending the conference, but that the current hypothesis is that the individual was exposed to the coronavirus while at the conference.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at the PDAC conference, and it was attended by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and several other provincial and federal government ministers.

The PDAC conference is an internationally-attended event, bringing together mining executives, analysts, investors, geologists and media. There are fears that the coronavirus could have been transmitted to other attendees at the conference, potentially worsening its international spread.

Following the Covid-19 diagnosis, PDAC assured attendees that health and safety measures had been increased on-site throughout the conference following advice from Canadian health authorities.

Politico reported that Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam is working with her provincial and municipal counterparts to monitor the health of those who attended the PDAC conference.

The province of Ontario has so far recorded the most Covid-19 cases of any of Canada’s provinces, with 42 of the 103 total cases being diagnosed in the province.