Question for people from Toronto

  1. I'm supposed to go to Toronto in 2 1/2 weeks. I'm supposed to go with another couple that's around our age...31 y/o. We're healthy. Non-pregnant...our other g.f.'s not going b/c she is preggo.

    I haven't been following SARS on the news for the passed week or two...but hear they had no more cases for a while now they have some more cases.


    We've already paid for our vacation. We'd be out a couple hundred dollars if we cancelled our trip now.

    Would you not go...if you were us? You live in Toronto so I thought you'd get more of a feeling. I've looked on the Internet there's A LOT of articles but none that fully explained who's getting infected...I'm going to keep searching for info. but thought a person living in Toronto would "know" a lot that's going on there.

    We don't plan on touring hospitals but have tickets for Lion King and will stay downtown in a hotel.
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   FutureNurse2005
    I think you will be fine! Just be a little cautious around others...but dont worry!

    Although...I did see an article today that the WHO is advising against travel to TO...use your judgement!

    Have a great trip!!
  4. by   JMP
    I live near Toronto, both my kids live in Toronto. One kid is just finishing university and the other is already working in his chosen field.

    I would go there tonight, I would go there in two weeks. I was there the weekend before Easter.....had a great time.

    The media has fannned the flames, like they do with everything these days... most of the SARS cases are health care workers working with known cases.

    I would go, wash your hands and have a good time.
  5. by   nurseman
    It would take me about 90 minutes to drive to Toronto. I wouldn't break plans to see my friends let alone give up tickets for the Lion King. If you are paranoid buy a box of N95 masks and a bottle of hand sanitizer. Personally I think it is a great time to go and visit as there aren't the usual number of tourists


    http://www.canada.com/toronto/story....F-3037CD7C217A


    TORONTO -- The World Health Organization's warning against travelling to Toronto is a ridiculous and unnecessary move, says the microbiologist at the front lines of battling the SARS outbreak that's crippling the country's biggest city.
    "This is really inappropriate and I don't know how they came to that conclusion,'' Dr. Donald Low, chief microbiologist at the city's Mount Sinai Hospital, told Toronto radio station 680 News on Wednesday.
    "The fact we have not seen any further secondary cases over the last two weeks tells us it has been contained ... no further dissemination -- therefore the community is not at risk.''
    The WHO said earlier in the day that travellers should avoid Toronto, Beijing and China's Shanxi province because of the danger of SARS.
    In the global health agency's latest move to stem the spread of the virus worldwide, the three locations joined Hong Kong and the Chinese province of Guangdong as no-go areas for visitors.

    "Today, we're recommending that people who have unnecessary travel to Shanxi, to Beijing and to Toronto postpone that travel if possible because, as was the case for Hong Kong and Guangdong, these areas now have quite a high magnitude of disease, a great risk of transmission locally -- outside of the usual health workers -- and also they've been exporting cases to other countries,'' said Dr. David Heymann, communicable diseases chief for the WHO.

    The news was met with dread by Toronto's business community, already reeling from the financial repercussions of the SARS outbreak so far in the city, where 15 people have died.
    Rick Naylor, head of Accucom, a company that organizes trade shows to Toronto, says conventions are the city's lifeblood and predicted the WHO warning will be devastating.
    "The ripple effect is huge because the hotel industry, the restaurant industry, sporting events -- everything filters out of that,'' Naylor said. "The economic impact is huge -- it's not just the conventions, it's the offshoot businesses that are affected.''
    The travel warning will be active for at least three weeks -- double the maximum incubation period for SARS, Heymann said.
    Another WHO spokesman cited the transmission of cases outside of hospitals as one reason Canada's largest city was added to the travel advisory.
    "The reason that the recommendation was put in place was because of the exportation of cases, transmission outside the hospital setting and ... the large number of cases,'' Dick Thompson told The Canadian Press in a telephone interview from Geneva.
    Asked if the decision had been a difficult one to make, Thompson replied: "In one sense it's not difficult because it's a public health issue.''
    "We realize there is an impact on the community,'' he added, "but this is a temporary recommendation. It will be reviewed in three weeks.''
    Meanwhile, the WHO will be looking to see if any other cases of the disease were being exported to areas outside Toronto.
    The tightening of international travel marks the first time a location outside of Asia has been targeted.
    Toronto, which was the first place outside Asia that the disease was detected, has always been a special concern to health officials because of the continued spread of SARS in the community despite tough health measures.
    "Toronto last week had an exportation (of the disease) which set up a cluster of five cases in health workers in another country,'' said Heymann, who spoke by telephone from Thailand. "This is what called it again to our attention.''
    He would not say where the disease had spread to from the Canadian city.
    Overall, more than 300 suspected or probable cases of SARS have been reported in Canada, but the most cases by far have been in the Toronto area.
  6. by   oramar
    Oh Boy, I am really interested in seeing where that cluster of cases that came from Toronto is located. I would also like to have a lot more info on that situation. If the news was bad, that the real sever type was out and about with concurent fatalities, well that would be the clincher for me if I was in askater's shoes.
  7. by   fergus51
    I was so angry to see thw WHO advisory. It was completely inappropriate given the scope of the problem and the situation here compared to China when looking at things like hygeine and sanitation. The public is still at a VERY low risk of contracting SARS and dying from it. You're more likely to get killed by a car while you're here than get SARS.
  8. by   toronto rn
    I am in complete agreement with fergus51. The WHO advisory is absolutely uncalled for. I live and work in Toronto and have 2 kids who live life as if nothing is happening. The media reports are filled with errors and border on panic. It is unfortunate that a few cases outside of the initial hospital exposures are being compared to what is occuring in China. Come to Toronto, enjoy all this great city has to offer. With a population of ~5 million in the greater Toronto area, less than 300 cases and 16 deaths in the past 5 weeks, with most of the affected people having recovered, and relatively few community transmissions, an advisory to cancel travel is ridiculous. I can guarantee you that as a visitor your risk is almost nil.
    I hope you enjoy your vacation and spread the word about what a great city Toronto is.
  9. by   Scotty
    Oramar,

    Oramar, I think the cluster of cases was in the Phillipines. There was a news story on it yesterday, but I can't remember where and I can't find it today.

    The story said that a nursing assistant from Toronto returned to the Phillipines to arrange care for her father who was dying of cancer. She died of Sars and her father died - unclear whether he died of cancer or Sars. Several other people (?family members or acquaintance)s are being observed to see if they develop symptoms.

    I can't remember who exactly the nursing assistant's Sars contact was in Toronto. I think it was either her room-mate's mother or a relative of a patient she was caring for in an aged care facility. Sorry this is so vague.

    There is some information on it today in the Phillippines Times in the story "WHO set cut off date to determine Phillipines Sars hit or not" but it probably won't be much use to you because it does not mention Toronto.

    Hope this helps,

    Scotty
  10. by   oramar
    Why thank you Scotty, I could not understand why the WHO representative would make that statement and not give all the info. It sounded sinister and you could read all kinds of stuff into it. CDC is merely passing out cards in several languages giving people passing into Toronto over US border information on disease. CDC does not think putting Toronto on avoid list is necessary.
  11. by   nursetobe-babe
    I live in toronto, I wouldn't even be worried about it at all... I haven't seen anyone outside wearing masks yet... don't touch/shake hands with anyone, wash ur hands often and stuff & u'll be fine! ( i've seen lion king, it's awesome!)

    enjoy T.O
  12. by   Scotty
    Yes, I have no idea why the WHO won't name the country and give the full story. Maybe just bureaucratic procedure. Maybe because the Phillippines depends so heavily on their overseas workers' income and the WHO doesn't want them unfairly victimised overseas as potential Sars carriers. They do tend to suffer a lot of discrimination. The Filipinos in Hong Kong were criticised by officials for meeting in large groups, but the Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Tournament, also a meeting of a large group. went ahead without criticism.
    Scotty
  13. by   fergus51
    I don't know why they are so worried about the Phillipine economy as opposed to ours...
  14. by   nurseman
    My father went to Toronto to do a little shopping today. If I'd known sooner I'd have asked the safety department if I could borrow a full face respirator and some N95 cartridges just to keep him safe :roll



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