LONDON, ONT. -- The Middlesex-London Health Unit has confirmed the region's first death from COVID-19.

The victim is a man in 70s who had returned from a trip to Portugal earlier this month.

He had been hospitalized at London Health Sciences Centre and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19.

All of his close contacts have been notified and continue to monitor themselves in self-isolation.

This marks the first death here since the coronavirus pandemic was declared.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this man’s passing and extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We are asking everyone to recognize the seriousness of this virus and how important it is to limit its spread,” says Dr. Chris Mackie, Medical Officer of Health and CEO of the Middlesex-London Health Unit in a news release.

“Please exercise physical distancing, limit any contact with others and only go out to buy supplies when it is necessary. What we do right now will affect how the local situation develops over the coming days and weeks.”

Two new cases of the virus were reported Saturday in Middlesex-London, bringing the total to 25.

The two new cases are both men, one in his 50s, the other in his 60s.

Although it's unclear at this time how they contracted the virus or if they are in hospital or self-isolating at home.

The Health Unit recommends the following tips to help stop the spread of the virus:

  • Stay at least six feet away from others (physical distancing)
  • Avoid all non-essential gatherings of any size
  • Stay home from work and other activities, whether you have symptoms or not
  • Self-isolate at home for 14 days if you have travelled outside of Canada recently (this is now mandatory)
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds or use a waterless hand sanitizer with at least 70 percent alcohol content
  • Cover coughs and/or sneezes with your sleeve or cough into your elbow
  • Clean high-touch areas frequently