(CNN) — Forty of the people who became ill with carbon monoxide poisoning in a northeast Ontario town over the weekend had to be hospitalized, police said Monday.
Officials say nine cases of carbon monoxide poisoning have been reported in Galt, which is about 80 miles northeast of Toronto.
Dozens of others were treated at local hospitals after getting sick Sunday night while staying in a hotel, said Rino Bortolin, Galt’s deputy police chief.
There were no immediate reports of death, but two people have died from CO poisoning this year in the city, police said.
“It’s bad news,” Police Chief Dan Talbot said Sunday, “it’s very tragic.”
Talbot said about 200 people had sought medical attention as a result of the incident.
“The investigation is ongoing and we’re treating it as a criminal investigation at this time,” Talbot said.
Media reported that police were still investigating the origin of the CO leaks Monday afternoon. They believe the source of the leak may have come from a building where a plumbing and heating company was working, according to the Toronto Star.
There were more than 6,000 CO cases reported across Canada in 2018, and Canada’s medical officer of health said last week there were about 140 deaths and 1,000 hospitalizations linked to CO poisoning.
Synthetic CO poisoning is caused by generator exhaust and hospital CO cartridges
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can form in your car engine, home generator or wood burning stoves when they are running.
Often, you won’t feel anything when you have CO poisoning, although some people who are exposed will feel nausea and headaches as well as chest pain, nausea and seizures.
Symptoms typically occur within minutes to a few hours after exposure, with symptoms lasting from six to 72 hours.
“Every year, hundreds of people are poisoned by CO, many of them dying,” Dr. Michael Gardam of the Ontario Health Network wrote in a report last year.
Canadian officials are urging Ontario residents to prevent CO poisoning this winter.