Corona Virus
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COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Situation Summary - as of February 11, 2020

The new coronavirus has now been given the name COVID-19 (previously known as 2019-nCoV or novel coronavirus). COVID-19 is a novel respiratory virus with pneumonia-like symptoms that emerged in Wuhan City, China, late last year. There are confirmed cases in Ontario and Canada. Visit the Ministry of Health for the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario. Visit the World Health Organization for more about its declaration that the coronavirus outbreak is now a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. While the risk of this new coronavirus remains low for our region we are starting to implement our infectious diseases emergency response plan to protect residents should the virus appear.

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that commonly cause mild to moderate illness, such as a runny nose or fever. Some types of coronavirus, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), can cause more severe illnesses, such as pneumonia, respiratory failure or even death. Some coronaviruses transmit between animals, some between animals and people, and others from people to people. Initial transmission links for COVID-19 suggested animal-to-person spread, but there is now an indication that person-to-person spread is occurring.

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others just like influenza or a cold by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, or touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Symptoms are usually mild to moderate and can include runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and a general feeling of being unwell.

A person with fever/and or cough or difficulty breathing AND any of the following:

  • Travel to mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan); OR
  • Close contact with a confirmed or probably case of COVID-19; OR
  • Close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to mainland China within 14 days prior to their illness onset

 If you meet the above criteria please contact:

  • public health at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520), Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. OR
  • Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 24 hours a day, seven days a week, OR
  • call your healthcare provider for further advice.

If you are in medical distress and require immediate medical attention, call 911.

For returning travelers

If you have travelled to Hubei province in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that you left Hubei. This means self-isolate and stay at home. In addition, contact the health unit 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520) within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.

All travellers from mainland China are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and to contact the health unit at 705-721-7520 (1-877-721-7520) if you feel sick. Should a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other symptom arise within 14 days after returning to Canada, please call public health or your health care provider or telehealth to seek further advice. If you are in medical distress, seek medical attention.

 You can protect yourself by washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if your hands are not visibly dirty. You can help to reduce the spread of respiratory infections such as COVID-19 by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing and by staying home when you are sick.
The health unit is actively working with many partners as per our infectious diseases emergency response plan. This includes providing provincial screening recommendations to health care facilities and guidance on infection prevention and control measures. The disease is now reportable to public health, meaning that we can track and investigate cases of the disease and close contacts.
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