The first Canadian diagnosed with the Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified in Toronto on Saturday. Canadian and provincial health agencies are working closely with public health and hospitals to keep the risk of spread of the virus in Canada at a low level.
Residents with a history of recent travel to Wuhan and related areas and who become ill with cough and/or fever should report their travel history to any health professional, or emergency department staff, when they visit.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has been working together with health care agencies in our communities to share information about this virus. Local hospitals have protocols in place for their infection-control practices. The Health Unit’s Communicable diseases team has been in regular contact with hospitals and health care providers regarding measures to detect and test for the disease early and safely. Daily updates are being held internally to manage the situation and teleconferences with health care agencies will continue weekly.
The coronavirus in general is a respiratory virus that causes symptoms ranging from a mild cold to pneumonia. The new corona virus 2019-nCoV appears to be capable of causing more severe lung disease as well as mild symptoms. “You have to be in close contact with a person who is sick with 2019 n-CoV virus for a significant length of time to risk being infected with the virus,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health.
Members of the public are advised to take the usual measures to reduce the risk of transmission of influenza and other respiratory illnesses, which include:
- wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
- keep frequently touched surfaces clean (i.e., handles, door knobs, arm rests, phones)
- if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
- if you are ill, stay home; and
- get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from participating pharmacies.