What can we do to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 or Influenza within our community?
These tips apply to protect you and others from our usual winter plagues, not just COVID-19.
1.If you have respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, congestion) chances are you have influenza or a milder upper respiratory viral infection which will be self-limiting with home supportive treatment (rest, lots of fluids, medications like Acetaminophen, cough suppressant, etc. for comfort). You will feel miserable but you will be better soon. Stay at home, limit contact with people outside your immediate housemates - read books, binge watch old Friends shows, go on Facebook and get sympathy. Ask your friends to do some shopping for you if you need supplies but don't hug them when they bring it to you. Do not go to public events - your friend will not appreciate you giving them your illness just because you needed to come to their birthday party. Cancel or reschedule appointments if at all possible. See link below for more tips on self-isolation.
2. If you are concerned about your symptoms and think you need to see the doctor, call the clinic first. The office staff can direct your call to the nurse or doctor who can do a further assessment of whether you need to actually come into the clinic and be seen in-person. You may not need to bring your illness out in public and the doctor and clinic staff want to stay healthy so they can keep working. If, after phoning, it is decided that you do need to come to the clinic, you will be given instructions about what to do when you get there. You will certainly be asked to put on a mask. Note on masks: the usefulness of a mask is to protect others from your illness. If you are not sick, you donít need a mask.
3. If you meet certain criteria, the doctor may take a nasal/throat swab to rule out COVID-19. Currently, testing is being done only if there are suspicious symptoms AND travel to an area of concern within 14 days of onset of symptoms OR another index of suspicion e.g. contact with an ill person who travelled to affected areas or contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19.
4. If you have travelled to an area of concern, e.g. China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, you are urged to self isolate (see # 3 above) for 14 days as you can be infectious without being symptomatic during that time. Note that the list of concerning areas does change so check reliable sites for travel advisories, such as the bccdc website http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)
They are currently advising against all non-essential travel outside of Canada (including the US) and requiring anyone who returns from outside Canada to self-quarantine for 14 days and stay away from school and work.
5. Sanitize the objects you and lots of other people touch (e.g. doorknobs, light switches, and shared computers). Best guesses are that the virus can live on surfaces for 2-48 hours, maybe even longer, depending on the surface, temperature, and humidity.
6. Prevention- WASH YOUR HANDS with soap and water. Wash them through 2 rounds of Happy Birthday. Wash them thoroughly and often.
7. DONT TOUCH YOUR FACE. (This is really hard, but we can learn to do this if we pay attention.) I.e., donít pick your nose, or put your fingers in your mouth, or on your lips, or in your eyes. An observational study found that people sitting at a desk working touched their eyes, nose, or lips between 3 and 50 times per hour.
8. "Social distancing" (you're going to get so sick of this phrase). This means keeping people apart from one another - less hand-shaking, hugging, etc.
9. Go online to reliable sources for information. Start with the BC Centre for Disease Control (http://www.bccdc.ca)
. From there you can access links to the Public Health Agency of Canada which has information about travel to and from countries that have outbreaks of COVID-19, for example. Return to these sites as this is a very dynamic situation and is being updated daily.
10. Also, take care of one another. The majority of people recover from this, the elderly need extra consideration right now. The Gorge and Cortes Market will also deliver groceries. Letís make sure they are fed, check-in by phone, etc.
For the most up-to-date information, see below.
(there is a section that provides country-specific information for travellers)
From the BCCDC - Whatís new: week of March 9
Canada now has active travel advisories for COVID-19 updated regularly; please check often.
Travellers returning from Iran and Italy are now being asked to self-isolate for 14 dayshttps://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada.htmlhttp://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/testing-isolation
(for info on how to self isolate)