Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Hubei Province, China (including Wuhan).

We're also collaborating with local hospitals, primary care, emergency services, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and other provincial and federal partners to protect Niagara residents.

About Coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

The new (novel) coronavirus is a new virus in this family which we have not previously seen.

Risk from the New Coronavirus

Our assessment, and the consensus of international experts, is that the risk for Canadians is low.

Avoid sharing personal items that come into contact with saliva, such as toothbrushes and eating utensils.

If you have travelled to mainland China within 14 days and have recently developed respiratory symptoms, avoid contact with others and contact your health care professional immediately. Call ahead to allow health care staff to take appropriate precautions.

Symptoms

Common signs of infection include:

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • New cough
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, and rarely, death.

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Info Line

  • 905-688-8248 ext. 7330
  • Toll-free: 1-888-505-6074

Prevention

To prevent the spread of infectious diseases and to keep healthy, follow these simple steps:

Stay home if you're sick
Return to work or school when you're well
Wash your hands often
Use soap and water or hand sanitize. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover your cough or sneeze
With a tissue or into your sleeve. Increase cleaning and disinfection of surfaces.
Keep your distance
Avoid shaking hands and close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid sharing personal items
Especially those that come into contact with saliva, such as toothbrushes and eating utensils.

More Information

  • Why is the risk of acquiring the virus in the community low for Niagara residents?

    There is no evidence of community spread in Canada. This means that all confirmed cases in Canada travelled to the affected area in mainland China. Any person who is suspected or tested for the virus is immediately isolated. Their close contacts are very closely followed and isolated if they develop any symptoms.

  • Should my school or workplace take special precautions?
    There is no need for schools, workplaces or other organizations to take special measures related to COVID-19.
  • I don't work in health care. Do I need to wear a mask in public, school or at work?

    Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, has emphasized that for people that are well, there is no need to wear a mask to protect against novel coronavirus. She advises that wearing masks when you're well is not an effective measure.

    Surgical masks:

    • Offer partial protection only. A surgical mask is just a physical barrier designed to protect against splashes or sprays of fluids and large droplets.
    • Are not designed to be worn all day long
    • Can actually present some risks, as you're putting your fingers up and down on your face, removing your mask and putting them next to your eyes
    • Need to be discarded after use and not be reused

    Wearing masks in public may raise alarm and fear. Widespread use of masks may also result in shortage of supplies for health care providers who need them most. If you're a health care provider, check with your employer around mask use.

  • What is the severity of the new coronavirus?
    Across the globe, we're seeing the majority of cases having mild to moderate illness. Elderly people and those with underlying medical conditions are often experiencing more severe illness.
  • How is the new coronavirus transmitted?
    The virus transmits from person to person through coughing and sneezing, just like the common cold or flu.
  • What travel precautions should I take?
    If you're planning to travel, you should consult the Health Canada Advisory. Canadians should always tell their health care providers about their travel if they become ill after returning to Canada
  • What are the recommendations for returning travellers?
    Canada has a number of standard border measures in place to prevent the entry of infectious diseases in Canada.

    All international travellers arriving in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver international airports will be asked additional screening questions to determine if they have visited mainland China.

    Recommendations for travellers from Hubei Province

    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 you left, self-isolate and stay at home.
    • Contact public health within 24 hours of arriving in Canada at 1-888-505-6074 or 905-688-8248 ext. 7330.

    Recommendations for travellers from mainland China

    If you have travelled from mainland China in the last 14 days:

    • Monitor yourself for respiratory symptoms including fever, new cough and difficulty breathing
    • If these respiratory symptoms develop within 14 days, contact public health or your health care professional immediately to inform them of your symptoms and travel history before seeking medical care so they can discuss the most appropriate transportation options and site for testing
  • Is there a vaccine that protects against coronaviruses in humans?
    Currently, there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses in humans.

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