Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some Regional services are closed or cancelled.

Frequently Asked Questions on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an evolving situation and we'll continue to update information as it becomes available.

The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority, and we work daily with local hospitals, primary care, emergency services, the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and other provincial and federal partners in response to this new virus.

All persons returning to Canada are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travel

  • Should I avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada?
    Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada and cruise ship travel until further notice.
  • I just got home from travelling outside of Canada, what should I do?

    Travellers who have returned from anywhere outside Canada are required by law to:

    • Call ahead before visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about your travel history and symptoms so they can ensure that they use proper infection control measures
  • I own a seasonal campground, what should I do about returning travellers?

    Trailers that are self-contained with washroom facilities and running water are permitted to operate under the Ontario Provincial Government’s list of essential services during the state of emergency. Campgrounds must exclude trailers that are not equipped with these facilities or campers using tents and other structures until further notice. This is in an effort to prohibit the use of communal washrooms and spaces that non-self-contained campers would rely on to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

    For those camping with trailers that are self-contained, the park must:

    • Ensure washrooms are closed and locked at all times
    • Rope off shared playground equipment, and close pools and other sites where people may gather
    • Space trailers as much as possible, to ensure the camper (users or people) can maintain a separation of at least 2 metres
    • Maintain physical distancing: decrease occupancy, cancel any planned communal gatherings and post signage around physical distancing
    • Place signage at entrance to campground advising all individuals to self-isolate for 14 days if returning from out of country travel and to self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing
    • Minimize handling of cash and take payments electronically
    • Provide alcohol based hand sanitizer to staff at 60-90 per cent concentration for use at cash registers or for performing other duties
    • Consider not renting cabins under current conditions. If rented, the entire cabin must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between rentals including any provided utensils or multi-use items.
    • Increase awareness about COVID-19 through communication with staff
    • Increase hand hygiene for staff and communicate to those who are ill that they should stay home

Prevention

  • How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces?

    It's not certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Preliminary information on COVID-19 suggests that the virus may live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on:

    • Temperature
    • Type of surface
    • Humidity of the environment

    High touch surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Clean your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or hand sanitize. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

    Products shipped within or from outside of Canada could also be contaminated. However, because packages usually take days or weeks to be delivered, and are shipped at room temperature, the risk of spread is low. There is no known risk of coronaviruses entering Canada on parcels or packages.

  • What are the recommendations for those who have been asked to self-isolate for Novel Coronavirus COVID-19?
    • Do not go to work, child care, or other public areas for 14 days
      • If you develop symptoms within 14 days of your self-isolation period, you must remain in self-isolation for an additional 14 days from the day your symptoms started OR 24 hours after your symptoms have stopped, whichever is longer
    • Separate yourself from others
      • Sleep in a separate room
      • Have a bathroom in your home dedicated to only you (if possible)
      • Maintain a distance of two metres from other people
    • No visitors
    • Clean your hands often
    • Do not use public transportation, ride sharing companies or taxis
    • Cancel non-urgent appointments until the end of your monitoring period
    • Avoid close contact with others, including those in your home as much as possible
    • Make alternate arrangements to support children and other dependents
    • Ask a friend or family member to help you get a supply of groceries and other necessities, don't go out and get them yourself

    If you're in self-isolation and need to go out for any reason, call the Public Health Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Info Line at 905-688-8248 press 7, then press 2 and a nurse will provide you with detailed instructions to follow.

  • Should I avoid contact with pets or other animals if I am sick with COVID-19?
    The CDC is recommending you should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you're sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people.

    Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it's still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you're sick.

    If you're sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

  • 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 if I am caring for someone with COVID-19?

    The only people in the household should be those who are responsible for providing care to the sick person.

    People who are not taking care of the sick person should make arrangements to live somewhere else until the sick person is better. If this is not possible, other people in the home should stay in another room or be separated from the sick person.

    • Take care of yourself. Monitor yourself for any signs of illness, and separate yourself immediately if you're staring to feel sick with a fever, new cough or shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
    • If you begin having any of the above symptoms, contact your health care professional or Niagara Region Info-Line immediately at 905-688-8248 ext. 7019.
    • Clean your hands often. Alcohol-based hand rub / sanitizer is preferred. However, plain soap and water is acceptable if alcohol-based hand rub isn't available. If hands are visibly soiled, clean them with plain soap and water immediately.
    • Wear personal protective equipment (PPE), gloves, mask and eye protection, while providing care or in the same room as the sick person
    • When you walk out of the sick persons' room, remove PPE in this order to reduce the risk of getting germs on your hands or face:
      • Remove gloves, wash your hands.
      • Remove eye protection
      • Remove your mask by holding only onto the ear loops or ties (do not touch the front of the mask that was over your face) and throw your used mask into a covered, plastic lined garbage can and wash your hands
      • Clean eye protection with a cleaner / disinfectant as per manufacturer's instructions or place into a container for later cleaning / disinfection
      • Clean your hands again
  • What do I do if I'm sick with COVID-19?

    Restrict contact with others:

    • Do not go to work, school, or other public areas until a health care professional approves of your return to normal activities
    • You are not to use public transportation, ride share companies or taxis
    • No visitors
    • Cancel non-urgent appointments
    • If you must go out for a medical appointment or urgent care, you must inform Public Health and wear a mask over your nose and mouth, and travel in a private vehicle
    • Making alternate arrangements to support children / other dependents
    • Ask a friend or family member to help you get a supply of groceries and other necessities, do not go out and get them yourself
    • Separate yourself from others:
      • Sleep in a separate room
      • Have a bathroom in your home dedicated to only you (if possible)
      • Maintain a distance of two metres from other people
    • If you can't separate yourself from others, then you should wear a mask if you're able
    • Your kitchen, bathroom and your bedroom should be well ventilated by keeping a window (slightly) open if possible and tolerated

    Infection prevention in your home:

    • Clean your hands often:
      • Alcohol-based hand rub / sanitizer (ABHR) is preferred however, plain soap and water is acceptable if ABHR is not available
      • If hands are visibly soiled, clean them with plain soap and water immediately
      • Dry your hands with a paper towel. If you don't have paper towel, use a towel that is dedicated to you only and keep the towel separate from everyone else's towels.
    • Place a box of tissues by your bed
    • Cover your cough and / or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue
    • Clean your hands after sneezing or coughing
    • While receiving care, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or tissues
    • Throw your used tissues and masks into a covered, plastic lined garbage can and clean your hands
    • Avoid sharing personal items, especially those that come into contact with saliva, such as toothbrushes, cigarettes and eating utensils
    • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily
  • Is Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services contacting the close contacts of Niagara's confirmed cases?
    Yes. Public health nurses are working directly with the close contacts of all laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases in Niagara. They are providing close contacts with medical direction.
  • What healthy habits should I be practising to protect my family from getting germs or spreading germs?
    Everyone should be practising standard respiratory illness precautions

    Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily.

Local Businesses

Public Facilities, Events / Gatherings

  • What should I do about public gatherings of five or more during the COVID-19 pandemic?
    As of March 28, 2020, the Ontario government, based on the best advice of Ontario's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, issued a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to prohibit organized public events and social gatherings of more than five people.

    Organized public events include parades, events including weddings, social gatherings and communal services within places of worship.

    This order would not apply to private households with five people or more. It would also not apply to operating child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders provided the number of persons at each centre does not exceed 50 people.

    The Goverment of Ontario has provided detailed information to help keep Ontarians safe.

General Information

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