Important information about Coronavirus / COVID-19

A new coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory infections. Find information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found mostly in animals. In humans, they can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). The new coronavirus has been named COVID-19. While many of the characteristics of COVID-19 are still unknown, mild to severe illness has been reported for confirmed cases.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, or local public health office.
Common symptoms for COVID-19 are:
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Some people have muscle aches or muscle pain, nasal congestion, runny nose or sore throat or diarrhea.
  • Some people become infected and do not feel unwell at all. Most people recover without needing any special treatment.
  • According to the World Health Organization 1 out of every 6 people who get CORONAVIRUS become severely ill and develop difficulty breathing.
At this time, the available information suggests the incubation period is up to 14 days. The incubation period is the time from when a person is first exposed until symptoms appear.

Coronavirus is transmitted via larger liquid droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The virus can enter through these droplets through the eyes, nose or throat if you are in close contact. The virus is not known to be airborne (e.g. transmitted through the particles floating in the air) and it is not something that comes in through the skin.

It can be spread by touch if a person has used their hands to cover their mouth or nose when they cough. That’s why we recommend you cough or sneeze into your arm and wash your hands regularly.

Older people or people with other pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes appear most likely to develop serious illness with COVID-19.

In Canada and many other countries, Public Health authorities continue efforts to prevent the virus from spreading in the community and break the chains of transmission.
They are closely monitoring the global situation and recognize that the virus is spreading within communities in other parts of the world. Canada is preparing and planning for more widespread transmission to mitigate the impact of the virus on individuals, the health care system and the community.
The most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. To help reduce your risk of infection:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection.
  • If a sink is not available, alcohol based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, use a wipe and then ABHR to effectively clean them.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow when you sneeze or cough.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.
Masks should be used by sick people to prevent transmission to other people. A mask will help keep a person’s droplets in.
It may be less effective to wear a mask in the community when a person is not sick themselves. Masks may give a person a false sense of security and are likely to increase the number of times a person will touch their own face (e.g., to adjust the mask).
Health-care workers will wear surgical masks, eye protection and gowns in order to protect themselves and other patients. During health-care procedures in which aerosol sprays may be generated (for example, when giving certain inhaled medications), health-care workers should wear specialized masks.
Follow the same advice that public health officials recommend for the cold and flu season: wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid others who are unwell, and stay home when you are sick.
The most important thing you can do to prevent coronavirus and other illnesses is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
Cover your mouth when you cough so you’re not exposing other people. If you are sick yourself, stay away from others. Contact your health-care provider ahead of time so you can be safely assessed.
Yes. Follow the same procedures as what is recommended during cold and flu season. This includes washing your hands often with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoiding others who are unwell and staying home when you are sick.
Although Canada has identified cases of novel coronavirus infection, there is no evidence of circulation of the virus in the general population, so going out in public is safe.
Public Health asks three groups of individuals to self-isolate. The first group are confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and a second group are asymptomatic close contacts of a confirmed novel coronavirus case and asymptomatic travelers. These two groups are asked to self-isolate for 14 days and are called daily by a Public Health nurse who monitors their health, as well as behaviours (if they have been out in public). If individuals in these two groups do not self-isolate, Public Health can use legal powers under the Public Health Act to ensure that self-isolation occurs.
The third group asked to self-isolate are low risk individuals who are tested for novel coronavirus. These individuals are asked to self-isolate for typically 96 hours until they receive their novel coronavirus testing results.
The spread of novel coronavirus occurs with sustained close contact with an affected individual, for example, sitting in a car on a long trip, or living in the same household. Grocery stores – which are open and where people tend to walk around – are unlikely places to allow for virus spread.
Droplet Contact: Some diseases can be transferred by large infected droplets contacting surfaces of the eye, nose, or mouth. For example, large droplets that may be visible to the naked eye are generated when a person sneezes or coughs. These droplets typically spread only one to two metres and are too large to float in the air (i.e. airborne) and quickly fall to the ground. Influenza and SARS are two examples of diseases capable of being transmitted from droplet contact. Currently, health experts believe that coronavirus can also be transmitted in this way.
Airborne transmission: This occurs when much smaller evaporated droplets or dust particles containing the microorganism float in the air for long periods of time. Transmission occurs when others breathe the microorganism into their throat or lungs. Examples of diseases capable of airborne transmission include measles, chickenpox and tuberculosis. Currently, health experts believe that coronavirus cannot be transmitted through airborne transmission.
There is still a lot we don’t know about COVID-19 and there are studies underway to better understand it.
There have been a few instances of transmission before the person became sick or the symptoms were so mild that the person did not know they were sick. Those are exceptions as most people became ill from being in close contact with someone who showed symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, therefore transmitting the virus through droplets. This is why health officials are focused on putting protection around people who are ill and showing symptoms, in order to decrease the spread to others.

Current information indicates that symptoms may present themselves up to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19.

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing and have traveled outside of Canada or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, avoid contact with others. See a health care provider as soon as possible.
If you are going to visit your health care provider, call them ahead of time so they can arrange for you to be assessed safely. Wear a mask in order to protect others. If you are unsure about what to do or have concerns or questions, contact public health at any time or speak with your health care provider.
When seeing a health care provider, please tell them:
  • Your symptoms
  • Where you have been travelling or living
  • If you had direct contact with animals (for example, if you visited a live animal market)
If you had close contact with a sick person, especially if they had a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

Not everyone will require testing. If you have no symptoms, mild symptoms, or are a returning traveller and isolating at home, you do not require a test.

If you develop symptoms, it is important you stay home and self-isolate. Only a health care professional can determine if you need a test. Call your health care provider to assess if you need testing. If your symptoms are severe, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, call 911 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

No because antibiotics only work on bacterial infections. Since this is a virus antibiotic will to not work to cure the illness.

If you are feeling unwell, stay at home. Most people will get better without any medical intervention.

If you have a fever and cough accompanied by difficulty breathing, seek medical attention. Call your nearest urgent care facility or hospital emergency for instructions on how to keep yourself and others safe while accessing care.

If you still have questions, you can call us at 1-833-851-6431 to talk to a Nurse Practitioner or Registered Nurse, 7 days a week.

Have any other questions about COVID-19?

If your question is not answered here, please submit your question below and we will answer them and get back to you as quickly as possible.