The Regional Municipality Of York

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COVID-19

Translate this page  |   Updated February 13, 2020.

York Region Public Health is closely monitoring the COVID-19 (formerly called novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) situation in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies and receives regular updates as the situation evolves. In addition, public health is working closely with hospitals and community health care providers to keep them informed on the evolving situation and ensure reporting and management of any persons under investigation.

There is no evidence of community spread in Canada and the risk of acquiring the virus in the community remains low for York Region residents.

There are currently no confirmed cases in York Region.

For more information on COVID-19 visit: Ministry of Health
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*The Ministry of Health FAQ is translated into 19 different languages.


Tips to protect yourself from COVID-19

Videos are available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Farsi, French and Arabic.


General Information

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause illness ranging from the simple common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). We see many different types of coronaviruses here in York Region in Ontario and throughout Canada.

COVID-19 which was originally identified in Wuhan, China is a new (novel) strain that experts are learning more about every day.

It is important to bear in mind that reports of coronavirus on our weekly reports on our website, or that you may hear about at a retirement home or long term care home are not related to COVID-19. They are the known coronaviruses that always circulate at this time of year.

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The emerging situation

Currently, there are no cases of COVID-19 in York Region.

Visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus for an up to date list of how many confirmed cases and persons under investigation there are in Ontario.

At this time there is no evidence of community spread in Canada. This means that all confirmed cases here in Canada have links back to the affected areas in China.  As well, any person who is suspected or tested for the virus is immediately isolated and their close contacts are very closely followed and isolated if appropriate. This is why health officials are saying the risk of acquiring the virus in the community remains low.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

The declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization helps to:

  • Support a more coordinated international response, including mobilizing resources
  • Coordinate international efforts to help support countries whose health systems may require additional support
  • Help set global public health standards of practice

The declaration by WHO does not change our efforts here in York Region. York Region Public Health continues to monitor the situation, work closely with our health system partners to ensure reporting and management of the situation.

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How York Region Public Health is preparing

York Region Public Health is closely monitoring the situation. We are working closely with the Ontario Ministry of Health and receive regular updates from the Ministry as the situation evolves.

York Region Public Health is working closely with our hospitals and community health care providers to keep them informed on the evolving situation. Physicians, hospitals and other health care facilities in York Region are to report a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 to Public Health to take action to follow-up with close contacts to prevent and control further transmission.

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Symptoms and transmission

Symptoms:

Authorities are currently reporting that the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • new or worsening cough
  • new or worsening shortness of breath

Transmission:

Known Coronaviruses:

These types of coronaviruses are responsible for causing the common cold and can spread from person-to-person, through respiratory secretions and droplets (e.g, a runny nose or droplets generated through coughing or sneezing) that then contact another person’s eyes, nose or mouth.

COVID-19:

As this is a new disease, much about it is still unknown. While there is evidence of person-to-person transmission, it is yet to be confirmed how easily the disease spreads from person-to-person.

Asymptomatic transmission:

As this is a novel coronavirus, experts are learning more about this every day. So far, the evidence that you can have the infection while not having symptoms or pass on the infection without having any symptoms is emerging and still not clear.

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How to protect yourself

All York Region residents can take the following steps to protect themselves not only from new and emerging diseases but also from the common cold and the flu (which are on the rise at this time of year):

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, including between your fingers, under your fingernails and your wrists; if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your cough or sneeze using a tissue or into your elbow or sleeve, being sure to cover your mouth; put used tissue in the garbage and wash your hands after or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your symptoms resolve
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing
  • Increase cleaning and disinfection frequency of high-touch surfaces such as toilets, sink tap handles, doorknobs, countertops, light switches and other shared items using regular household cleaners
  • Avoid sharing personal items that come into contact with saliva such as toothbrushes, eating utensils drinks/water bottles and towels

Use of Masks

Your workplace (and specifically health and wellness or occupational health and safety department) may have specific requirements or policies around mask use. However, for school, work, or other public settings (outside of health care, where specific guidance has been issued by the Ministry of Health) there is no need to wear a mask to protect against COVID-19 if you are feeling well. Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, actually cautions about the risks of wearing a mask. She advises that wearing masks when you’re well is not an effective measure. Sometimes it 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.

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Testing

If you have symptoms of acute respiratory infection (for example, fever, new or worsening cough, new or worsening shortness of breath) and have recently traveled to mainland China or have been in close contact with someone who is sick and recently traveled to mainland China, contact your health care provider (or visit your local Emergency Department). Try to phone your health care provider (or Emergency Department) in advance of visiting and let them know your travel history, your exact travel dates and location(s), and any contact with an ill person that has been to mainland China. Try to take a private vehicle if you can to visit your health care provider.

Testing is not available for individuals who are well.

Please note York Region Public Health offices are not testing for COVID-19.

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Travel advisories

Travelers should consult the Government of Canada for the latest travel advice and advisories.

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Schools and public places

The Ministry of Health has not at this time developed specific guidance for schools, workplaces, or other organizations (except for healthcare) and has been communicating directly with the education sector, specifically.

At this time, there are no specific or different measures for schools, workplaces or other organizations related to COVID-19, beyond what they usually do to protect against cold and flu season (for example, frequent handwashing, regular environmental cleaning).

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Telehealth and Health Connection

If you have additional questions, please contact Health Connection Monday to Sunday daily from 8:30 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-361-5653 (1-866-512-6228 for the deaf or hard of hearing).

For medical advice, you may also contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service you can call to get health advice or information. A Registered Nurse will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Information for returning travelers

As of February 7, 2020, the latest guidance from federal and provincial authorities is as follows:

If you have been in Hubei province in the last 14 days you should:

  1. Stay at home for 14 days after the time you left Hubei province. This means do not go to work or school, or any social gatherings. If you need to leave your home (for example, to get groceries), take a private vehicle and make sure to stay a safe distance (>2 meters) away from any other person.
  2. Monitor yourself for signs and symptoms every day for 14 days after the time you left Hubei province
  3. If you develop any of the following signs or symptoms:
    • fever
    • new or worsening cough
    • new or worsening shortness of breath
    go to your local emergency department. Wherever possible, phone them ahead of time to let them know that you are ill and your travel history and take a private vehicle if possible or an ambulance (if appropriate). Avoid taking public transit. Call York Region Public Health’s Health Connection line to alert us at 1-800-361-5653, but don’t delay seeking care.

All travelers who have traveled to mainland China (but not Hubei province) should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after returning. If any signs or symptoms develop (e.g. fever or cough or shortness of breath), go to your health care provider (call your health care provider in advance to let them know and travel to them in a private vehicle).

Travelers that are well do NOT need to contact York Region Public Health.

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Information for Health Professionals

For information and resources for health professionals, please visit our Information for Health Professionals page.

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Resources

External Resources


Noval Coronavirus,Coronavirus,corona,virus,Wuhan,china,novel,2019-nCoV The Regional Municipality of York en-US Text is Novel Cororavirus 2019 - nCov COVID-19 York Region Public Health is closely monitoring the outbreak of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China, COVID-19 (formerly called novel coronavirus or nCoV)

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