What is Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new coronavirus that appeared first in Wuhan, China and has since had cases in many countries around the world. A novel coronavirus is one that has not been identified in humans before. It is being referred to as COVID-19 (as of February 11, 2020) and belongs to the coronavirus family, which cause a wide range of illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory illnesses.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. What does that mean?
- As of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic.
- A pandemic describes an infectious disease where there is person-to-person spread in multiple countries around the world.
- The declaration of a pandemic does not change WDGPH’s response to COVID-19.
- Ontario Public Health units, including Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, work very closely with the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario, and the Public Health Agency of Canada and continue to monitor and assess the risk to Ontarians.
How many cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Ontario?
- The Ontario Ministry of Health is updading their website with details on confirmed cases.
How many cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in WDG?
- Visit the Status of cases in WDG page for updated local confirmed cases.
Who can be tested and what are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Visit our Tracing, Testing and Results page for information.
What is the incubation period before symptoms present?
- The average incubation period is about 5 days. The incubation period varies and can be more or less than 5 days, however, evidence indicates it is less than 14 days. Symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing need to be considered in the context of whether you have been in close contact with: someone with symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone who has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days.
How does COVID-19 spread?
- Person-to-person spread is how the virus is transmitted.
- The science on the disease indicates it is spread through “droplet-and-contact” transmission – like the common cold or influenza.
- The virus can live on hard surfaces for 2-3 days. The best advice in terms of prevention is to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, keep your hands away from your eyes and nose, wash and disinfect high-touch surfaces like phones, doorknobs and light switches and maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others.
Who is most at risk?
Those most at risk are:
- People experiencing symptoms AND any international travel within 14 days of illness onset.
- Close contact with someone who is ill and who has travelled outside Canada in the past 14 days.
- Based on reported cases, approximately 80 percent of people who get the virus have mild symptoms, 20 percent have more severe symptoms and 5 percent become critically ill.
- The elderly (65+) and people with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions are most at risk from getting a more critical case of the novel coronavirus.
Who is considered a “close contact”?
A close contact is defined as a person who provided care for the patient, including healthcare workers, family members or other caregivers, or who had other similar close physical contact OR who lived with or otherwise had close prolonged contact with a probable or confirmed case while the case was ill.
What is WDG Public Health’s role when we have confirmed cases of COVID-19?
- When cases are confirmed, Public Health ensures each individual is isolated until well and follows up with any and all known close contacts of the person to determine if others need to isolate.
- Tracing is also done to determine where they became ill and to determine what next steps are needed.
What is “community transmission”?
- Community transmission occurs when people are become ill with COVID-19 without a link to travel or close contact with a person who has recently travelled.
Is there community transmission in our area?
- COVID-19 is in our community, please stay home and stick to your social bubble as much as possible. When out or around people not in your bubble, always wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance as much as possible.