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. 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.

Cases in Ontario

There are 2 confirmed cases in Ontario and 1 that has been resolved. More information on the status of cases in Ontario can be found at ontario.ca/coronavirus.

More information can be found here:

Risk to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph residents

The risk of infection is considered low. Those most at risk are:

  • Individuals experiencing symptoms and travelled from mainland China in the past 14 days.
  • Individuals who have been in close contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms and has travelled from mainland China in the past 14 days.
  • Individuals experiencing symptoms and who have had recent close contact with a person under investigation for COVID-19 while that person was ill.
  • Individuals experiencing symptoms and recent close contact with a person with lab-confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus.

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.

Symptoms

Individuals can have the virus and not show symptoms for up to 14 days (the exact incubation period is still under investigation). Symptoms need to be paired with a trip from mainland China in the past 14 days or coming in close contact with someone who has traveled from mainland China in the past 14 days to be a suspected case of COVID-19.

Symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia

People most at risk from the novel coronavirus include the young, elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.

Instructions for individuals who have recently travelled from China

Individuals who have returned from Hubei province, including Wuhan City:

  • Within 24 hours of arriving in Canada, contact WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752 or after hours call 1-877-884-8653.
  • Stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including other residents of the home, for 14 days from the date of travel from Hubei province.
  • Individuals who develop symptoms (fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing) should call WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752 for further instruction.

Individuals who have returned from mainland China:

  • Monitor yourself for symptoms (fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing) for 14 days after travelling from China.
  • Individuals who develop symptoms (fever and/or cough or difficulty breathing) should call WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 4752 or after hours call 1-877-884-8653 for further instruction.

If you feel sick during travel from mainland China, inform a flight attendant or a Canadian border services officer.

IN AN EMERGENCY: Individuals with severe respiratory symptoms should call 911 and advise the operator of your recent travel or visit your nearest emergency department and follow the hospital signage instructions.

If you have been asked to self-isolate

Follow the advice of your healthcare provider or public health. If you have questions, or you start to feel worse, contact your healthcare provider, Telehealth (1-877-797-0000) or our novel coronavirus call centre (ext. 7006). Here are some guidelines to follow if you are asked to self-isolate (PDF, 2 pages).

How to prevent infection

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to practice general infection prevention control. This includes:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

How to wash your hands

  1. Wet your hands.
  2. Make bubbles/lather with soap
  3. Sing the ABCs or wash for 20 seconds.
  4. Rince your hands.
  5. Dry your hands.