NWHU, SLMHC update public on 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Tim Brody - Editor
The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) is advising that there are several cold and influenza viruses currently in Northwestern Ontario, clarifying, “If you have not been in Wuhan, China and have not been in direct contact with a sick person who has been to an affected part of the world, it is highly unlikely you have 2019 Novel Coronavirus at this time.”
The following updated on the Coronavirus was released by the NWHU on Jan. 27:
What is being done to protect me?
Canadian Border Service is screening returning travellers from high-risk locations. The Public Health Agency of Canada is communicating with all provinces and territories so that public health officials have up to date information about how many people are sick and how the risk is changing. Ontario’s Ministry of Health is giving direction to health care providers and local public health units (Northwestern Health Unit) on actions to take. If visiting your doctor’s office or hospital, you will be asked about your symptoms and travel history. When a person is suspected of having 2019 Novel Coronavirus, that person will be cared for in the hospital or at home, depending on the level of care needed. The Northwestern Health Unit will work with the person experiencing symptoms and others who may have been infected to ensure they follow certain practices to avoid infecting others. Practices might include staying home from work or school and avoiding contact with additional people for up to two weeks.
What should I do to protect myself?
Influenza and common viruses remain a much higher health risk in Northwestern Ontario at this time than 2019 Novel Coronavirus. You should continue to follow practices to protect yourself from all viruses:
• clean or sanitize your hands often
• stay well hydrated
• get your flu shot 2 And to avoid spreading illness to others:
• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve • clean or sanitize hands often
• stay home when sick
• do not visit hospitals, long term care homes or young infants when you are sick
The Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) is actively monitoring the situation with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
“At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada states that the risk to Canadians is low,” SLMHC shared in a statement to The Bulletin. “While the risk is low at this time, infection prevention and control strategies are in place at SLMHC. Precautions in place include patient screening and isolation of anyone with presumptive coronavirus. Please expect to be asked about cough, fever and travel if you are required to visit the hospital.”
SLMHC shared the following:
What is the Coronavirus?
People around the world commonly get infected with human coronavirus. The virus usually causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China, is being referred to as the Novel Wuhan Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV. As of January 29, there have been two confirmed cases in Ontario. The Ministry of Health is offering up-to-date information on their website at https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov. For more information about our region, please visit the Northwestern Health Unit’s website at www.nwhu.on.ca.
How is it spread and treated?
Human coronavirus most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands, touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands, and rarely fecal contamination.
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms;
- take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children).
- use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider.
Any additional information and updates will be provided on our website: www.slmhc.on.ca