Notice: All municipal amenities are currently closed to the public. This includes park equipment, dog park, tennis courts, skate parks, sport fields and pavilions. Open park spaces, and trails remain open currently. Please adhere to social distancing requirements when out in public areas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that circulate in both humans and other animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are usually associated with mild illness, similar to the common cold, and can spread easily between people. There are some coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans, which have caused more severe illness in humans, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The risk of developing severe disease from the 2019 novel coronavirus may be higher if you have a weakened immune system. This may be the case for:
older people, and
anyone with chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, heart, renal or chronic lung disease.
Q2. What is COVID-19?
On December 31, 2019, health authorities in China identified a new (or novel) coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV), after several reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. On February 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially named the new illness COVID-19, where COVI stands for coronavirus, D stands for disease and 19 represents 2019, the year it was first identified in people.
It is believed that COVID-19 originated in another animal. It is the seventh strain of coronavirus.
Q3. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include mild to severe illness consisting of
If you experience severe symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.
Q4. Can COVID-19 be spread from person-to-person?
Coronaviruses can spread when the droplets due to cough or a sneeze from an infected person are breathed in deeply by anyone who is in close proximity to the infected person; similar to how influenza and other respiratory illnesses are spread.
There is evidence of human-to-human transmission of this virus; and while some viruses are highly contagious, other viruses are less so. It’s not yet clear how easily COVID-19 spreads from person-to-person.
Q5. How soon after being exposed to COVID-19 would symptoms occur?
The World Health Organization advises that symptoms may appear in as few as two days, or as long as 10 to 14 days, after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. This time period is subject to change and may be updated as new information becomes available.
Q6. How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
Coronavirus infections are diagnosed based on laboratory testing. A specific test for COVID-19 has been developed to confirm an infection, if one is suspected. Testing is being conducted at both the Public Health Ontario Laboratory in Toronto, and the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Only those patients who meet the case definition with specific criteria for COVID-19 are being tested. A special request for testing cannot be made.
Q7. What can members of the public (including schools and workplaces) do to protect themselves?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As is the case with illnesses like influenza, everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
Staying home when you are sick.
Washing your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the garbage.
Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Seeking medical care early if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and sharing your recent travel history with your healthcare provider
Q8. Should I wear a mask to protect myself against COVID-19?
Medical evidence does not support the need to wear a surgical or N95 mask for general, day-to-day activities. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that for individuals in the community without respiratory symptoms a medical mask is not required, as no evidence is available on its usefulness to protect people who aren’t already ill. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only recommends face masks for people who are sick with the virus or believe they may be infected, and for people who live with or care for them.
The MLHU advises residents to take the effective measures noted in question 7 above, that would reduce the risk of influenza and other respiratory infections, as well as novel coronavirus.
Q9. Is there treatment for COVID-19?
Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. If you experience severe symptoms such as chest pains or shortness of breath, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.
Q10. Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
There is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses.
Q11. How can you protect yourself and your family?
As with most respiratory illnesses, the Health Unit recommends the following to stay healthy and to prevent the spread of viruses:
Stay home when you are sick.
Wash your hands with soap and warm water often, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve; or cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the garbage.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces frequently.
Q12. Should I cancel a mass gathering of people?
The Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends suspending all large events and public gatherings of over 250 people.