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COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus)

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Current situation

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE – PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW CAREFULLY

Halton Region Public Health is focusing on those most at risk of COVID-19. Testing is currently recommended for the following people who have symptoms (external link) (e.g., fever, new cough, difficulty breathing, etc.):

  • those aged 60 and over;
  • those with pre-existing medical conditions;
  • those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • those living or working in a health-care or long-term care setting or institution;
  • First Nation community members living on-reserve; or
  • anyone else directed by Halton Region Public Health.

If you have symptoms AND meet one of the criteria above you may be tested for COVID-19. Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre.

Residents of Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills can book an appointment at a Halton Healthcare Assessment Centre by calling 905-203-7963. Residents of Burlington can call Halton Region Public Health at 311 for direction on assessment and testing.

Individuals without symptoms are NOT being tested at this time.

Anyone who develops symptoms, whether they have travelled or not, should self-isolate for 14 days, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Those with mild symptoms and no complications do not need to contact Public Health.

If you have SEVERE symptoms, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

Current confirmed positive cases in Halton

This table is updated daily. Last update: March 27, 5:30 p.m. 

Case Age Gender Municipality Transmission Status
19 20s Female Oakville Travel Self-isolating
18 60s Female Oakville Travel Self-isolating
17 30s Male Oakville Travel Self-isolating
16 50s Male Oakville Travel Self-isolating
15 70s Female Oakville Travel In hospital
14 30s Female Oakville Close contact  Self-isolating
13 50s Female Oakville Close contact Self-isolating
12 40s Male Milton Travel Self-isolating
11 50s Male Milton Unknown Deceased
10 50s Female Oakville Travel Self-isolating
9 40s Male Georgetown Unknown Self-isolating
8 50s Male Burlington Travel Self-isolating
7 50s Female Burlington Travel Self-isolating
6 50s Female Oakville Travel Self-isolating
5 50s Female Oakville Travel Self-isolating
4 30s Male Burlington Travel Self-isolating
3 50s Female Burlington Travel Self-isolating
2 40s Female Oakville Travel Self-isolating
1 30s Female Burlington Travel Self-isolating 

Media updates and announcements

  • December 31 - Health authorities in Wuhan, China first report cases of undiagnosed viral pneumonia. The cause is confirmed as a new coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV or new coronavirus, which has not previously been identified in humans. For updated information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Coronavirus Infection: Symptoms and treatment webpage (external link).

About COVID-19

  • Coronaviruses (YouTube Video link) are a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms similar to the common cold but in some cases can cause more severe respiratory illness.
  • In January 2020, a novel coronavirus (now named COVID-19) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China.
  • To learn more about COVID-19, please visit ontario.ca/coronavirus (external link).

Risk to Halton residents

People of all ages can be infected with COVID-19. Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home. Older adults seem to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus as do people with weakened immune systems and those with pre-existing medical conditions (diabetes, heart and lung disease).

Halton Region Public Health encourages everyone to take physical distancing seriously to protect themselves and others, including the most vulnerable and healthcare workers.

For the latest information about the status of cases in Ontario, please visit ontario.ca/coronavirus (external link)

 

Protect yourself and others

The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses including COVID-19 is to:

  • practice physical distancing (social distancing) (external link);
  • stay home as much as possible, especially when ill;
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;
  • wash hands frequently with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • avoid all non-essential trips into the community;
  • avoid all non-essential travel until further notice; and
  • if you have travelled, it is now mandatory to self-isolate for 14 days from when you return home.

Physical distancing (social distancing) (external link) involves taking steps to stop or slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the community by limiting close contact with others. You are asked to consider the following options to help protect the safety and health of you, your family and friends, and the community:

  • Avoid non-essential trips in the community.
  • Cancel or limit group gatherings.
  • Work from home, where possible.
  • Participate in virtual meetings rather than meeting in person.
  • Keep your children at home.
  • Avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential.

When spending time outside, try to be in settings where you can maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others.

Halton Region Public Health does not recommend wearing a surgical or N95 mask for day-to-day activities. Surgical masks are meant to be worn by those who are symptomatic.

For more information, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Novel Coronavirus infection: Symptoms and treatment webpage (external link) .

Symptoms and testing

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:

  • Fever or new cough or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose or diarrhea
  • Symptoms in young children may be non-specific (e.g., lethargy, poor feeding)

Severe symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath when walking, exercising, or at rest, which is unusual for the patient
  • Chest pain, extreme fatigue, drowsiness, unstable vital signs

Anyone who develops symptoms, whether they have travelled or not, should self-isolate for 14 days, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.  Those with mild symptoms and no complications do not need to contact Public Health.

You will need to stay home and self-isolate (external PDF) for 14 days if you:

  • are experiencing mild symptoms (external link)
  • are being assessed for COVID-19 by a health-care provider
  • have a confirmed case of COVID-19, do not require hospitalization and a medical practitioner has indicated that you can recover at home
  • have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case

It is now mandatory for all travelers returning to Canada to self-isolate for 14-days from return.

Anyone with severe symptoms should seek medical attention by calling 911. Please inform 911 of your symptoms and recent travel history to ensure the right infection prevention and control precautions are taken.

Testing is currently recommended for the following people with symptoms of COVID-19:

  • those aged 60 and over;
  • those with pre-existing medical conditions;
  • those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • those living or working in a health-care or long-term care setting or institution;
  • First Nation community members living on-reserve; or
  • anyone else directed by Halton Region Public Health.

If you have symptoms AND meet one of the criteria above you may be tested for COVID-19. Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre. 
Residents of Oakville, Milton or Halton Hills can book an appointment at a Halton Healthcare Assessment Centre by calling 905-203-7963. Residents of Burlington can call Halton Region Public Health at 311 for direction on assessment and testing. 

Individuals without symptoms are NOT being tested at this time.

Travellers

  • The Government of Canada is urging:
    • All Canadians to avoid non-essential travel outside of the country, until further notice
    • Canadian travellers to return to Canada via commercial means while they remain available
    • All Canadian travellers returning to Canada to self-isolate (external PDF) for 14 days from return. If symptoms develop, remain in self-isolation for 14 days from when symptoms began, or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.
  • Health-care workers who have travelled outside of Canada are advised to self-isolate for a period of 14 days starting from their arrival in Ontario.
  • All workers deemed critical should seek guidance from their employer regarding the need to self-isolate or attend work.
  • If there are workers who are deemed critical to continued operations, they should:
    • self-identify to their occupational health and safety department;
    • undergo regular screening;
    • use appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE);
    • undertake active self-monitoring, including taking their temperature twice daily to monitor for fever; and
    • immediately self-isolate for 14 days if they develop symptoms.
For information about self-monitoring and self-isolation, visit Public Health Ontario's website (external link).
For the most recent travel health notices, health risks, safety and security abroad and information for returning travellers, please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada's website (external link).

Treatment

At this time, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine. Most people with COVID-19 will recover on their own by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids;
  • Getting rest and sleeping as much as possible; and
  • Using a humidifier or a hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough.

Health Canada states that there is no scientific evidence that ibuprofen worsens COVID-19 symptoms. Please consult Health Canada’s website (external link).

Consumption of methanol will not protect against COVID-19. Methanol is not meant for human consumption and may lead to adverse effects to human health. Methanol should never be ingested, should not come in contact with skin and vapors should not be inhaled.

 

More information about COVID-19

What is Halton Region Public Health doing in response to COVID-19?

Halton Region Public Health is closely monitoring the evolving situation. We are working closely in collaboration with local, provincial and federal governments, as well as healthcare providers and hospitals, police, long-term care homes and other community partners.

Halton Region Public Health:

  • educates the public regarding steps they can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19;
  • assesses the risk among residents with symptoms and determines if testing is required;
  • coordinates testing (when required) at an appropriate location;
  • ensures those who are showing symptoms understand how to reduce the risk of transmission to others; and
  •  ensures those under investigation and their close contacts understand and follow self-isolation protocols and monitor for symptoms.

Should I avoid close contact with others?

  • All Canadians are being asked to practice physical distancing (social distancing).
  • Physical distancing (social distancing) involves taking steps to stop or slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the community by limiting close contact with others.
  • You are asked to consider the following options to help protect the safety and health of you, your family and friends, and the community:
    • Avoid non-essential trips in the community.
    • Cancel or limit group gatherings.
    • Work from home, where possible.
    • Participate in virtual meetings rather than meeting in person.
    • Keep your children at home.
    • Avoid visits to long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, hospices and other care settings unless the visit is absolutely essential.
  • When spending time outside, try to be in settings where you can maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others.
  • Remember: While you may not feel sick and while we know these measures are an inconvenience, please be mindful of the members of our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. We are all in this together.

I was at the same location at the same time as a confirmed case. What should I do? 

  • ‚ÄčIf you are identified as being a close contact of a COVID-19 case, public health will contact you. Otherwise, self-monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days.
  • If you become symptomatic, self-isolate for 14 days from when the symptoms began, or until you have been symptom free for 24 hours, whichever is longer.
  • On March 23, 2020, the Province announced that all publicly funded schools in Ontario will remain closed until further notice.
  • As a result of Ontario’s declaration of emergency on March 17 and its associated orders, all licensed child care centres and all private schools, as defined in the Education Act, are legally required to close until March 31. The March 31 timeline may be reassessed and considered for extension.
  • Until further notice, Halton Region Public Health has temporarily suspended all school health programs. This includes:
    • cancellation of suspensions and enforcement related to the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) for children born in 2010-2012;
    • vaccine education sessions for parents and guardians;
    • immunization and oral health clinics; and
    • school health promotion activities performed by public health nurses.
  • In Ontario, non-essential workplaces have been ordered to close by Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Where possible, businesses are encouraged to provide staff with necessary accommodations to work from home so operations can continue.
  • Businesses can call the Province’s toll-free line, 1-888-444-3659, to get help with questions about the emergency order to close non-essential workplaces.

My business is an essential service. How can I protect my employees and volunteers?

  • Essential businesses and services that remain open are encouraged to put the following measures into place to safeguard the wellbeing of employees and volunteers:
    • Make hand sanitizers available throughout your facility.
    • Increase the frequency of environmental cleaning for all common areas and frequently touched surfaces. 
    • Ask the following employees and volunteers to self-isolate for 14 days or until they are symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer:
      • Those who have COVID-19 symptoms
      • Those who are close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
      • Those who have travelled outside of Canada within the last 14 days (even if they don’t have symptoms)
  • Employers can also encourage staff to:
    • work from home, if possible;
    • participate in virtual meetings rather than meeting in person;
    • screen themselves daily before coming to work using Ontario's online self-assessment tool;
    • stay home when ill;
    • wash hands frequently with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;
    • avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth;
    • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve; and
    • practice physical distancing (social distancing), such as maintaining a 2-metre distance from others.
  • Halton Region Public Health does not recommend wearing a surgical or N95 mask if you are healthy. Surgical masks are meant to be worn by those who are symptomatic.
  • Please consult our Economic Support section to learn about supports for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the most recent physician communications from the Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health on COVID-19 (2019 Novel Coronavirus), please visit our Information for Physicians page.

Who should I be testing for COVID-19?

  • These are current interim recommendations for COVID-19 in order to conserve testing supplies in Halton Region.
  • The following groups of people should be prioritized for COVID-19 testing:
    Individuals with acute respiratory illness (regardless of travel history) who:
    • are healthcare workers;
    • reside in long term care homes and retirement homes;
    • are contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases;
    • have severe symptoms and are being admitted to hospital;
    • are directed by Halton Region Public Health to be tested; or
    • are First Nation Community members living on-reserve.
  • All other individuals will NOT be tested at this time.
  • Asymptomatic individuals should NOT be tested.
  • Please report all individuals who are tested to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.

What about returning travelers with or without symptoms?

  • It is now mandatory for all travellers returning to Canada to self-isolate for 14-days from return. If symptoms develop, they are to remain in self-isolation for 14 days from when symptoms began, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. 
    • These individuals will NOT be tested at this time.
  • Returning travelers who are considered “essential workers” at their place of employment may be exempt and should consult their employer’s policy for further direction regarding returning to work.

Can I perform COVID-19 testing in my clinic?

  • If you have access to testing supplies (nasopharyngeal swabs) AND appropriate personal protective equipment for droplet precautions (gown, gloves, surgical mask, eye protection), you can perform COVID-19 testing in your clinic.
  • Prior to testing, review the COVID-19 Testing Approach for Assessment Centres and Clinicians algorithm to ensure testing is appropriate.
  • N95 respirators are NOT required for COVID-19 testing.
  • If you are testing someone in your clinic, you must report this to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.
  • If you are not able to perform COVID-19 testing at your clinic, call Halton Region Public Health at 311 to arrange an alternate assessment and testing location for your patient.

How do I obtain more testing supplies?

  • Please consult the COVID-19 memo from March 19, 2020 (PDF file) to find a list of alternative specimen collection kits that can be used to collect specimens for COVID-19 testing. If you have any extra swabs in your office, please consider supporting COVID-19 testing by sharing them with the assessment centre at your local hospital.

Can I continue to provide care to my patients? 

  • On March 19, 2020, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health issued a directive to health-care providers to stop or reduce all non-essential and elective services to minimal levels, until further notice.
  • Physicians are NOT required to close their offices and services entirely.
  • Decisions regarding the reduction of services should be made using processes that respect professional obligations and are fair to all patients.
  • Exceptions can be made for time sensitive circumstances to prevent negative patient outcomes or situations that would impact patient safety.

Can I use virtual services to provide care to my patients?

  • The Province is implementing provincial rate and billing code changes to allow for virtual care for patients, including physician services, nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and dietetics.
  • Please see the memo and guidance document attached to the March 20, 2020 Physician Update.

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