The Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health calls the COVID-19 outbreak an evolving situation.
Dr. Miriam Klassen said the public health department is continually reassessing their response. She added it will continue to be proportional to the issue and be evidence-based. She said the risk for the human to human spread of the novel coronavirus in Ontario and in Huron and Perth counties remains low, despite a case in neighbouring Waterloo Region.
However, as the virus continues to be detected in additional countries, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising that it may become increasingly difficult to contain the virus globally and in Canada and the spread may well evolve into a pandemic
Currently, Huron Perth Public Health is participating in active surveillance for the virus, while preparing for case management, communication and contact tracing.
“The risk in Ontario and in Huron and Perth for the human-to-human spread of COVID-19 is still considered low,” said Dr. Klassen. “We are still in a “containment” response phase – in that we are tracking and tracing each case in Canada.”
“Although the infection can be life-threatening, most people who have been infected with COVID-19 have not been severely ill and have not required hospital care,” explains Dr. Klassen.
On March 2, the Ontario government announced an enhanced response structure to guide the provincial response to COVID-19. Within the new structure are five regional planning and implementation tables, led by Ontario Health with support from local public health units. Huron Perth Public Health will be part of the West Region Planning and Implementation Table.
Preparation Huron Perth Public Health recommends that people consider how to prepare for a time when we might have more respiratory viruses in our community.
Planning may include: -Thinking of options for childcare or personal support if you, your partner or family members are sick with a viral illness. - Refilling prescription medications and stocking up on non-perishable food in case you need to spend an increased amount of time at home due to illness or taking care of someone with an illness.
Protect yourself from illnesses and help stop the spread by doing the following: - wash your hands often with soap and water - cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. If one isn’t handy, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands - avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth - avoid contact with people who are sick - clean and disinfect surfaces often with regular household cleaners - stay home if you are sick and do not visit hospitals, long-term care or retirement homes if you are ill.
Travel Recommendations For people who are planning to travel or returning from travel, the current recommendations are: - Check the Public Health Agency of Canada – Travel Health Notices webpage before you go for the latest advisories - Be aware that the situation may change while you are away and you may get stranded where you are, or you may be required to self-isolate at home upon your return - It is always good practice to monitor your health after you return from travelling. If you become sick, inform your healthcare provider of your travel history. - Take regular infection control measures while you are travelling to prevent getting sick.