What You Need to Know
What is a coronavirus?
A coronavirus typically causes symptoms that are similar to those of the common cold, however, it can also cause more severe illness including pneumonia and death. The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus was a type of coronavirus. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain previously not identified in humans.
What are the symptoms?
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Symptoms may also include muscle aches, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, loss of sense of smell or taste, nausea, diarrhea and stomach pains. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
In Seniors symptoms can also include chills, delirium with no other obvious reason, falls, acute functional decline, increased heart rate and decreased blood pressure.
How is a case confirmed?
The only way to confirm this new coronavirus is with a lab test. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of the virus may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 after exposure.
How can it be prevented?
There is no vaccine to prevent the infection, however everyday preventive actions can help to stop the spread of this coronavirus, in fact, any respiratory virus:
● Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
● Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue away
● Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
● Stay home if you are sick
What specifically is RVH doing?
RVH has implemented a number of protocols. In addition to continuous surveillance we have:
● Enhanced screening measures: All patients and visitors are screened at entrances. This includes questions about flu-like symptoms, cough and travel within the past two weeks. Patients with a travel history, or those who have had contact with anyone who travelled to impacted areas and is unwell, will trigger additional screening, protection and care in a negative pressure room.
● Patients with symptoms will be masked and cared for by staff wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including contact and droplet precautions.
● We have updated signage at our entrances and are asking patients and visitors to follow the instructions.
● There is also a recorded message when you call RVH's telephone numbers.
● We have implemented more frequent and enhanced cleaning in our busy areas.
● RVH is in frequent contact with public health and is participating in a regional committee to ensure preparedness.
What will happen if a patient with the virus comes to RVH?
Through our rigorous screening process, the patient will be identified, required to put on a mask, potentially isolated and cared for by a team wearing appropriate protective equipment. RVH will follow the public health guidelines for treatment. RVH is well prepared. We have a very detailed, up-to-date Pandemic Plan based on lessons learned from our experience during SARS 17 years ago, H1N1 in 2009 and, more recently, Ebola preparedness.
Where to go for more information
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
World Health Organization (WHO)