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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

March 13, 2020

At the time of this release, there have been no positive COVID-19 cases at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH) and the risk to the community remains low.

CGMH is well prepared to respond to COVID-19 by implementing new protocols and best practices that will ensure the safety of our patients, employees, physicians and volunteers.

Commencing Monday, March 16, 2020 visiting will be restricted to protect patients and ensure their safety, mainly as we believe prevention is key. The situation is fluid and will continue to change.

Please, if you have travelled outside of Canada within the past 14 days and are experiencing symptoms of the virus, call your Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (1-877-721-7520) or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) before coming to the hospital.

The best way to prevent infection from any virus, including COVID-19 is to practice handwashing, cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing and stay home if you are sick.

For accurate, up-to-date information about COVID-19, the following links are recommended as credible resources to access:

Public Health Agency - Government of Canada

Ontario Ministry of Health

Toronto Public Health

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. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

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 CGMH doing?

CGMH has implemented a number of protocols. In addition to continuous surveillance we have:

  • Enhanced screening measures: Patients are already screened at entry points of care such as the Emergency Department and outpatient clinics. This includes questions about flu-like symptoms, cough and travel within the past two weeks.
  • Patients with symptoms and travel history will be masked, placed in isolation and cared for by employees wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including contact, droplet and airborne precautions.
  • We have placed updated signage at our entrances and are asking patients and visitors to don a mask if they have symptoms and have travelled within the past two weeks.
  • CGMH is in frequent contact with public health and is participating in a regional committee to ensure preparedness and holds frequent internal meetings in heighted times of flux.

What will happen if a patient with the virus comes to CGMH?

Through our screening process, the patient will be identified, required to put on a mask, placed in isolation, and cared for by a team wearing appropriate PPE. CGMH will follow the public health guidelines for treatment.  

Where to go for more information:

Canadians trying to verify what they may see online about coronavirus should pay attention to official health sources, including::

Public Health Agency - Government of Canada

Ontario Ministry of Health

Toronto Public Health

World Health Organization

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