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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

January 30, 2020 4:30 p.m. CGMH has been notified about the following post circulating via text. If you receive this text, please do not open the link, delete it immediately, as it's a phishing scam. There have been no presumptive confirmed or confirmed cases of Coronavirus at CGMH. We pledge to keep the public updated through our website and social channels. We have been advised this message is also circulating for other hospitals within the region.

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 a travel history to high risk areas in China, or those who have had contact with anyone who travelled to China and is unwell, will trigger additional screening, protection and care in a negative pressure room.
  • 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 from China recently.
  • 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:

Toronto Public Health

Ontario Ministry of Health

World Health Organization, noted below:

Toronto Public Health

Ontario Ministry of Health

World Health Organization

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