Wash hands, sneeze into sleeves, disinfect surfaces to reduce COVID-19 risk: WECHU
As of Friday, there have been 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada
Windsor-Essex continues to remain free of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
Speaking to a number of officials — including Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and city police chief Pam Mizuno — at Windsor's emergency operations centre on Friday, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit chief medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed informed those in attendance that despite testing 12 people to date, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the region.
How to protect against COVID-19
While COVID-19 is currently getting the most attention, there are still a number of other respiratory viruses that are present in the Windsor-Essex community, including the flu. Below are some precautions recommended by WECHU that residents can take to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
- Stay home if you are ill.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and immediately throw away the tissue and wash your hands.
- If no tissue is available, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Ahmed also explained fewer than 15 people who had recently returned to Windsor-Essex from Hubei — the Chinese province home to Wuhan, the city believed to be the source of the current global COVID-19 outbreak — chose to self-quarantine.
"It's not a forced quarantine at this time," Ahmed said, during a phone call following the briefing. "It's self-isolation and self-monitoring. And when they are doing that, public health is in contact with them pretty much everyday."
Of those tested, Ahmed said, approximately 60 per cent had the flu — not COVID-19. He added there is some overlap between those who were tested and those who self-isolated, though he was unable to provide the exact number.
Ahmed clarified anyone who recently returned from an area with a "sustained ongoing transmission" of COVID-19 — places like China, Singapore, Japan and Italy — and presents symptoms associated with the illness should contact WECHU, rather than visiting a primary care provider or a walk-in clinic.
Dr Ahmed says Covid-19 already has killed ten times the number of people SARS killed <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCWindsor?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCWindsor</a> <a href="https://t.co/vxCD1xLMxU">pic.twitter.com/vxCD1xLMxU</a>—@cbcmolnar
Should individuals choose to go to a walk-in clinic first, Ahmed said those individuals who be isolated and asked to wear a mask. Clinic staff have been instructed to contact WECHU for further instructions during such an event.
"We have been communicating with all our primary care provides in the community ... and we just want the system to be prepared to response," he said.
According to Ahmed, COVID-19 has already killed 10 times as many people around the world as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
As of Friday, there have been 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, according to Health Canada.
Seven cases have been confirmed in Ontario, while seven have been confirmed in British Columbia.
Info <a href="https://t.co/Uj34WiteJd">pic.twitter.com/Uj34WiteJd</a>—@cbcmolnar
Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann also announced the province's first presumptive case on Thursday.
As per numbers released by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are approximately 83,650 confirmed COVID-19 cases across 52 countries. Of that figure, roughly 78,960 cases are in China.
The WHO reports approximately 2,860 people have died of COVID-19.
No one confirmed to have COVID-19 in Canada has died.
With files from Dale Molnar