The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit will continue taking proactive measures, after the World Health Organization, declared the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak a global pandemic.
Although the declaration was just made today, March 11, 2020, CK Public Health officials say they have already been taking the necessary, proactive steps, working alongside community partners to ensure effective monitoring, management and response to the situation.
“CK Public Health has a strong partnership with local hospitals and together they have put measures in place to screen individuals who are suspected of being infected,” CK Public Health officials said in a media release.
“Residents are asked to read signs and follow all instructions when visiting a hospital or healthcare setting.”
To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chatham-Kent and the risk for CK residents remains low, CK Public Health officials say.
Although there are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is currently no vaccine to protect against the COVID-19 infection, C-K residents are asked to take the following steps to prevent the potential spread of the virus:
– Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
– If you are unable to access soap and water, use 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
– Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
– Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or into your elbow, not into your hand.
– Now and in any cold and flu season, stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
– Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
In terms of travel, the Government of Canada is discouraging all cruise ship travel, and asking travellers to be aware of the list of countries that are affected, CK Public Health officials say.
“If residents are planning to travel, they are asked to follow the process and procedures that have been put in place for their protection, and the protection of others upon their return,” CK Public Health officials said in a press release.
“It is important that individuals call ahead prior to visiting any health care provider with details regarding their travel history and symptoms so that special arrangements can be made to ensure they are seen quickly, provided testing and that proper infection control measures are used.”
CK Public Health officials added: “Please note that the research and data on COVID-19 continues to grow and evolve. CK Public Health will continue to adapt our advice for travellers based on the latest science and information available.”
For those planning events and gatherings, the Public Health Agency of Canada has developed a risk-assessment tool to assist in their decision making process when it comes to postponing or cancelling a mass gathering, CK Public Health officials say.
“The situation changes daily,” Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, said in a press release.
“But taking precautionary measures has the potential to greatly slow the spread and assist with not overwhelming our acute care resources.”
Residents are encouraged to stay updated and keep informed, CK Public Health officials say.
“All information related to COVID-19 including up-to-date local status, resources for healthcare professionals, Frequently Asked Questions, and more can be found on CK Public Health’s website at www.ckpublichealth.com/covid19.”
To request more information, residents are asked to call CK Public Health’s COVID-19 intake line at 519-355-1071 ex. 1900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.