Durham ready to face any Coronavirus outbreak

The Durham Region Health Department has assured local residents that it has been closely monitoring and preparing for the emerging Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak that is currently occurring in Wuhan, China.

“We want to let area residents know that the Health Department is prepared if we are notified of a potential case of Novel Coronavirus,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health. “We are working closely with all partners at the local, provincial and national levels as part of our preparedness activities.”

The Health Department has developed a dedicated webpage to provide area residents with the latest information on the Novel Coronavirus at durham.ca/novelcoronavirus. The Ontario Ministry of Health has current information posted at ontario.ca/coronavirus.

Paramedics Prepared

Region of Durham Paramedic Services (RDPS) has taken steps to prepare for calls regarding potential cases and is ready to respond. RDPS is also ready with additional personal protective equipment (PPE) in stock and paramedics have received updated requirements on the use of PPE. In addition, paramedic dispatch has received a pre-screening tool provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health to help determine risk and appropriate response, said a Health Department media release.

Along with local surveillance activities, the Canadian Border Services Agency has implemented procedures at several Canadian airports, including Pearson International Airport, to screen travelers returning from affected areas.

Residents who have returned from recent international travel to affected areas who become ill with respiratory symptoms such as cough and fever, should report their travel history to health care professionals or emergency department staff upon their visit to health care facilities.

How to Avoid Flu

The Health Department reminds members of the public to take the usual measures to reduce the risk of transmission of influenza and respiratory illness, which include:

  • Getting a yearly influenza vaccination, available from most health care clinics and pharmacies;
  • Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm; and
  • If you or your family members are ill, stay home.

For more information on influenza or Novel Coronavirus, visit durham.ca/health or call Durham Health Connection Line at 1-800-841-2729.

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