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About Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

On December 31, 2019, cases of undiagnosed viral pneumonia were reported by health authorities in Wuhan, China. The cause was confirmed as a new coronavirus, known as the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19, which has not previously been identified in humans.

What is the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection that originated in Wuhan, China. The first presumptive case of this virus in Ontario was identified on January 25, 2020.

To learn more about the 2019 novel coronavirus, visit ontario.ca/coronavirus.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms range from mild — like the flu and other common respiratory infections — to severe, and can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing

Complications from the 2019 novel coronavirus can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.

If your symptoms feel worse than a common cold (for example, fever, cough, difficulty breathing) and you have travelled to an affected area (see ontario.ca/coronavirus for the currently affected areas) within 14 days of symptom onset, call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or contact the Porcupine Health Unit. Be sure to mention your symptoms and your travel history, including the countries you visited.

If you need immediate medical attention you should call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms.

How does the virus spread?

Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact, for example, in a household, workplace or health care centre. The 2019 novel coronavirus is transmitted from person-to-person that are near one another through respiratory droplets. These droplets can go in the mouth or nose of nearby people causing them to become infected with the virus. In order to prevent spread, wash your hands often, avoid touching your mouth and face, practice social distancing of 2-metres from others, and if you are sick, wear a mask to stop droplets from spreading when coughing or sneezing.

How long is the incubation period?

The incubation period is the time from when someone catches the virus to when they show symptoms. The incubation period for the 2019 novel coronavirus ranges from 1-14 days. It is possible that the virus may spread to another individual before someone shows symptoms.

How can I protect myself against the 2019 novel coronavirus?

There is no vaccine available to protect against the 2019 novel coronavirus.

There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses. Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water
  • sneeze and cough into your sleeve
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • avoid contact with people who are sick
  • stay home if you are sick.

Can I receive treatment for the 2019 novel coronavirus?

There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, and there is no vaccine that protects against coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illnesses will recover on their own.

You should:

  • drink plenty of fluids
  • get rest and sleep as much as possible
  • try a humidifier or a hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough.

What should I do if I think I have the virus?

If you develop symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus, call Telehealth Ontario for medical advice at 1-866-797-0000 or contact the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818.

Be sure to mention your symptoms and your travel history, including the countries you visited.

If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms.