In December 2019, a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in Wuhan, China. Common coronaviruses that infect humans usually cause mild symptoms similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans.
The COVID-19 virus can be spread through close contact (within six feet or two metres) with an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. You can also get COVID-19 by touching objects contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.
COVID-19 symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat/hoarse voice
- Shortness of breath/breathing difficulties
- Loss of taste or smell
- Vomiting, or diarrhea for more than 24 hours
- Poor feeding if an infant
- Runny nose
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Skin rash of unknown cause
What to Do if You Are Experiencing Symptoms
Public health officials are encouraging anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms, such as a cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat, weakness or headache, to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone with these symptoms is eligible for COVID-19 testing. You do not need a referral.
- Follow the latest public health measures and travel restrictions outlined by the Province of Manitoba and Health Canada
- Call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or (toll-free) at 1-888-315-9257 or visit www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/locations.html for more information about testing
- Access the online COVID-19 screening tool at www.manitoba.ca/covid19
- Notify RRC Health Services at 204-632-2238
According to the World Health Organization, the following common-sense strategies to prevent the spread of infection continue to be your best defense:
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 2 metres (6 feet) of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. Seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up-to-date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
Around the world, social distancing is proving to be one of the best ways to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. It takes patience and cooperation to be effective.
Manitoba Health has published the following guidelines and infographic to help us all do our part:
- Make changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including:
- avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those in poor health)
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others, as much as possible
- Here’s how you can practice social distancing:
- greet with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
- stay home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment
- shop or take public transportation during off-peak hours
- conduct virtual meetings
- host virtual playdates for your kids
- use technology to keep in touch with friends and family
- use food delivery services or online shopping
- exercise at home or outside
- work from home
- Remember to:
- wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face
- cough or sneeze into the bend of your arm
- avoid touching surfaces people touch often
Traveling in an elevator should be okay if occupants are able to keep two meters apart, and as long as the elevator ride doesn’t last more than 10 minutes. However if you’re not comfortable getting in an elevator that is occupied, use the stairs or wait for the next one.