5 things to know about COVID-19

By this time, there are several articles posted and written about this pandemic. The news and all sorts of information are oftentimes misleading and can be overwhelming. Here are five things that we think you need to know about COVID-19:

Courtesy of Towards Data Science

Symptoms

How will you know you have the virus and what are the symptoms?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, and fatigue. Patients tested positive of the virus also experienced shortness of breath, nasal congestion, and sore throat. In some rare cases, runny nose and diarrhea were also experienced. These symptoms usually begin mild and might gradually worsen depending on the patient’s case. Nevertheless, WHO notes that 80% of those who have been infected will likely recover.

Who’s at risk?

Not everyone is at high risk of getting infected by the virus. In fact, it was said in one of the firsts media briefings by Public health Ontario and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, that people who are more vulnerable to the disease are those aged fifty and up, with weaker immune systems, and those with pre-existing health conditions. That means keeping yourself healthy and practicing proper hygiene – proper hand washing, sanitizing, is one of the best ways to fight the virus.

Current case in Ontario and in Canada

Although these numbers can change anytime, as of March 16, 2020, at 10 p.m. ET, Canada has a total of 441 cases which 177 are from Ontario. The virus has now affected 10 provinces. This tally includes 12 recoveries and four deaths. More than 50% of the confirmed cases were travellers.

Social distancing & Self-isolating

These words have been in the news for the past weeks. What is social distancing and self-isolation and why does it need to be done?

Social distancing is limiting yourself to be in close contact with another person to slow down or stop the spread of a contagious disease — like COVID-19. Health experts are urging the public to avoid gatherings and events temporarily. This also includes being in crowded spaces like the mall, subway stations, fitness centres, and grocery stores. The best practice would be keeping at least a six-foot distance from another person.

Self-isolation is having instructed to separate yourself from others in order to prevent the spread of the virus, including people you live with. The government and health experts have advised travellers, even those who haven’t shown any symptoms to self-isolate for at least 2 weeks. This specifically applies to those who have travelled outside Canada for the past 14 days, those who are living with anyone who has recently travelled out of the country, and or living with anyone who has been tested positive of COVID-19.

Test Centres

At the moment, there are 17 functioning COVID-19 assessment centres in Ontario. The province is also planning to open 19 more testing centres. However, not everyone is advised to go straight to these locations. The government has now been able to provide an online self-assessment tool which will serve as the first step for people who might think they have been infected with the virus. If in any case, the person is still unsure, then they have to contact Telehealth or their primary health care provider to confirm whether or not they might be positive of COVID-19. A person should not visit a testing centre if they have no upper respiratory symptoms.

These are some of the major information one must know about COVID-19. Stay safe!

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