The public health scare from the virus originating in Wuhan has caused health teams across the world to make sure they are ready to cope if it arrives in their area. Although it’s an International Health Emergency, so far there are no cases in Northumberland. However, the HKPR Health Partners have issued a statement saying that “we have heightened our communication to ensure we continue to share the information and resources needed to protect the public’s health”. The statement describes what the virus is, what is involved with being prepared, where to get daily updates, the connection with common flu, and what to do if you have recently travelled to Hubei province in China and have symptoms (Wuhan is the Capital of Hubei). Below is a summary plus links to get more information.
What is this Virus?
The official name for the virus is 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – it’s one of a large group of viruses which can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as SARS and MERS. Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people. This was the case with SARS and MERS and with the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.
The symptoms are similar to other respiratory infections, including influenza; but specifically: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, pneumonia and kidney failure.
How are the HKPR Health Partners prepared?
Although the risk continues to be low, staff from the health partners (listed below) have implemented precautionary measures required to ensure the safety of patients, visitors, and health care workers, including thorough symptom and travel screenings.
As a reportable disease, healthcare partners are now required to report a suspected case of the novel coronavirus to their local medical officer of health. If a suspected case of novel coronavirus was to be identified in this area, the Health Unit would work with the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario Laboratory, and local hospitals in the management of the case and potential contacts.
Where can I get daily updates?
Go to these web sites:
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit web site
- Ontario Ministry of Health – Updated daily at 10:30 am. As of 31 January, there were 17 cases being investigated with 2 confirmed. On 30 January, there were 27 being investigated and 2 confirmed.
- Canadian Ministry of Health
You can also phone the Canadian Ministry of Health here: 1-833-784-4397
The Flu Season
A number of respiratory illnesses, including some common coronaviruses, are circulating at this time of year and it is peak flu season. Most people with common coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Your health care provider may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.
What to do if feeling ill, with recent travel history to China
- Call your local health unit or health care provider if you become sick with a cough and fever AND have returned from Hubei province in China in the past 14 days or have had close contact with an ill person who is either under investigation for novel coronavirus or is a confirmed case.
- If you have severe respiratory symptoms, call 911 and explain both your travel history and symptoms to arrange swift and safe transport.
The good news is that health agencies are taking this seriously and are doing a good job of providing information to the public. But surgical masks have sold out in many stores – good luck in finding one although they seem not to help much.
Links and more information
- The HKPR Health Partners are staff from the
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit,
- Northumberland Hills Hospital,
- Ross Memorial Hospital (Lindsay)
- Campbellford Memorial Hospital,
- Haliburton Highlands Health Services and
- Primary care partners.
- Press Release issued on their behalf by HKPR (hosted on HKPR web site)