Georgian Dental® 4 Tips for surviving the COVID-19 State Of Emergency
By Dr. Shane Bot DMD
On Tuesday, March 17th, Premier Doug Ford placed Ontario into a state of emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus continues to spread at a rapid pace and has started to result in the deaths of fellow Canadians. Further to that, the County of Simcoe has also enacted its own state of emergency as a recognition of the vulnerable population that lives in the area.
As offices, businesses, restaurants, and public services close, what does this mean for us as residents of the area? This is a brief summary of the recommendations being put forward from our public health teams and a set of actionable steps to follow should your personal situation with the virus change.
Several measures have been put into place to keep people safely distant from each other to halt the spread of COVID-19. This is possibly the most important step to flattening the curve of infection. We are being told to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people, avoid handshakes and other greetings that involve close contact, and limiting our interactions with people at risk. When interactions must happen, we are to maintain a distance of 2m (6ft) from others. In general, it is time to stay with your close circle. Stay inside for a board game, watch a couple of movies, or read a good book. Don’t forget about the importance of vitamin D though – go walk the dog or take a stroll in the sunshine; just be safe while you do it!
Another important step is to self monitor yourself for signs of infection. Our current best information indicates that once a person is infected, on average, the symptoms appear between 6-11 days. It is possible to spread the virus to others even before symptoms appear but there doesn’t seem to be a scientific consensus about how early we are contagious. The most common first symptoms to watch for are:
- Shortness of Breath
If symptoms appear, there is a need to self-isolate. Also, remember that as of March 17th, the government of Canada is also urging us to self-isolate for 14 days if there has been any international travel regardless of symptoms. Remove yourself from public places and return to your home. If you live with others in your house, you need to interact with proper personal protective equipment (PPE) – in this case, that means a face mask, or limit contact even more if you have the option of a dedicated bedroom and/or bathroom. Make sure you are covering your coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue and make sure your hand towel is not shared with others, or use a paper towel. Clean ‘high touch’ surfaces in the home (such as doorknobs, light switches, TV remote controls) often throughout the day. This is the time to call in favours from friends for grocery runs, call the delivery person to drop dinner at the door, and pick a good Netflix series to work through at home!
If symptoms have appeared and you are self-isolating, the next step is to get tested. There is an online resource that you should use first:
On March 16th, a COVID-19 assessment center opened in the South end of Barrie. It is located at 490 Huronia Road and is open from 8 am to 8 pm. There you will interact with a health professional that will help to assess your need for any of continued monitoring, continued self-isolation, or perhaps proper testing (nasal swab) at Royal Victorian Hospital. Should you be indicated for a swab, you will be sent with a note to fast-track the ER wait at RVH and you will have a nasal swab taken for confirmation of the presence of COVID-19 virus. The results can take up to 5 days so it is likely that you would be sent back home to self-isolation during the waiting time.
Lastly, we always want to remember to be kind and generous to those around us. Do that favor for your self isolating neighbor, or share those PPE supplies when others need them more. Hopefully, the world, Canada, and Simcoe county can flatten the curve of infection and we can avoid more tragedy in our area. We wish every one of you the best during these challenging times!
*Note* This virus and pandemic is ever-changing – this information is a representation of the best available advice as of Thursday, March 19th, 2020.
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