Frequently asked questions

Last revised on April 6, 2020.

Updated questions and answers can be found on the Government of Canada's COVID-19 webpage.

 About COVID-19
 
 What is COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact. There have been 2 other specific coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans and which have caused severe illness in humans. These are the:
  1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV)
  2. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV)
 What are the risks of getting COVID-19?

Risks of getting coronavirus

There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • aged 65 and over
  • with compromised immune systems
  • with underlying medical conditions
While a COVID-19 outbreak is not unexpected in Canada, our public health system is prepared to respond. PHAC, along with provincial, territorial and community partners, continues to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves. The risk to Canadian travellers abroad will vary depending on the destination, as well as the person’s age and health status. There are some destinations where the Government of Canada recommends avoiding all travel or all non-essential travel. Check the latest travel health notices often before travelling. As well, the risk for COVID-19 may be increased for certain settings such as:
  • cruise ships
  • heavily affected areas
  • international conferences and other large gatherings in enclosed spaces

Related links

 How does COVID-19 spread?

How coronavirus spreads?

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

 What is the incubation period of COVID-19?
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. We are currently investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered to be rare. Symptoms have included:
  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs
In severe cases, infection can lead to death.
 Symptoms and treatment
 
 What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. We are currently investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered to be rare.

Symptoms have included:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted when a person is not showing symptoms?

Those who are infected with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. The Public Health Agency of Canada is currently investigating if the virus can be transmitted to others if someone is not showing symptoms. While experts believe that it is possible, it is considered to be rare.

Symptoms have included:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs
In severe cases, infection can lead to death.
 What is the treatment for COVID-19?

Treating coronavirus

At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to treat or protect against COVID-19. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Your health care provider may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms. Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if:

The sooner you consult your health care provider, the better your chances are for recovery.

Flu vaccine will not protect you

While coronaviruses are a respiratory illness, these infections are not the same as those that cause the flu. If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronaviruses.

Are there natural health products that can treat or prevent COVID-19?

Treating coronavirus

At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to treat or protect against COVID-19. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Your health care provider may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if:

The sooner you consult your health care provider, the better your chances are for recovery.

Flu vaccine will not protect you

While coronaviruses are a respiratory illness, these infections are not the same as those that cause the flu. If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronaviruses.

 Is there a vaccine to protect against COVID-19?
At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 or any natural health products that are authorized to protect against it.
 Will the flu vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

Flu vaccine will not protect you

While coronaviruses are a respiratory illness, these infections are not the same as those that cause the flu. If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronaviruses.

 Prevention and risks

 How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19?

Preventing coronavirus

Canadians should continue to think ahead about the actions that they can take to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Canada, including:

Hygiene

Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
    • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • when coughing or sneezing:
    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
    • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

Cleaning

Health Canada has published a list of hard surface disinfectants that are likely to be effective for use against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Although they do not claim to kill viruses such as COVID-19, cleaners can play a role in helping limit the transfer of microorganisms. Health Canada recommends cleaning often, using either regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) the following high-touch surfaces:

  • toys
  • toilets
  • phones
  • electronics
  • door handles
  • bedside tables
  • television remotes

Wearing masks

If you are a healthy individual, the use of a mask is not recommended for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Wearing a mask when you are not ill may give a false sense of security. There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal. They also need to be changed frequently.

However, your health care provider may recommend you wear a mask if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 while you are seeking or waiting for care. In this instance, masks are an appropriate part of infection prevention and control measures. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading you when you cough or sneeze.

Is there a risk of contracting COVID-19 if I touch a surface that was potentially contaminated?

Coronaviruses generally do not survive on surfaces after being contaminated. The risk of spread from products shipped over a period of days or weeks at room temperature is very low. Limit the spread of germs by washing your hands often with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands with soap. 

Can I get the virus from animals when travelling to other countries?

Animal-to-human infection in other countries

The current spread and growth of the COVID-19 outbreak is mainly associated with transmission from person to person. However, experts agree that the virus likely originated from bats and may have passed through another animal source (currently unknown) in China before being transmitted to humans. It is recommended that individuals who travel to an affected country or region avoid contact with animals and animal products. This includes wild meat and markets that sell fresh meat, fish, produce and other perishable goods. If you are considering travel, check the latest travel health notices for the most up-to-date travel advice prior to travelling.

Travel advice

Questions from the Ottawa community

How is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnosed? 

It is diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on travel history, symptoms, and laboratory tests. 

Ottawa is currently experiencing imported cases of COVID-19 from travellers who travelled outside of Canada. If you would like to be diagnosed, please follow these instructions.

Travellers returning to Ottawa after travelling outside of Canada 

The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.

Please note: in order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa,  it is IMPERATIVE that all residents of Ottawa practice physical (social) distancing

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need.  Not everyone requires testing. People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures. 

Even if you do not have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days if: 

  • You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has: 
    • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada. 

If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Self-isolate until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved or 14 days from returning home, whichever is LONGER

NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home

For employees, if your employer requires a sick note please send them this letter from Ottawa Public Health. For employers, please visit our COVID-19 info page for workplaces.

If you have ESCALATING SYMPTOMS such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Children under 6 months of age meeting this criteria should be taken to CHEO
  • Visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (see below for more info) – you do NOT need a referral from Ottawa Public Health OR
  • Call your health care provider (if available)
  • If the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and your health care provider are both closed, go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

If you have SEVERE SYMPTOMS (you have frequent shortage of breath and cannot manage your symptoms at home)

  • If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage.
If I was tested, how long does it take to get results?
It usually takes approximately 7 days to receive test results for COVID-19. Please continue to self-isolate while awaiting test results. 
What can members of the public (including schools and workplaces) do to protect themselves?
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. In general, everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and share your recent travel history with your health care provider
  • Practice physical (social) distancing to protect yourself and to limit transmission in the community
Are there any confirmed cases in Ontario? 

Ontario is experiencing some cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Public Health Units are reaching out to known contacts to inform them that they may have been exposed to a potential health risk, what signs and symptoms they should look out for, and when and what type of medical treatment should be sought out if that becomes necessary. 

Every day at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.  ET the Province of Ontario's novel coronavirus (COVID-19) web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information including the status of cases in Ontario.

What is Ottawa Public Health doing in response to this situation?

Ottawa Public Health continues to actively monitor this situation in collaboration with our provincial and national health colleagues, and stakeholders that include local hospitals and community agencies.

Cases and potential suspect cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are now reportable to local health authorities under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

If there were potential cases of which we have been notified, we would immediately follow up directly with these individuals to let them know.

We would inform these people that they may have been exposed to a potential health risk, what signs and symptoms they should look out for, and when and what type of medical treatment should be sought out, if that becomes necessary. This work is part of routine public health follow-up of a case of an infectious disease.

What are Canadian public health officials doing in response to this situation?

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is actively monitoring the 2019 novel coronavirus situation. They are in close contact with the World Health Organization to assess any potential risk to Canadians.

The Government of Canada, provinces and territories have multiple systems in place to identify, prevent and control the spread of serious infectious diseases into and within Canada.

When will I need to self-isolate/stay at home?

The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.

Please note: in order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa,  it is IMPERATIVE that all residents of Ottawa practice social distancing

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need.  Not everyone requires testing. People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures. 

Even if you do not have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days if: 

  • You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has: 
    • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada. 

If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Self-isolate until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved or 14 days from returning home, whichever is LONGER 

NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home

For employees, if your employer requires a sick note please send them this letter from Ottawa Public Health. For employers, please visit our COVID-19 info page for workplaces.

If you have ESCALATING SYMPTOMS such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Children under 6 months of age meeting this criteria should be taken to CHEO
  • Visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (see below for more info) – you do NOT need a referral from Ottawa Public Health OR
  • Call your health care provider (if available)
  • If the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and your health care provider are both closed, go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

If you have SEVERE SYMPTOMS (you have frequent shortness of breath and cannot manage your symptoms at home)

  • If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately
  • go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage.
How to care for yourself or your family members with COVID-19?

Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). However, many of the symptoms can be treated, and therefore treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition.  If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold, or are lasting longer than usual, follow the guidelines provided by Ottawa Public Health. However, most people with COVID-19 will recover on their own. 

You or your family member will want to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Get rest and sleep as much as possible
  • Use fever reducing medications according to the label and in consultation with your health-care provider or pharmacist
  • Try a humidifier or hot shower to help with a sore throat or cough
  • Have all family members practice good hygiene
  • Use a solution of 100 ml of bleach with 1 litre of water OR ½ cup of bleach with 4 cups of water to disinfect surfaces that are touched often including but not limited to counters and doorknobs

It is important to get the best information for your family. If you, or your family members, have coronavirus, you may be asked to self-monitor, or self-isolate. You can find more information on self-isolation for caregivers and household members in this handout from Public Health Ontario.  

If you need immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1, and mention your symptoms, whether you have been tested, and any travel history.

Am I at risk for contracting COVID-19 if I receive a package or products by mail?

There is still a lot to learn about COVID-19, and how it spreads. Coronaviruses generally die off fairly rapidly on surfaces that they have contaminated. While potentially surviving for a few days under ideal conditions on smooth surfaces, on cardboard and paper no living coronavirus remains after one day. The risk of spread of COVID-19 from products that are shipped over a period of days is very low. Coronaviruses spread most often from an infected person by respiratory droplets that could get directly into your eyes, nose, or mouth such as those produced by sneezes, coughs, singing, or talking. Spread of the virus can also be by direct contact with fresh secretions from an infected person, for example, by a handshake followed by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Of lower risk, but still a possibility is that virus could be picked up from a contaminated surface such as a doorknob, handrail, or elevator button, but this is easily dealt with by washing your hands. Whether receiving a package, newspaper, or mail, after handling it, wash your hands well with soap and water (or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available).

In order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) continues to recommend that everyone take steps to protect themselves:

  • Wash their hands when changing tasks with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just cleaned their hands
  • Cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into their arm, not their hand
  • Stay home if they are sick
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if they are sick
  • Practice physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet apart)
  • Avoid direct contact with other people. 

As an employer, what do I need to do to prevent the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you receive questions from your employees, we invite you to point them to our webpage on novel coronavirus. Our website is updated regularly, and the frequently asked questions (FAQ) are available in English, French, and Simplified Chinese.   

In order to reduce employee absenteeism and reduce the spread of germs, including the flu and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we recommend that individuals: 

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol based hand sanitizer 

  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just cleaned their hands

  • Cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue or into their arm, not their hand 

  • If possible, stay home if they are sick 

  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if they are sick 

The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.

Please note: in order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa,  it is IMPERATIVE that all residents of Ottawa practice (physical) social distancing

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need.  Not everyone requires testing. People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures. 

Even if you do not have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days if: 

  • You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has: 
    • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada. 

If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Self-isolate until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved or 14 days from returning home, whichever is LONGER 

NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home

For employees, if your employer requires a sick note please send them this letter from Ottawa Public Health. For employers, please visit our COVID-19 info page for workplaces.

If you have ESCALATING SYMPTOMS such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Children under 6 months of age meeting this criteria should be taken to CHEO
  • Visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (see below for more info) – you do NOT need a referral from Ottawa Public Health OR
  • Call your health care provider (if available)
  • If the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and your health care provider are both closed, go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

If you have SEVERE SYMPTOMS (you have frequent shortage of breath and cannot manage your symptoms at home)

  • If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

There are other situations where your employees may be asked by Ottawa Public Health to self-isolate. If individuals who are self-monitoring develop symptoms, they have been asked to immediately distance themselves from others and to contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744. We ask you to support the guidance your employees have received from any health authority.  

Ottawa Public Health is responsible to conduct public health follow-up of close contacts, including any workplace exposures and will contact your organization as needed. 

Should healthcare workers who have travelled outside of Canada go back to work upon their return? 

Travellers returning to Ottawa after travelling outside of Canada 

The Federal Quarantine Act requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. Leaving your property to go for a walk is not permitted under the Quarantine Order, issued on March 25, 2020.

Please note: in order to decrease transmission of COVID-19 in Ottawa,  it is IMPERATIVE that all residents of Ottawa practice physical distancing

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the Ontario Government self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

The priority of the healthcare system is being able to test those who are most in need.  Not everyone requires testing. People WITHOUT respiratory symptoms (such as fever or cough) will NOT be tested for COVID-19, regardless of potential exposures. 

Even if you do not have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days if: 

  • You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
  • You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has: 
    • Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada. 

If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Self-isolate until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved or 14 days from returning home, whichever is LONGER

NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home

For employees, if your employer requires a sick note please send them this letter from Ottawa Public Health. For employers, please visit our COVID-19 info page for workplaces.

If you have ESCALATING SYMPTOMS such as a new or worsening cough and/or fever, AND have either travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days:

  • Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
  • Children under 6 months of age meeting this criteria should be taken to CHEO
  • Visit the COVID-19 Assessment Centre (see below for more info) – you do NOT need a referral from Ottawa Public Health OR
  • Call your health care provider (if available)
  • If the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and your health care provider are both closed, go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

If you have SEVERE SYMPTOMS (you have frequent shortage of breath and cannot manage your symptoms at home)

  • If this is a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately
  • Go to the hospital emergency department and pay attention to special signage

Employers/healthcare institutions may implement requirements for their staff beyond what is being recommended for returning travellers.  

How do I pick up a returning traveller from an affected area from the airport? Are there precautions I should take? 

If a returned traveller has no symptoms and is well, it is best to use a private car and to avoid public transportation. If a private car is not available, the person should use a taxi or shared ride service such as Uber or Lyft. 

All returning travelers should wear a mask (if available) when they are picked up from the airport. 

All returning travellers with symptoms or who appear ill should report these while going through customs in the airport.

Am I at risk for contracting COVID-19 by walking past someone? 

Make an effort to step-aside, or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.

Which businesses are required to close? 

On March 23, 2020, the Government of Ontario ordered non-essential businesses to close, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. For more information on which businesses are required to close, please visit the Government of Ontario website.   

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces 

 How do I handle waste products at home? 

During COVID-19, Ottawa’s Green Bin program is accepting plastic bags as a bagging option for organic waste. Used paper facial tissues should be placed in plastic bags and can go in the green bin as per regular waste disposal practices.

Residents should continue to practice proper hygiene when handling any waste by thoroughly cleaning their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Clean any surfaces that may have come in contact with waste products with a household disinfectant. You can use 100ml of chlorine bleach mixed with 1 litre of water as an easy disinfectant.

City staff and contractors continue to use the precautions that are already in place to protect workers from the hazards of handling municipal waste. In addition, the City is taking steps to ensure a steady supply of personal protective equipment for front-line staff. Ottawa Public Health manages the disposal of hazardous waste and has protocols in place to ensure its safe handling. 

Who can returning travellers call if they need mental health supports in Ottawa?

Returning home can be stressful and it may take time before you feel better and life returns to normal. Give yourself time to heal. It's OK to NOT be Ok. Please know that help is available and we encourage you to reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311.

What can I do about religious celebrations and invitations? 

The Province of Ontario has said that we should not gather in groups of more than 5 people unless: 

  • there are more than 5 people in your family or 5 roommates that live with you  
  • the gathering is for a funeral and then up to 10 people are allowed together 
  • it is in a childcare centre for essential front-line workers 

Other activities like weddings, parties, play dates, and services within places of worship are prohibited and should not take place.  

 We MUST all practice physical distancing and keep 2 metres or 6 feet away from others when we are out.  This is very important so we can stop the spread of COVID-19.  

During times of the year when celebrations are happening: 

  • do not gather with others in person to celebrate 
  • use technology to connect with others 
  • Spend more time with your own family who live with you 
  • Create new traditions at home, cook your favourite food together, decorate together, play games together for example. 

Being apart from family and friends can be very difficult for all of us. It's normal for situations like COVID-19 to affect your mental health. Everyone experiences these events in their own way. It is completely normal to feel stress and concern during these times and so it is important to practice positive coping strategies. 

Below is a listing of Mental Health Resources available to you. 

If you are in crisis, please contact the Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 day a week) at 613-722-6914 or if outside Ottawa toll-free at 1-866-996-0991. 

If you (or your child) are experiencing thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, please call 9-1-1. 

For more support and help, visit our mental health webpage

FAQs about masks

For health care workers looking for information on personal protective equipment, please refer to our section on Infection Prevention and Control

There are 2 kinds of mask:

    1. Commercial surgical masks or N-95: Are critical for healthcare workers and should be reserved for them and other medical first responders. In healthcare settings, different forms of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and respirators, are used to help protect healthcare workers when they are in close contact with patients who are ill. Healthcare workers are trained on how and when to properly use PPE. The use of surgical masks and personal protective equipment is not recommended for members of the public who are well. 

Non-medical mask:

      Homemade cloth face coverings will reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the person wearing it to others around them. This is important because COVID-19 infection may be present without any symptoms or with such mild symptoms that the person does not know they are sick. People who choose to wear non-medical

      mask

    must also continue to practice physical distancing. The following are examples of non-medical masks:
Who should wear a non-medical mask?
  • If you are sick: If you are coughing or sneezing, wear a non-medical mask to protect people around you from getting sick. This is very important if you go to an appointment, clinic, or a hospital. 
  • If you are going to a public place (e.g., grocery store or pharmacy): where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • If you are caring for someone who is sick: If you are taking care of someone who is coughing or sneezing, wear a non-medical mask when you are close to them. The person you are taking care of should also wear a non-medical mask.
 Who does NOT need to wear a non-medical mask?
  • If you are healthy and not coughing or sneezing, it is not recommended that you wear a non-medical mask for everyday activities (e.g., going outside for a walk). 
  • Wearing a non-medical mask can make you feel like you are protected from the virus. This feeling of safety might make you touch your face more often and that increases your risk of getting COVID-19 if your hands are not clean.

Will a homemade mask protect me from COVID-19?

  • Be careful when thinking about using cloth face coverings  to protect against COVID-19.There are some things you must keep in mind when choosing to wear cloth face coverings:
    • They may not block ALL the virus particles that are spread when someone coughs or sneezes.
    • They should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of your face, allowing you to breath easily and be secured with ties or ear loops
    • They should be able to withstand frequent cycles through washing and drying machines.
 How to put a non-medical mask on properly if you need or decide to wear one?

It is critical to continue to practice physical distancing even when wearing non-medical mask.

  • Non-medical masks only work when combined with frequent hand cleaning with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Before touching the non-medical mask, wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Put the non-medical mask over your mouth and nose and make sure it fits snuggly, there are no gaps on the top of your nose and around your cheeks and chin.
  • Do not touch the non-medical mask once you have it on. If you have to touch the non-medical mask, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after you touch the mask.
  • Change the non-medical mask as-soon-as it is damp.
  • Wash the non-medical mask routinely depending on how much you wear it.
 How to take a non-medical mask off properly?
  • Before taking off your non-medical mask, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Remove the non-medical mask starting at the back of your head. Do not touch the front of the non-medical mask.
  • Clean the non-medical mask in the washing machine regularly depending on how much you use it.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Remember:
      • Do not put on a non-medical mask if you haven’t washed your hands first.
      • Do not touch your face or adjust the non-medical mask if you haven’t washed your hands first.
      • Do not wear a non-medical mask if it does not fully cover your mouth and nose.
 Should I be wearing gloves in public?
  • Wearing gloves for everyday activities in public is not recommended.
  • Wearing gloves can make you feel more protected from the virus than you are.  Wearing gloves increase the risk of getting COVID-19 if you touch other things with your gloves and then touch your face. 
 How to properly use gloves if you choose to wear them?
  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before you put on gloves.
  • When you are wearing gloves, do not touch your face or use any personal items (e.g. cell phone, bag) that you might touch again when you do not have gloves on.
  • Throw the gloves out in a closed garbage bin right away and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Remember:
      • Do not touch your face with your gloves.
      • Do not touch your mask with your gloves (if you are wearing one).
      • Do not touch your personal items (like your phone) with your gloves so you don’t bring the virus home with you!
      • Do not re-use gloves that are made for one use.

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & Parenting

Pregnancy and COVID-19

Are pregnant people more likely to get COVID-19?
New information is being learned about COVID-19 all the time. Right now, pregnant people do not seem more likely to get COVID-19 then others.
Are pregnant people more at risk with COVID-19?

Right now, there are not a lot of studies on the effects of COVID-19 in pregnant women. However, it is known that high fevers during the first trimester of pregnancy can increase the risk of certain birth defects. Because of this it is always important that pregnant people protect themselves from illness. Generally, based on knowledge of other respiratory illnesses in pregnancy, issues are usually because of changes to blood volume and breathing during pregnancy and any pre-existing respiratory issues.

How can you protect yourself from COVID-19 when pregnant? 

Pregnant women can do the same things as the general public to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic, avoid infection and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Can a birthing person with COVID-19 pass the virus to the fetus?

A lot is still being learned about COVID-19 but right now there are no reports of transmission of COVID-19 from a birthing parent to baby before delivery nor has the virus been detected in samples of amniotic fluid. As more is learned, we will update this information.

For pregnant health care providers

Each person’s circumstance is different. Their pregnancy history, risk of exposure in their workplace, and health status will all influence their level of risk. If you are a health care professional who is pregnant, consult your health care provider and the occupational health and safety department in your workplace to determine how you can best protect yourself. Personal protective equipment and good overall hygiene practice remain the foundation for maintaining good health. Additional measures may be advisable on a case-by-case basis. 

Should I still go to my prenatal or post-partum appointments?

As the COVID19 situation continues to evolve, it is best to connect with your primary health care provider to discuss your appointments. Some health care providers are screening all clients prior to seeing them at the clinic, while many are having phone appointments. Each situation is unique, so it is best to call your health care professional for the most up-to date information.

For information about pregnancy and post-partum resources, see the link below. https://www.themothersprogram.ca/resources-and-information/for-your-region/eastern-ontario/ottawa.

*Note: due to COVID-19 many sites have changed their services. Please call or check online before heading out.

For more information visit the World Health Organization's Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and Chestfeeding

Can I breastfeed my baby if I have COVID-19?

Yes. Human milk contains antibodies and other immunological factors that can help protect the infant, even while the breastfeeding parent is ill. Plus, there is no evidence, right now, that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, meaning the benefits of human milk outweigh the risks of spreading COVID-19 through human milk. Parents with COVID-19 should wash their hands well with soap and water and dry them before touching the baby or any item that the baby will touch and anytime they sneeze or cough on their hands. They should also wear a face mask, if possible, when feeding or handling the baby.
Can I express (this includes pumping manually or with a pump) human milk if I have COVID-19?

Yes. Human milk contains antibodies and other immunological factors that can help protect the infant, even while the expressing parent is ill. Plus, there is no evidence, right now, that the virus can be spread through human milk. We recommend washing your hands before expressing human milk and/or before touching any pump or bottle parts as well as wearing a face mask and making sure to store expressed human milk safely. Also wash well all parts that come into contact with human milk.

Can COVID-19 pass through human milk?

A lot is unknown about how COVID-19 spreads. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in human milk; however, we still don’t know for sure if breast/chestfeeding parents with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via human milk. Parents can feed or continue to feed their babies human milk for the antibodies and other immunological factors that can help protect the baby, even while the breastfeeding parent is ill. 

What if I feel too sick to breastfeed my baby?

If a parent is too sick to feed their baby at the breast or chest and another healthy caregiver is caring for the baby, the breastfeeding parent can be encouraged and helped to express their milk to maintain their milk supply and so that the infant continues to receive it. Any sudden stop to breastfeeding can cause mastitis. Before expressing human milk, make sure to wash hands well with soap and water and, if using a pump, follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning. 

What can I do to protect my baby while bottle feeding?

Before feeding your baby make sure to wash hands well with soap and water and dry them before touching the baby or any item used for feeding. No matter how you feed your baby it is a special time and an opportunity to cuddle close. Consider limiting the number of people who bottle feed baby and wear a mask if you are coughing or feeling ill, to help to protect your baby.

For more information visit the World Health Organization's Q&A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Parenting
 How can I protect my baby if I have COVID-19?
Parents with COVID-19 should be careful to avoid spreading it to their baby because babies are at higher risk when sick. Parents with COVID-19 should wash their hands well with soap and water and dry them before touching the baby or any item that the baby will touch (including during feeding) and anytime they sneeze or cough on their hands. They should also wear a face mask, if possible, when feeding or handling the baby.
What can I do to protect my baby while bottle feeding?
Before feeding your baby make sure to wash hands well with soap and water and dry them before touching the baby or any item used for feeding. No matter how you feed your baby it is a special time and an opportunity to cuddle close. Consider limiting the number of people who bottle feed baby and wear a mask if you are coughing or feeling ill, to help to protect your baby.

 

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