Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

New information for international travellers and returning Canadians. 

UPDATED FEBRUARY 17, 2020

 

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

A new virus called coronavirus disease (COVID-19), formally known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is causing mild-severe respiratory infections. At this time, most infections are among people who live in Hubei Province in China but people in other cities or countries have also become sick. 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that affect humans and animals. Coronaviruses usually cause mild illness (like the common cold) but some types of coronaviruses, such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, cause severe illnesses. 

Provincial, territorial, and federal experts are monitoring the situation closely. The number of people becoming sick in this outbreak is changing quickly. 

Where can I find the most up-to-date information on this outbreak?

The public health risk associated with COVID-19 is low for NWT residents at this time.The Chief Public Health Officer of the NWT does not recommend cancellation of public events, gatherings, or field/athletic trips. For the most up-to-date information and risk to Canadians about COVID-19 infections globally see the Government of Canada website.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Many cases are presenting with influenza like symptoms such as:

  • Fever, or
  • Cough

Severe cases may have:

  • Difficulty breathing, and/or
  • Pneumonia

Risk of severe disease may be higher for:

  • Older people
  • People with chronic disease (for example: diabetes, cancer, heart, renal, or chronic lung disease)
  • Those with weakened immune systems

How does it differ from the common cold or other respiratory illnesses?

There are a number of respiratory infections currently circulating in the Northwest Territories, which can also produce similar symptoms, including:

How can we reduce the spread of COVID-19?

We can reduce the spread of respiratory infections, in our communities by practicing healthy respiratory practices. This means you and your family should:

  1. STAY HOME if you are sick
    • Wear a mask if you must go out especially if you are in a waiting room or in places with large crowds 
    • If you need to see your healthcare provider ask for a mask when you get there
  2. Avoid close contact with others if you are sick
  3. Turn and cover your nose/mouth  with a disposable tissue for every cough/sneeze
    • If a tissue is not available cough/sneeze into your elbow
  4. Throw used tissues in the garbage
    • If there is no garbage, carry a small plastic bag to put used tissues in and throw out later
  5. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
    • Use alcohol-based sanitizer if no soap is immediately available
  6. Clean/Disinfect any surfaces or objects you or someone else might have touched while sick

If you plan on traveling check the Government of Canada for the latest travel alerts to see if there are any health advisories in that area. 

If you have been travelling and you are sick you should tell your health care provider. You should also tell your health care provider if you become ill after contact with someone who has travelled (particularly if that person has been ill). If you seek health care, wear a mask or ask for one when you get there. 

Information for International Travellers or Returning Canadians who travel from mainland China 

If you have visited mainland China in the last 14 days, the NWT Chief Public Health Officer advises that you self-monitor for signs and symptoms of illness. If you develop fever, cough, or shortness of breath stay away from others. Contact your local Emergency Department or Health Centre and advise them of your symptoms and recent travel so that you can be safely assessed.

Information for International Travellers or Returning Canadians who travel from Hubei Province

In collaboration with federal and provincial partners, the NWT Chief Public Health Officer advises that, if you visited China’s Hubei province in the last 14 days you should isolate yourself until 14 days have passed since the end of that visit. This is precautionary and we advise self-isolation even if you are feeling well. If you have fever, cough, or shortness of breath stay away from others. Contact your local Emergency Department or Health Centre and advise them of your symptoms and recent travel so that you can be safely assessed. See FAQ for more information on self-isolation.

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