Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Prevent and Prepare

Last modified: 
Wed, 03/25/2020 - 11:41

How can I protect myself and my community from COVID-19?

We can reduce the spread of respiratory infections (this includes COVID-19), 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 are sick and 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

Here is a video from the World Health Organization on practices to protect your health:

Should I be preparing in case I or a close family member gets sick?

The global situation is changing rapidly. It is important to prepare in case you or a family member get sick.  This may include establishing supplies of food or medications. Below are some recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada: 

1. Make a plan

If COVID-19 becomes common in your community, you should plan on ways to reduce the risk of infection.

Your plan should include how you can change your regular habits to reduce your exposure to crowded places. For example, you may:

  • do your grocery shopping at off-peak hours
  • commute by public transit outside of the busy rush hour
  • spend time outdoors or on the land if possible

Your plan should also include what you will do if you become sick. If you are a caregiver of children or other dependents, you will want to have backup caregivers.

You should also think about what you will do if a member of your family becomes sick and needs care. Talk to your employer about working from home if you are needed to care for a family member at home. If you, yourself, become ill, stay home until you are no longer showing symptoms.

Your plan should include shopping for supplies that you should have on hand at all times. This will ensure you do not need to leave your home while you are sick or busy caring for an ill family member.

Your plan should build on the kits you have prepared for other potential emergencies. For more information on how to prepare yourself and your family in the event of an emergency, please visit

2. Fill your prescriptions

Refill your prescriptions now so that you do not have to go to a busy pharmacy if you do become sick. Consider seeing your health care provider to renew your prescriptions ahead of time.

3. Stock up on essentials but avoid panic buying

At this time, it makes sense to fill your cupboards with non-perishable food items, so that you do not need to go shopping if you become sick.

It is easier on the supply chain if people gradually build up their household stores instead of making large-scale purchases all at once. To do this, you can add a few extra items to your grocery cart every time you shop. Good options are easy-to-prepare foods like:

  • dried pasta and sauce
  • prepared canned soups
  • canned vegetables and beans

It is also a good idea to have extra stores of:

  • pet food
  • toilet paper
  • facial tissue
  • feminine hygiene products
  • diapers (if you have children who use them)

The reason for storing extra items is not necessarily because you will need to self-isolate. Having these supplies on hand will ensure you do not need to leave your home at the peak of the outbreak or if you become ill.

For more information on being prepared, see: