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Protecting you from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Details about the virus, how to prevent it and how we are working with partners

A COVID-19 outbreak is occurring in China and cases have been identified in numerous other countries. Some cases have been identified in Canada. No cases have been identified in Peel at this time. Stay up-to-date on novel coronavirus in Canada.

COVID-19 causes respiratory illness that will spread from person-to-person. Symptoms have ranged from mild to severe, and commonly include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

The current risk to people in Peel remains low.

What we're doing

Peel Public Health is working with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and other local health providers to monitor the risk and take protective actions as needed.

Regional Council and our Public Health team are working with community partners to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 in our community. Community measures include increased screenings at Pearson Airport and early identification protocols for patients of paramedics and our hospitals.

Other information

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

The virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Coronaviruses that have emerged in recent years include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms like the common cold but can advance, in some cases, to severe respiratory illness or even death. Coronaviruses are predominately passed from animals to people but can also spread from person-to-person.

How the virus spreads

Some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care centre.

There has been person-to-person transmission among those infected with COVID-19.

It's different than SARS or MERS-CoV

Although SARS and MERS-CoV are also coronaviruses, COVID-19 is a novel strain that has not been seen previously.

While the risk of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Peel is low, you can help protect yourself and loved ones from this and far more common illnesses by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with people who are ill and their items.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash hands after coughing and sneezing.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, exercise and enough sleep, to enhance your body's immune system.
  • Get a flu shot – you are more likely to contract influenza than COVID-19 and being sick lowers your immunity to other germs.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

The use of masks

Peel Public Health is not recommending the general public wear masks during day-to-day activities to provide protection against COVID-19.

In specific situations, mask use may be recommended. See our mask-use fact sheet (PDF) for more information.

When to contact a health care provider

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19): When to consult a health care professional (PDF).

There are presently only a few cases of COVID-19 in all of Canada compared to millions of Canadians who become infected with the flu each year.

As with other illnesses, you should connect with a health care provider if you experience:

  • a high fever
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble breathing

One of the best steps you can take to prevent yourself and loved ones from falling sick this season is to get the flu shot, which is available free at numerous locations all across Peel.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Common signs include fever, and respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia and acute respiratory distress.

For more information please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's Novel Coronavirus infection: Symptoms and treatment webpage

Staying home from work and school

Peel Public Health is not recommending that you stay home from work or school if you are well.

As with any illness, it's advisable to stay home if you're ill and to avoid contact with others who are ill.

The risk in Peel remains low. If you've recently returned from China, see additional recommendations for travellers.

Travelling to China

Visit the Government of Canada travel advisory webpage for the most up-to-date travel warnings and advisories. Travel advisories may change as new information is discovered.

If you've travelled from China, you should monitor for symptoms of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for 14 days after leaving China and contact Peel Public Health for information at 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216.

If you're feeling well, you do not need to contact public health.

Whether you're feeling sick or not, if you've travelled to Hubei province in the last 14 days:

  • Stay at home and limit your contact with others for 14 days from the date that you left Hubei.
  • Contact Peel Public Health within 24 hours of arriving in Canada. Call 905-799-7700, Caledon 905-584-2216.

If you have severe symptoms you should seek medical attention by calling 911. Inform 911 of your symptoms and recent travel history to make sure the right infection prevention and control precautions are taken.

For more information, see Novel coronavirus (COVID-19): When to consult a health care professional (PDF).

For resources and guidance for health professionals attending to Peel residents concerned about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), visit information for health professionals.

For information related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and infection prevention practices, visit workplaces, schools and child care centres.

Free educational posters and handouts

Raise awareness of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) risks and protective actions in your school, workplace, place of worship or community. These resources are free to download, print and use by everyone.