Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19 We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Taking simple actions such as wearing a mask, keeping a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from others, washing your hands regularly, covering your coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick will help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially to vulnerable populations. Symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, headache, difficulty breathing and other symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear. Wear a mask Practice good hand hygiene Take care of yourself Protect others When to seek help The continuous use of face masks is no longer be required in Horizon hospitals and health care facilities, with a few exceptions. The exceptions are: Oncology units or clinics. Oncology patients are not required to wear a mask while in their room or treatment chair, but masking is recommended when they are within two (2) metres of another person. Outpatients with symptoms of COVID-19 or a respiratory illness and/or who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last seven (7) days must continue to wear a medical grade face mask. The continuous use of medical grade face masks will be required on outbreak units. Prior to entering Horizon facilities patients, DSPs and social visitors are still required to self-screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Patients who fail screening are advised to go directly to their appointment and inform staff that they have failed screening. DSPs who fail screening are advised not to enter and contact the nursing unit for further direction. Social visitors who fail screening are not to enter the facility. Wearing a mask remains optional in most settings across Horizon and medical grade face masks will be available for patients, social visitors, DSPs and health care workers who choose to wear one. If a patient chooses to wear a face mask, health care workers will support the patient’s decision and will wear a medical grade face mask while providing patient care. Continuous masking requirements may be reinstated based on COVID-19 and/or respiratory viral season activity. Active screening will remain in place in all Horizon Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres This process is in place to help protect our patients, staff and physicians, DSPs and social visitors. Please do your part to help protect our patients and health care workers safe by answering questions honestly and respectfully. How to Properly Put on and Take Off Masks To learn how to properly put on and take off these masks, watch this video. As well, there are step-by-step instructions on How to Wear a Mask with Loops and How to Wear a Mask with Ties available. Why wear a mask? Non-medical masks or facial coverings can protect those around you for short periods of time when physical distancing is not possible because: It covers your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating others or landing on surfaces It reduces the chance that others come into contact with your respiratory droplets (similar to how covering your cough with tissues or your sleeve can reduce that chance) Resources: Face Mask Information Proper Wear and Care of Masks It’s important to continue to take important everyday precautions such as washing your hands often and avoiding touching common surfaces in public places. There are two effective hand cleaning methods: An alcohol-based hand rub is the preferred method for cleaning your hands; Soap and water must be used when hands are visibly soiled, when an infectious disease is present and after using the washroom. Information and speculation about COVID-19 is constant and everywhere. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety. To reduce these feelings, stay informed using credible sources to educate yourself on the facts. Limit your use of social media and instead make a conscious effort to check reputable sources a few times a day, rather than continually scrolling. Keep informed about travel advice and restrictions. Are you at risk? Because COVID-19 is a new disease, we are constantly learning more about it. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization, however COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Because our immune system naturally becomes weaker as we age, older adults are at risk and should monitor themselves for any signs of illness and seek treatment as soon as possible. Even the common cold or mild flu may worsen quickly. Click here for advice from the Canadian Geriatrics Society. For pregnant women, there are several precautions to take to protect against the possibility of becoming ill including staying home and avoiding visitors. There is currently no evidence that suggests pregnant women are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Also, there is currently no evidence that a developing child could be negatively affected by COVID-19. Click here to learn more. People with medical conditions such as heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, and diabetes have an increased risk of illness and hospitalization if they contract COVID-19. Until there is a vaccine, the best thing you can do is protect yourself and others to avoid virus exposure and follow these helpful tips: Do a health check-up. If you are displaying mild or moderate symptoms of COVID-19, complete the self-assessment by visiting gnb.ca/coronavirus, or call Tele-Care 811 or your family physician or nurse practitioner. Take your prescribed medications. Continue taking your medications and ensure you have enough medications and medical supplies on hand. If you feel unwell, contact your family physician, nurse practitioner, or your health care team. Keep active and eat healthy. Continue to eat well and try to keep active in and around your home while maintaining physical distance from others. Ask for help. Ask family, a neighbour or friend to help with essential errands (e.g., picking up prescriptions, buying groceries) or use a delivery service. Additional information relating medical conditions and increased COVID-19 risks can be found online the following websites: Diabetes Canada Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Canadian Cancer Society Canadian Lung Association Arthritis Society Reminder: A heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you or someone with you experiences signs of a heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest. Resources: Tips for Caregivers During COVID-19 Older Adults’ Wellness During COVID-19: A Guide In some countries, there is rapid and widespread transmission with large numbers of people being ill at the same time. While most cases of COVID-19 cause mild infections, the elderly and those with chronic underlying conditions are most at risk for severe illness. Without measures to reduce the spread of the virus there can be a dramatic increase of severely ill people who require medical care and hospitalizations within a short period of time. Health care systems may become overloaded. Here’s how you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19: Avoid others and stay home if you are sick. Respect visitor restrictions. Reduce contact with others. Consider ways you and your family could change behaviours and routines to reduce your risk of infection if COVID-19 becomes common in your community. Avoid shaking hands. Limit your exposure to crowded places. Refill prescriptions so that you do not have to go to a pharmacy if you do become ill. Shop for extra supplies so that you do not need to go shopping if you become sick. Build on the kits you have prepared for other potential emergencies. Increase social distance between others (ideally to two metres). Encourage people who are ill or those with high-risk medical conditions not to attend gatherings. Support hand hygiene by providing hand sanitizer dispensers in prominent locations. Communicate clearly to others about the risks and directing them to our advice on reducing the spread of illness. Resources: Canadian Geriatrics Society: COVID-19 Recommendations for Older Adults Caregiving to Older Adults During COVID-19: A Guide Signs and symptoms Symptoms for the novel coronavirus are similar to those for influenza or other respiratory illnesses. They can range from mild to moderate and include: Fever above 38 degrees Celsius A new cough, or worsening chronic cough Sore throat Runny nose Headache A new onset of fatigue A new onset of muscle pain Diarrhea Loss of sense of taste Loss of sense of smell In children, purple markings on the fingers and toes In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.