COVID-19 Prevention & Preparedness Resources
This page contains official resources obtained from publicly available sources, including
federal agencies, governmental entities and other leading associations and consultants. This information may vary as of March 2020 and will be updated depending upon current situations. As there is yet much to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other aspects of COVID-19, please be advised that Parsai Immigration Services gives no assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided.
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is an ongoing, rapidly developing situation. Parsai Immigration Services encourages its members and clients to monitor publicly available information and to always follow the guidance of federal, provincial and municipal health organizations.
What is COVID-19?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
COVID-19 also referred to as “novel coronavirus (nCoV),” is a new coronavirus that hasn’t been previously found in humans before. The virus causing coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that normally spread among humans and causes mild illness, like the common cold.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:
- Shortness of breath
According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
How does COVID-19 spread?
According to the CDC, this virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so.
This virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, particularly:
- between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
People are most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.
Treatment of COVID-19
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on persons under investigation.
Who is at risk?
Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on the characteristics of the virus, including how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications). The fact that this disease causes illness, including illness resulting in death, and sustains person-to-person spread is concerning. These factors meet two of the criteria of a pandemic. As community spread is detected in more and more countries, the world moves closer toward meeting the third criteria–the worldwide spread of the new virus.
Reported community spread of COVID-19 in parts of the United States raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for those communities. The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is very high, to North America and globally.
At this time, however, most people in Canada will have a light immediate risk of exposure to this virus. This virus is NOT currently spreading widely in Canada. However, it is important to note that current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment will provide updates as found.
Current risk assessment:
- For most of the Canadian public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.
- People in communities where ongoing community spread with the virus that causes COVID-19 are at elevated, though still relatively low risk of exposure.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travellers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure.
CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
How to prevent COVID-19
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with a hand rub with at least 60% alcohol or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider or your national and local public health authority on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely).
Click here to track the latest outbreak updates in Canada.
Publicist, Parsai Immigration Services
If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. Disclaimer: This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice. Do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. We are not responsible for the content of these articles. If you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.