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Director issues statement on Coronavirus

Health Update
Posted on 01/28/2020
Disease Prevention

Hello,

The WECDSB is well aware of the outbreak of Coronavirus that began in Asia and has spread to some other locations throughout the world.

We want to reassure you that we are working together with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, as well as our local health care sector partners who are closely monitoring the situation in order to ensure the continued safety and well-being of students and staff.

You should be aware that as of this writing, there are currently only two confirmed cases in Toronto and there are no known cases in Windsor-Essex. The Windsor-Essex Medical Officer of Health has stated that the risk of people contracting the disease in our region remains extremely low.

The Board does have a Pandemic Preparedness Plan which outlines specific measures that would be enacted in the event of an outbreak. Further information about those steps will be shared in the event that the Board needs to enact that plan.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has said that the same precautions to protect yourself against common respiratory ailments can also be used to help protect against coronaviruses.  Those measures include:

  • get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies (for flu only)
  • wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • if you or your family members are ill, stay home

The Ministry of Health has suggested that any residents who return from recent international travel from affected areas and become ill with respiratory signs and symptoms such as cough and fever should report their travel history to any health professional, or emergency department staff.

The Minister of Health has recently expanded monitoring protocols by making this novel coronavirus reportable to public health by a health professional. That way if potential cases are identified in our area, the health unit can quickly and effectively take all necessary measures to investigate, complete lab tests, and do case and contact management to prevent and control further spread of the infection.

Information has also been provided to hospitals to increase their screening processes for individuals who present with signs and symptoms of this new virus and have travelled to Wuhan, China. This will help ensure cases are identified promptly and actions taken to prevent its spread.

In conclusion, you should know that the health and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority and we will strive to ensure that the Board’s working and learning environments are safe.

Further information can be found on the Ministry of Health’s web site, which is updated daily:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

Sincerely,

Terry Lyons
Director of Education

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