Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has announced its first case of Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, on Monday morning. It is not in Guelph, but it’s the first instance of the disease in the area that’s covered by our local public health authority. Meanwhile, closures and other new developments continue to happen quickly in Guelph, as in many corners of Canada and the world.
According to Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the first case of COVID-19 they’ve diagnosed belongs to a man in his 40s who just returned from a trip to Atlanta, GA. He was tested at the Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville, and is now in self-isolation at home following the protocols outlined according to the Medical Officer of Health.
“This does not change our protocols around containment of the COVID-19 virus in our area,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer in a media statement. “We are following up with any contacts of the individual and ensuring the public is aware and protected from the spread of this virus. It is important to know that 80 percent of people with this virus will have mild to moderate symptoms. Anyone who is concerned should phone their health care provider, call Telehealth or visit an assessment centre.”
The advice of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health remains the same: wash your hands often, stay home if you’re sick, cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, and clean and disinfect high touch surfaces frequently.
But what if you think that you might already have COVID-19? People with mild symptoms are being asked to self-isolate immediately while people with moderate symptoms including fever, coughing and shortness of breath, are asked to call their family doctor and/or Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006. If you’re symptoms are severe, that’s the time to call 911, or go to the emergency room.
For everyone else, the COVID-19 assessment clinic run by the Guelph Family Health Team will open on Tuesday March 17. Located at 65 Delhi Street, the clinic will be open from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. People are being asked not to visit the assessment clinic *unless* they are presenting symptoms, and to understand if you need further care, you can use this self-assessment tool.
Meanwhile at the U of G…
On Monday, the University of Guelph announced that it was amending its mitigation strategy to protect campus from COVID-19. While campus itself will remain open, employees of the U of G will be asked to work from home wherever possible, and any research and academic activities will continue on a case-by-case basis.
Students in residence are now being asked to move out of student housing “as soon as possible.” Students that can’t leave campus are being asked to contact Student Housing at once to arrange accommodation, but may they still have to move into a new residence or make other changes in the interest of safety.
Any places on campus where there might be large gatherings like athletic facilities, childcare centres, and some cafeterias are closed, but the U of G’s Library remains open with adjusted hours.
One Councillor Self-Isolating
Ward 3 Councillor Phil Allt posted on his Facebook page last night that it is his intention to self-isolate when he returns from a regular winter trip to Cozumel, Mexico.
“I do this with great confidence that my decision is correct. Although I am healthy and there is little evidence of COVID-19 where I am, I feel I must do what I consider to be the right thing,” said Allt.
The exact status of City Council meetings going forward is still unknown. The City of Guelph’s latest update said that all other public meetings and events scheduled for City facilities have been cancelled through April 5, with the only exception being meetings of City Council, for which the City is “assessing options.” There are council meetings scheduled for March 23 and 30, including a budget workshop on March 23, and a regular council meeting on March 30.
For Those in Need…
A couple of proactive community members have put together a website where organizations can post their needs, and people can volunteer to help fill those needs. You can find this public service website by clicking here.