COVID- FAQs

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Latex gloves give a false sense of security and you can still get infected if you touch your face. Frequent hand washing is a far more precautionary measure.

If you have been identified as a contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection, the local public health unit will contact you with advice. You need to isolate yourself at home for 14 days after contact with the infected person, and to monitor your health and report any symptoms.
Person to person spread of coronaviruses generally occurs between people who are close contacts with one another. A close contact is typically someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person that was infectious. The public health unit will keep in touch with people who are close contacts of patients with COVID-19 infection. If any symptoms develop contacts must call the public health unit to report those symptoms.
If your contact with the person was less than this, there is a much smaller risk of you being infected. However, as a precaution you must still monitor your health until 14 days after you were last exposed to the infectious person. If you develop symptoms including a fever and/or respiratory signs, please call 111 for further assistance.

The infection period for the virus will vary from person to person. Mild symptoms in an otherwise healthy individual may resolve over just a few days. Similar to influenza, for an individual with other ongoing health issues, such as a respiratory condition, recovery may take weeks and in severe cases could be potentially fatal.

The first symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza (flu) infections are often very similar. They both cause fever and similar respiratory symptoms, which can then range from mild through to severe disease, and sometimes can be fatal.
Both viruses are also transmitted in the same way, by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with hands, surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus. As a result, the same public health measures, such as hand hygiene (hand washing), good respiratory etiquette (coughing into your elbow or into a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue) and good household cleaning are important actions to prevent both infections.
The speed of transmission is an important difference between the two viruses. Influenza typically has a shorter incubation period (the time from infection to appearance of symptoms) than COVID-19. This means that influenza can spread faster than COVID-19.
While the range of symptoms for the two viruses is similar, the fraction with severe disease appears to be higher for COVID-19. While most people have mild symptoms, approximately 15% of people have severe infections and 5% require intensive care in a hospital ICU. The proportions of severe and critical COVID-19 infections are higher than for influenza infections.

In the current crisis, the authories reiterate the need for essential services to continue and this includes:
Continuing vaccinations: there are diseases that far more dangerous than COVID19 to children, for which vaccination protection exists.
Not missing important paediatric screening appointments.
AND the importance of not being afraid to go to hospital if necessary.
The authorities reiterate the importance for the need of continuity of essential services for the wellbeing of our children.

In general, because of poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures. Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.

Normal washing of clothes will reduce the risk of germs being transmitted. In certain situations clothes should be washed at higher than normal temperatures and with a bleach-based product to minimise the transmission risk as much as possible.
Washing high-risk items.

If the items you are washing are likely to cause illness (high risk), they should be washed at 60C with a bleach-based product. Items are likely to cause illness if you have someone in your home who has an infectious illness. The following items are also high risk:

clothes soiled with vomit or poo (including reusable nappies)
sports clothes
cloths used in food preparation
healthcare workers’ uniforms
shared towels
clothing worn over a wound or infected skin.

Shoes are not considered a high risk, but shoes carry a lot of germs so it is always a wise option to leave shoes outside the door.

Scientists have identified two strains of the novel coronavirus causing infections, one more aggressive than the other, indicating that the disease has mutated at least once. In a new study published Chinese researchers suggest that after Covid-19 crossed into humans, the original strain evolved into a new type and both of these are now circulating. Although the body develops immunity to the virus if contracted, there is still possibility of falling ill from the other strain of virus.

or reasons that nobody fully understands, COVID-19 does not appear to cause severe disease in children. “The first, and most likely scenario, is that children are contracting COVID-19 but are getting a milder version of the disease,” says Thomas Murray MD, PhD a Yale Medicine paediatric infectious disease specialist and associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
As of today, there have been no known deaths reported in the 0-9-year-old age group and there have been lower hospitalization rates compared with adults. The disease seems to primarily impact older adults and those with underlying health problems.

Much is unknown about how COVID-19 is spread. Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. In limited studies on women with COVID-19 and another coronavirus infection, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), the virus has not been detected in breast milk; however we do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk.

We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

We do not currently know if pregnant women have a greater chance of getting sick from COVID-19 than the general public nor whether they are more likely to have serious illness as a result. Pregnant women experience changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections. With viruses from the same family as COVID-19, and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza, women have had a higher risk of developing severe illness. It is always important for pregnant women to protect themselves from illnesses.

While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, there are no any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

Community spread or local transmission means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

It is not yet known whether weather and temperature impact the spread of COVID-19. Some other viruses, like the common cold and flu, spread more during weather months but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months. At this time, it is not known whether the spread of COVID-19 will decrease when weather becomes warmer. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.

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, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.
Options include:
Diluting your household bleach. To make a bleach solution, mix:
5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
OR
4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Alcohol solutions.
Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol.

People with confirmed COVID-19 infection stay in isolation under the care of medical specialists until they are no longer experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Before they are released from isolation, they have tests to see if they still have COVID-19 and the specialist care team assesses they are no longer infectious.

Face masks are not recommended for the general population.
People who have symptoms and might be infected with COVID-19 are required to stay in isolation at home and should wear a surgical face mask when in the same room as another person and when seeking medical advice to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to anyone else.

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