Understanding the COVID-19 virus
Helping you understand 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. In people coronaviruses often cause seasonal respiratory infections similar to the flu.

What are Novel Coronaviruses?
A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. Novel coronaviruses include viruses that cause the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

What is the source of 2019-nCoV?
The source is currently unknown. Public health officials are working hard to identify the source.

How does the virus spread?
This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now is spreading from person-to-person. While the exact way it is spreading is still being determined, it is likely by contact, droplet and possibly airborne mechanisms.

Who are most at risk of becoming infected with the 2019-nCoV?
People most at risk of acquiring the 2019-nCoV infections include those who have recently traveled to affected areas, have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case and had close contact with someone who has an acute respiratory illness and who has been in an affected area within 14 days prior to when they became ill.

What are the symptoms 2019-nCoV?
Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. Symptoms may also vary in different age groups. Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:
 * new or worsening cough
 * shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
 * temperature equal to or over 38°C
 * feeling feverish
 * chills
 * fatigue or weakness
 * muscle or body aches
 * new loss of smell or taste
 * headache
 * gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
 * feeling very unwell
 * Children have been more commonly reported to have abdominal symptoms, and skin changes or rashes.

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.

Recent evidence indicates that the virus can be transmitted to others from someone who is infected but not showing symptoms. This includes people who:
 * have not yet developed symptoms (pre-symptomatic)
 * never develop symptoms (asymptomatic)

How are severe cases treated?
There is no specific treatment. It is largely supportive treatment and care in a hospital or a health care setting.

How can I prevent myself from becoming infected with the 2019-n-CoV?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus and to use common infection prevention practices including:
  * Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  * Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60%
     alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  * Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  * Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  * Stay home when you are sick.
  * Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue
     in the trash.
  * Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  * Wear a mask when in indoor public spaces.

What is Waypoint doing?
Our hospital is following the direction of the Ministry of Health and Ontario Public Health for hospitals and has a number of extra precautions in place including enhanced infection control practices and visitor restrictions. 

What is the current situation in Canada and around the world?
The current situation in Canada and around the world is rapidly changing. To stay up to date with information on the 2019-nCoV we recommend getting information from reliable sources such as Ontario’s Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.