This information is from an e-mail we received from Tracey Clausen, the owner of Independent Quality Home Care, a firm which looks after the elderly and those who have other difficulties in caring for themselves, regardless of age.
It is written so anyone can actually understand it and how to remain safe; thanks Tracey and all the other members who let me know how serious this has become, from an epidemic to a pandemic.
Message from the Ministry of Health
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is
an illness caused by a coronavirus. Respiratory infections caused by
COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The
outbreak was declared a public health emergency
of international concern by the WHO on January 30, 2020 and declared a
pandemic on March 11, 2020. A pandemic is when an infectious disease
spreads across the globe. This is different than an epidemic which is
usually contained within a region or country.
Although COVID-19 originated from
Wuhan, China, it has now spread worldwide including to British
Columbia. Cases in British Columbia are being closely managed.
How is coronavirus transmitted?
Coronavirus is spread from an infected person through
Respiratory droplets spread when a person coughs or sneezes
Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands
It is important to keep about a
2-metre distance away from a person who is sick, to reduce breathing in
droplets when they cough or sneeze.
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms for COVID-19 include
The incubation period is the time
from when a person is first exposed until symptoms appear. Symptoms may
take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the
longest known infectious period for this disease.
If you are unsure about your symptoms or have questions or concerns, contact HealthLinkBC (8-1-1)
at any time.
If you do need to see a health
care provider, call them ahead of time so they can arrange for you to be
assessed safely. Wear a mask to protect others.
When seeing a health care provider, please tell them
Where you have been travelling or living
If you had direct contact with animals (for example, if you visited a live animal market)
If you had close contact with a sick person, especially if they had a fever, cough or difficulty breathing
How can I prevent getting infected?
The most important thing you can
do to prevent infection is to wash your hands regularly and avoid
touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth. You can also practice
respiratory etiquette and social distancing.
To help reduce your risk of infection
Wash your hands often with soap
and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single
most effective way of reducing the spread of infection
a sink is not available, alcohol based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to
clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If they are
visibly soiled, use a wipe and then ABHR to effectively clean them
Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
good respiratory etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a
disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow when you sneeze or cough
Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.
crowded public spaces and places. Examples include mass gatherings,
such as concerts and sporting events. Examples do not include hospitals
(for healthcare workers) and schools
Maintain social distancing by keeping at least a 2-metre distance between yourself and others
Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19
A disposable face mask can only be used once
It may be less effective to wear a mask if you are not sick
Common Questions About COVID-19
Find answers to some of themost
common questions about COVID-19. Learn
how it spreads, how long after exposure symptoms take to appear and
what symptoms to look for. Find out what you can do to prevent COVID-19.
Disaster Mental Health Information
Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe
With the number of COVID-19 cases
increasing every day, psychologists offer insights on how to separate
yourself from others, while still getting the social support you need.
Around the world, public
officials are asking people who have contracted or been exposed to the
new coronavirus to practice social distancing, quarantine or isolation
measures in an effort to slow disease’s spread.
Social distancing means keeping a
safe distance (approximately 6 feet) from others and avoiding gathering
spaces such as schools, churches, concert halls and public
Quarantine involves avoiding contact with others if a person has been exposed to coronavirus to see if they become ill.
Isolation involves separating an individual who has contracted COVID-19 to prevent them from spreading it to others.
Spending days or weeks at home
with limited resources, stimulation and social contact can take a toll
on mental health. Though controlled studies on interventions to reduce
the psychological risks of quarantine and isolation
are lacking, psychologists have established best practices for handling
these challenging circumstances.
Here is a summary of research on
social distancing, quarantine and isolation, as well as recommendations
on how people can cope if asked to take such measures.
What to Expect
People asked to stay home due to
illness, exposure or active community spread of COVID-19 will likely be
cut off from their regular routines for at least two weeks, the
estimated incubation period for the virus.
Common sources of stress during
this period include a drop in meaningful activities, sensory stimuli and
social engagement; financial strain from being unable to work; and a
lack of access to typical coping strategies
such as going to the gym or attending religious services.
Psychologists’ research has found that during a period of social distancing, quarantine or isolation, you may experience:
Fear and anxiety
You may feel anxious or worried
about yourself or your family members contracting COVID-19 or spreading
it to others. It’s also normal to have concerns about obtaining food and
personal supplies, taking time off work or
fulfilling family care obligations. Some people may have trouble
sleeping or focusing on daily tasks.
Depression and boredom
A hiatus from work and other
meaningful activities interrupts your daily routine and may result in
feelings of sadness or low mood. Extended periods of time spent at home
can also cause feelings of boredom and loneliness.
Anger, frustration or irritability
The loss of agency and personal
freedom associated with isolation and quarantine can often feel
frustrating. You may also experience anger or resentment toward those
who have issued quarantine or isolation orders or if
you feel you were exposed to the virus because of another person’s
If you are sick or have been
exposed to someone who has COVID-19, you may feel stigmatized by others
who fear they will contract the illness if they interact with you.
People with pre-existing mental
health conditions and health-care workers helping with the response to
the coronavirus may have an increased risk of experiencing psychological
distress when they engage in social distancing,
quarantine or isolation.
People with disabilities who
require specialized diets, medical supplies, assistance from caregivers
and other accommodations are also at risk for psychological challenges
during a pandemic because of the increased difficulties
in receiving the care they require.
How to Cope
research also points to ways to manage these difficult conditions.
Before social distancing, quarantine or isolation orders are enacted,
experts recommend planning ahead by considering how you
might spend your time, who you can contact for psychosocial support and
how you can address any physical or mental health needs you or your
family may have.
Limit news consumption to reliable sources
It’s important to obtain accurate
and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, but too much
exposure to media coverage of the virus can lead to increased feelings
of fear and anxiety. Psychologists recommend
balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities
unrelated to quarantine or isolation, such as reading, listening to
music or learning a new language. Trusted organizations—including the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the
World Health Organization—are ideal sources of information on the virus.
Create and follow a daily routine
Maintaining a daily routine can
help both adults and children preserve a sense of order and purpose in
their lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation and quarantine. Try
to include regular daily activities, such as
work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely.
Integrate other healthy pastimes as needed.
Stay virtually connected with others
Your face-to-face interactions
may be limited, but psychologists suggest using phone calls, text
messages, video chat and social media to access social support networks.
If you’re feeling sad or anxious, use these conversations
as an opportunity to discuss your experience and associated emotions.
Reach out to those you know who are in a similar situation. Facebook
groups have already formed to facilitate communication and support among
individuals asked to quarantine.
Relying on pets for emotional
support is another way to stay connected. However, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention recommend restricting contact with pets
if you contract COVID-19 until the risks of transmission
between humans and animals are better understood.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Get enough sleep, eat well and
exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so. Try
to avoid using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope with the stresses of
isolation and quarantine. If needed, consider
telehealth options for psychotherapy. If you already have a
psychologist, contact them ahead of a potential quarantine to see if
they can continue your sessions using phone-based or online delivery.
Use psychological strategies to manage stress and stay positive
Examine your worries and aim to
be realistic in your assessment of the actual concern as well as your
ability to cope. Try not to catastrophize; instead focus on what you can
do and accept the things you can't change.
One way to do this is to keep a daily gratitude journal. You may also
choose to download smartphone applications that deliver mindfulness and
relaxation exercises. For example, PTSD Coach is a free application
developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’
National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense’s National
Center for Telehealth and Technology. It contains coping and resilience
resources such as exercises for deep breathing, positive imagery, muscle
relaxation and more.
Focusing on the altruistic
reasons for social distancing, quarantine or isolation can also help
mitigate psychological distress. Remember that by taking such measures,
you are reducing the possibility of transmitting COVID-19
and protecting those who are most vulnerable.
What Happens Next
Following a period of quarantine
or isolation, you may feel mixed emotions, including relief and
gratitude, frustration or anger towards people who worry you may infect
them with the virus, or even feelings of personal
growth and increased spirituality. It’s also normal to feel anxious,
but if you experience symptoms of extreme stress, such as ongoing
trouble sleeping, inability to carry out daily routines, or an increase
in alcohol or drug use, seek help from a health-care
See more APA advice on ways to deal with COVID-19.