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Coronavirus cases unlikely in local region

With news of a deadly outbreak alongside the regular flu season, you may be concerned your runny nose is a danger to more than just a good night’s sleep. But according to a press release from the Northwestern Health Unit, you can breathe easy, even if you can’t breathe clearly.

In December 2019 a Novel (new) Coronavirus was discovered in China, which is not the same as a common coronavirus that often causes colds, according to the release. Although identified in at least two people in Toronto, illnesses in this area are more likely one of several colds and flus active in the area.

“2019 Novel Coronavirus is completely new,” noted the release. “If you have not been in Wuhan, China and have not been in direct contact with a sick person who has been to an affected part of the world, it is highly unlikely you have 2019 Novel Coronavirus at this time.”

Several actions are being taken to keep the disease at bay, according to the NWHU: Canadian Border Service is screening inbound travellers from high-risk locations; the Public Health Agency of Canada is communicating numbers of sick and changing risks with all provinces and territories; Ontario’s Ministry of Health is giving direction to health care providers and public health units-including NWHU- on actions to take and clinics and hospitals will likely ask about symptoms and travel history.

When a person is suspected of having 2019 Novel Coronavirus, that person will be cared for in the hospital or at home, depending on the level of care needed. The NWHU will work with the person experiencing symptoms and others who may have been infected to avoid infecting others. That may mean staying home from work or school and avoiding contact with others.

“Influenza and common viruses remain a much higher health risk in Northwestern Ontario at this time than 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” added the NWHU. “You should continue to follow practices to protect yourself from all viruses. Clean or sanitize your hands often, stay well hydrated and get your flu shot.”

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