Coronavirus Infection: Frequently Asked Questions
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses. Some coronaviruses can cause no or mild illness, like the common cold, while other coronaviruses can cause severe illness. Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not.
Your risk of severe disease may be higher if you have a weakened immune system. This may be the case for:
- older people
- people with chronic disease (for example: diabetes, cancer, heart, renal, or chronic lung disease)
What is the current situation?
On December 31, 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia was reported in Wuhan, China, and the cause has been confirmed as coronavirus. This virus is now known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.
The Chief Public Health Office is working closely with federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts to ensure any cases of novel coronavirus continue to be rapidly identified and managed to protect the health of Islanders.
Public health risk is continually reassessed and updated as new information becomes available.
There are no cases of 2019-nCoV in Prince Edward Island and the overall risk to Islanders and Canadians remains low at this time.
What should I do if I have travelled within the last 14 days from China, other than Hubei province?
At this time, all travellers who have returned from parts of mainland China (other than Hubei province) are being asked to monitor themselves and their children closely for 14 days after leaving China, and to call 811 if they develop any symptoms (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing).
What should I do if I have travelled within the last 14 days from Hubei province in China?
Given the changing dynamics of the outbreak in China and globally, the provinces and territories are now recommending arriving travellers who have been in Hubei province (including Wuhan) voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days after leaving China. Self-isolation means these travellers should stay at home and not attend school or work. Returning travellers from Hubei are encouraged to call 811 to connect with local Public Health for further advice and support. Public Health is available to support people who have returned from Hubei province to ensure they know the symptoms to monitor themselves.
What should I do if I have not been travelling recently to China but I am still concerned about 2019-nCoV?
If you have not been travelling to China recently but are still concerned about coronavirus, please read the following questions carefully:
- In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact with a confirmed case of novel coronavirus?
- In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact with a person with fever or acute respiratory illness (new or worsening cough or difficulty breathing) who has been to Hubei province, China within 14 days prior to becoming ill?
If the answer is YES to either question, stay at home and call 811 for further assessment.
If the answer is NO to all questions, no special measures are needed. It is also that time of year when respiratory viruses that cause the common cold or other illness, like the flu, are circulating in our communities. Follow these routine prevention measures to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub when hands are not visibly soiled.
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. If using a tissue, immediately place it in a waste disposal and wash your hands.
- If possible, stay home when ill with acute respiratory symptoms; if this is not possible, limit close contact with others.
- Limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Don't share items that may have saliva on them such as drinking glasses and water bottles.
- Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs, and countertops.
- Use of masks by the general public for respiratory illnesses such as influenza and novel coronavirus have not been shown to be effective in preventing virus spread and are not recommended for prevention.