The first case of COVID-19 can be traced back to Huibei Province in China, as early as November, 2019. Rumours that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated in a bat and eventually spread to other animals (like the pangolin), are turning out to be true.

It is now becoming somewhat rampant in humans, where new cases of COVID-19 have increased by 40% in Ontario, overnight.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic which has resulted in our province shuttering public schools until April 6th. These closures have rippled across public institutions like daycares, libraries and community centres until that date, as well.

Workplaces are also making moves to limit interaction by urging employees to work from home, cancelling all group meetings, and even closing their doors.

We, at Markham Community Wellness, have decided to share advice for the public issued by WHO. In a time where many voices are sounding about the virus, the WHO remains a more trustworthy source than most (in our opinion) and here is some of what they have to share:

Frequent washing of hands

It is best to clean your hands thoroughly, with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or simply with warm water and soup (make sure to lather up!)

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Keep your distance

Standing 1 metre (which is 3 feet) away from your friends and colleagues, especially someone who coughing or sneezing, will help to prevent the transmission of any bacteria.

The reason for this is that anyone coughing or sneezing will spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth that could be harbouring the corona or any other virus. It is easy to breathe in the droplets, if you are standing close to them, so it is best to keep a(n) (un)social distance!

Avoid touching your face

It is a well-known fact that our hands touch many surfaces throughout the day and can easily come into contact with a virus. Once your hands are contaminated, they can transfer a virus to your face (eyes, nose, mouth). The virus can then enter your system – and make you sick.

Cover your mouth when you sneeze!
It’s pretty simple. Good respitory hygiene means that you actively cover your mouth and nose with with the inside corner of your elbow when you are about to cough or sneeze. The WHO also recommends using a tissue to do so.

When you practice good respiratory hygiene you help prevent other people around you from catching your cold, flu or COVID-19.

Make sure you contact your doctor, local health clinic (call before visiting) or your local emergency room if you have fever, cough or any difficulty breathing. The earlier you do so, the better.

Don’t forget to check in with national and local authorities throughout this pandemic, for information and updates as they affect your local surroundings.

When you are at home, make sure to drink lots of water, eat your fruits and vegetables and get lots of rest!

Be safe, and healthy and hopefully we will all get through this together (in spirit, not in person).