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Help reduce risk of infection


Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs.

They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
-respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
-close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
-touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

-wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
-use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
-when coughing or sneezing: cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
-avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
-clean the following high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water):
  • toys
  • toilets
  • phones
  • electronics
  • door handles
  • bedside tables
  • television remotes

Wearing non-medical face masks required in health care facilities

As COVID-19 is expected to be a part of our ‘new normal’, efforts are underway to find a longer-term balance between preventing the spread of this virus and ensuring we are able to ensure safe interaction between patients and their loved ones.

As of September 1, 2020, all visitors must wear non-medical masks for the duration of their visit(s) to health-care facilities, including outpatients attending medical appointments (e.g. for diagnostic tests, blood work, etc.). Outpatients are asked to provide and wear their own mask. 
Wearing a homemade mask is another way of covering your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from spreading to others or landing on surfaces. Homemade masks may include those that are made of cloth (e.g. cotton), and can be made with pockets to insert other masks or filters.

The mask can reduce the chance that others are coming into contact with your respiratory droplets, in the same way as practicing cough etiquette by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or coughing or sneezing into your sleeve.

Wearing a homemade (non-medical) mask in the community is an additional measure that can protect others around you, even if you don't have any symptoms.

Patients seeking care at emergency departments, urgent care centres and/or clinics will similarly be encouraged to wear a non-medical mask but will continue to be provided with a procedure mask, if appropriate, when screened prior to entry.

If you wear a non-medical face mask, you must do the following:

-Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off.
-Practice good hand hygiene while wearing the mask.
-Ensure your mask fits well (doesn't gape).
-Do not share your mask with others.
-Avoid touching your face mask while wearing it. Face masks can become contaminated on the outside, or when touched by your hands.Change your mask as soon as it is damp or soiled and place the mask directly into a bag or into the washing machine, launder your mask on a hot cycle and dry it thoroughly. 

Careful hand hygiene and public health measures, including frequent hand washing and physical distancing, should also be a part of your approach to reduce your chances of being exposed to the virus.

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