Editorial Archive

Message from the Chief Safety Officer

2/7/20 6:00 PM

Safety Notice #4: New Coronavirus Outbreak

What is the update from Toronto Public Health?

Toronto Public Health is monitoring two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in Toronto. The individuals recently travelled to Wuhan together. One individual has been discharged home from the hospital and the other has been in self-isolation since returning to Toronto. Toronto Public Health continues to monitor the situation and provide updates. The risk to Toronto residents remains low.

What do I do if I have recently travelled to Hubei province in China?

If you have travelled to Hubei province in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that you left Hubei. This means self-isolate and stay at home. In addition, contact the local public health authority in your area within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.

What do I do if I have recently travelled to mainland China?

All travellers from mainland China are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and to contact the local public health authority in their area if they feel sick.

Should a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other symptom arise within 14 days after returning to Canada, seek medical attention immediately. Inform your health care provider or local health authority about symptoms and travel history.

Why is hand washing and cough/sneeze etiquette so important?

It is important to continue following proper hand washing techniques and cough/sneeze etiquette.

Hands carry and spread germs. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning your hands or sneezing or coughing into your hands may provide an opportunity for germs to get into your body. Keeping your hands clean through good hygiene practice is one of the most important steps to avoid getting sick and spreading germs.

When performed correctly, hand hygiene is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and infections. Hand hygiene may be performed either by using soap and running water, or with alcohol-based hand rubs.

Where do I get reliable information?

Inaccurate information continues to spread and it is creating unnecessary stigma against members of our community. Discrimination is not acceptable. Employees are reminded that the Respect and Dignity in the Workplace Policy still applies during these stressful times. It is imperative that people check credible, evidence-based sources to get the facts when seeking information.

The TTC Safety and Environment Department continues to post a number of information/resource documents on their home page. See the link on the TTC Intranet homepage or the Safety and Environment Department website (internal).

More information about coronavirus is also available from Toronto Public Health at:
https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/health-wellness-care/diseases-medications-vaccines/coronavirus/.
Health Canada has also prepared “New Corona Virus, Frequently Asked Questions” at:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/frequently-asked-questions.html.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact the Occupational Hygiene and Environment Section at 416-393-3320. If you have any questions related to your personal health, please contact your family doctor or Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000. Toronto Public Health has also set up a coronavirus hotline that provides the public with a place to get information, ask questions about this virus and connect with a health professional at 416-338-7600.

Betty Hasserjian
Chief Safety Officer (acting)
Safety and Environment Department
February 7, 2020

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