Suspending access to long-term care facilities

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According to a spokesperson with the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority, the senior leadership team has been rolling out preparation plans and health care professionals are responding to people presenting with respiratory illness who are being tested for COVID-19 and other infections.

The spokesperson noted how the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to a cold or flu and that numbers are small now but will continue to grow. The Interlake-Eastern RHA anticipate the greatest draw on healthcare resources in the near future to be our response to the need for people who have symptoms and need to be tested.

“We are looking to establish testing sites in the region for people who are symptomatic to attend,” the spokesperson said. “Just as they have done in Winnipeg, these sites will be intentionally established in areas not connected to clinics or hospitals so we can prevent people who are mildly ill but contagious from interacting with patients seeking health care for other reasons.”

On March 17, Shared Health Services Manitoba announced that it had suspended visitor access to long-term care facilities across Manitoba.
This action was taken for the safety of loved ones in order to protect residents, many of whom have underlying medical conditions that put them at greatest risk of becoming severely ill due to COVID-19.

The exceptions to this measure are for compassionate reasons or end-of-life and will be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of individual facility managers.
What is a coronavirus?

First identified in the 1960s, coronaviruses (CoV) typically cause illness in animals. Sometimes, a typical animal coronavirus can infect humans.
Only a handful of coronaviruses have been found to spread person-to-person, and most are associated with mild illnesses similar to the common cold.

Helpful tips
• If you are ill, even mildly,
stay home.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Cover your cough and sneeze.
• Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth as these are entry points for the virus.

Preparing for COVID-19
Only people experiencing symptoms will be tested for COVID-19.
People who are ill and have recently travelled in the past 14 days or if they have been in close contact (within two metres/six feet) with an ill person, are advised to call Health Links – Info Santé at 1-888-315-9257 to speak with a registered nurse.

Information for workplaces
To help reduce the spread of communicable diseases and viruses including COVID-19, workplaces should have an infection prevention and control plan.
Isolated communities
Communities that are remote or isolated should consider stocking up on needed supplies like food and medicine. The supply chain may be interrupted or become unreliable.

Social distancing strategies for all Manitobans
Transmission of COVID-19 occurs most commonly through close contact (within two meters/six feet) with an infected person who is coughing or sneezing.
It can also spread by touching objects and surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.
To help discontinue the spread of COVID-19, Manitobans are advised:
• Do not engage in contact with others for more than 10 minutes and stay more than two metres apart while in public;
• avoiding greetings that involve touching such as handshakes;
• disinfecting frequently used surfaces;
• following public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have travelled or have been exposed to someone ill with the virus; and
• considering avoiding travel, crowded places and events, especially if you are at higher risk.

Gathering information
The Province of Manitoba coronavirus site, the Public Health Agency of Canada site and also the World Health Organization’s coronavirus sites are all places where residents in the Interlake can find truth regarding the virus.

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