Coronavirus Notice from Dr. Susan Slipacoff, ND
Please read the following clinic update regarding the novel Coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China (2019-nCoV). While the current risk to Canadian travelers and Canada is considered to be low; we continue to review updates from Public Health Ontario on infection control practices and guidance and will keep you updated, as needed.
What are coronaviruses and in particular 2019-nCoV?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals including camels, cattle, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between them such as with the outbreaks caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (SARS, 2003), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus (MERS, 2012), and now with 2019-nCoV.
Similar to SARS and MERS, 2019-nCoV is a betacoronavirus and has its origins in bats.Though both SARS and MERS were known to cause severe illness in people (the 2019-nCoV death rate is much lower, see below for details), the same does not appear to be true for 2019-nCoV.Reported illnesses range from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Statistics that may interest you regarding mortality rates (i.e. percentage of deaths per infection):
1. SARS: 10%
2. MERS: 34%
3. 2019-nCoV: 2%
4. Current seasonal flu, 2019/2020 strain: 0.04%
The risk of severe disease is understandably higher if the infected person has a weakened immune system as is often the case with seniors and people with chronic disease or on immunosuppressive medication(s).
The main symptoms include: Fever, cough and difficulty breathing. These are similar to other respiratory infections including influenza (the seasonal flu). As a result, individuals who may simply have the flu are being tested out of caution and in line with Ontario’s detection protocols. So far there are currently 29 cases in Canada under investigation and 4 confirmed cases in total, 3 in Ontario and 1 in British Columbia (as of February 5, 2020).
On January 30, 2020 the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC).
What is being done to protect the public’s health?
In order to keep the risk as low as possible, public health agencies are recommending that clinics, airports, and hospitals use proper steps to help contain 2019-nCoV and prevent spread into our communities. Hospitals have screening and isolation practice in place; community and private clinics like KIH clinic are screening patients before booking and entering the premises or immediately upon entry, and public health and related agencies all across the country and around the world are in constant communication in a concerted effort to protect the public’s health.
Should Canadians be concerned?
Right now, the risk to Canadians is extremely low. The focus is to globally contain the spread so as to maintain the public’s health worldwide. But again, the risk of any one person in Canada contracting this virus is extremely low at this point.
What is Kleinburg Integrative health doing to protect its patients and families?
It is extremely important that KIH do its part to keep our community safe. It’s also important that we continue to be available, at full capacity to provide care for all of our patients and clients. Thus we will be implementing a screening policy to ensure that any individuals at risk of having or spreading 2019-nCoV are identified immediately and then sent to their nearest hospital facility for isolation and treatment.
Any patients/clients wishing to book a sick visit or appointment at KIH clinic will be asked the following pre-screening questions:
- Are you or your child (in cases where the child is the patient/client) experiencing fever and respiratory/flu-like symptoms?
- Have you had any recent travel to China in the last 14 days?
- Have you had close contact with any sick family members or household contacts who have traveled to China in the past 14 days?
- Have you had close contact with anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus 2019?
What we can all do to help prevent the spread of this and other viruses?
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with your inner elbow.
- Do not send your kids to school if they have fever and/or a flu-like illness. Likewise, do not go to work if you are sick. School and work can be resumed after being 24hrs fever free.
- Stay away from people who have signs of a respiratory tract infection, such as runny nose, coughing and sneezing.
If you have had multiple recent infections and would like to consult with any of the clinic’s naturopathic doctors then either call the clinic to book or go to our immune support webpage to read more on how we can help.
For any further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, we will do our part and ensure to keep you updated as needed.
Dr. Susan Slipacoff, ND