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As cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to spread internationally, it is becoming more likely that we will see worldwide spread of the virus.  Canada and other countries that do not currently have local transmission, are focusing on containment of COVID-19, but there is a strong possibility that this virus could become a pandemic. Although there are currently not many cases in Canada, and no current cases in Ottawa, this could change very rapidly. According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease where most people do not have immunity.

There are things you can do to prepare for a possible pandemic, and ensure you are prepared in case you or someone in your house becomes ill.

Get ready

  • Stock up on non-perishable foods gradually over the next few weeks.
  • Fill prescriptions and stock up over-the-counter medications.
    • Don’t wait to fill essential prescriptions.
    • Fill prescriptions for an extra month if you’re able.
    • Get refills with enough notice so that you do not run out of medication you may need.
    • Purchase over-the-counter pain/fever medications.
  • Make plans for your children or other dependents in case you may be sick.
  • Stock up on supplies for your pets.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies.
  • Ensure you have adequate sanitary/hygiene supplies.
  • Make preparations within your office. Support each other.

Limit the spread of germs

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Make sure to wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands with soap.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or into your arm, not your hand.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Do not visit people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick.
  • It is still recommended to get your flu shot if you haven’t already as the flu virus is still circulating in the community.

Follow health travel advice and advisories

Take care of yourself

  • It’s OK to NOT be Ok. Please know that help is available and we encourage you to reach out to Distress Centre of Ottawa to connect with someone at 613-238-3311.
  • Stay healthy by eating well, drinking lots of fluids, staying active (if well), and trying to get enough rest and sleep. A healthy immune system is better equipped to fight an infection.