The Novel Coronavirus

About the Novel Coronavirus:

Carleton University is following the advice of Ottawa Public Health, the Ontario Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada for the latest information about the coronavirus (COVID-19)and recommendations for prevention. The information below is a summary of facts from these health agencies as well as answers to questions Carleton faculty, staff, students and the community may have.

It is advised all members of the Carleton community keep themselves informed and follow the recommendations of these agencies.

Last Updated: February 14, 2020 at 12:45 p.m.

Novel Coronavirus FAQ

1. What is the Coronavirus?

In January, 2020, a novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia originating in Wuhan, China. The situation is rapidly evolving and Public Health Ontario, along with the Ministry of Health, is closely monitoring the outbreak, conducting surveillance and appropriate laboratory testing, and providing public health and infection control guidance.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not.

Your risk of severe disease may be higher if you have a weakened immune system. This may be the case for:

  • Older people
  • People with chronic disease (i.e. diabetes, cancer, heart, renal or chronic lung disease)

For the latest information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ontario, visit ontario.ca/coronavirus. It is updated every weekday at 10:30 a.m.

2. What is the risk to residents of Ottawa?

The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in Wuhan, China as low for Canada and for Canadian travellers. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available.

3. When should you contact a doctor, Ottawa Public Health or a health care professional?

Travellers who have returned from Hubei province, including Wuhan City, should:

  • call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada if they plan on travelling to Ottawa
  • stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home,  for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province
  • call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 if they experience symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have travelled to mainland China, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). For 14 days after the day you left mainland China, the Public Health Agency of Canada asks that you:

  • monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing; and,
  • avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.

If you start having symptoms, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. Immediately call a health care professional or Ottawa Public Health (613-580-6744). Describe your symptoms and travel history. To further protect those around you, wash your hands often and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus(COVID-19):

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause very mild to severe illness consisting of fever, and/or cough, other upper respiratory tract infection symptoms and difficulty breathing (shortness of breath).

  • If your symptoms are MILD
    • Call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or your health care provider
    • Call your health care provider or a walk-in clinic prior to visiting them in person
  • If your symptoms are SEVERE
    • Contact your Health Care Provider first (if available)
    • If you cannot reach your Health Care Provider, go to the Hospital Emergency Department and pay attention to special signage

4. How can you protect yourself?

Travellers who have returned from Hubei province, including Wuhan City, should:

  • call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 within 24 hours of arriving in Canada if they plan on travelling to Ottawa
  • stay at home and avoid close contact with others, including those in their home,  for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province
  • call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 if they experience symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have travelled to mainland China, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). For 14 days after the day you left mainland China, the Public Health Agency of Canada asks that you:

  • monitor your health for fever, cough and difficulty breathing; and,
  • avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.

If you start having symptoms, isolate yourself from others as quickly as possible. Immediately call a health care professional or Ottawa Public Health (613-580-6744). Describe your symptoms and travel history. To further protect those around you, wash your hands often and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

To reduce the spread of germs including the flu and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Ottawa Public Health recommends:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching 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
  • If possible, stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid visiting 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

5. Should students, staff or faculty with flu-like symptoms attend class/work?

As with any cold or illness, those with severe symptoms should stay at home or in their residence room. Students should continue to report illness as they usually do. Students living in residence should inform residence staff if they are ill or if you are concerned that you may meet any of the guidelines outlined above.

Staff and faculty who are sick are encouraged to stay home. Please report your absence promptly to your supervisor/chair/director per normal practice.

6. I live in residence and think I may have flu-like symptoms. What should I do?

If you experience symptoms while living in residence, please contact the Department of Housing and Residence Life at accomodations@carleton.ca or by calling the Residence Desk. As it is also flu season, you may want to purchase the following items to keep on hand as a precautionary measure:

  • Over-the-counter medication to reduce aches and fever (e.g., acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
  • Cough medicine and throat lozenges
  • Any prescription medicines you take
  • A thermometer (non-mercury)
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer (should contain at least 60% alcohol)
  • Disinfecting wipes or cleaning products to clean your shared and personal space
  • A water canteen or bottled water, and juice

Students living in residence are reminded to continue to reduce the spread of germs by following the Ottawa Public Health recommendations.

7. Should students, staff or faculty with flu-like symptoms be excluded from class/work?

No one should be excluded or banned from attending classes or work. Students, staff and faculty with flu-like symptoms are encouraged to stay home, but some may choose to attend classes or work. At this time, the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is low.

If any member of the Carleton community is not feeling well after travel, please refer to question 3 and visit the Ottawa Public Health website for detailed instructions.

8. Will classes be cancelled?

Classes are currently continuing as scheduled. As with any class cancellation or change, students are advised to students are advised to monitor their Carleton email, the My Carleton Portal, cuLearn and Carleton University accounts on social media for updates.

9. Should we be canceling events?

At this time, there is no significant risk of community transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canada. Should the situation change, university administration will update the Carleton community.

10. Should I wear a mask?

Ottawa Public Health advises that there is no reason to wear a mask if you are well. There is little evidence that wearing a mask in public prevents a healthy person from becoming ill. Masks may provide a false sense of security and may increase risk, as people continually check their masks and touch their faces without first having washed hands. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands frequently and refrain from touching your face. To help prevent the spread of any infection, remember to cover any cough or sneeze with your arm or a tissue, and, if possible, to stay home if you are sick.

11. I am affected by travel restrictions and cannot return to Canada. What should I do?

If students are unable to return to the University as a result of the travel restrictions, they should contact the Registrar’s Office for more information on accommodations.

12. I am planning to travel in the coming days. What should I do?

Students travelling internationally should contact the International Student Services Office (ISSO). Staff and faculty may refer to the Government of Canada’s travel advisory website.

The Government of Canada has updated its travel advisories in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China. In addition to advising that Canadians avoid all travel to Hubei Province (Wuhan), the government advises to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

As a result, the university is restricting travel to China until further notice and recommends that faculty, staff and students follow the Government of Canada’s advisory. The university will make every effort to prevent or mitigate any potential impact on academic activities.

All members of the Carleton community who plan on travelling should continue to monitor the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories for the most up-to-date information prior to their departure date. Faculty, staff and students are also encouraged to register with International SOS. To sign in, Carleton’s membership log in number is: 27ACAS71467

13. I have questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19), who may I contact?

Faculty and staff may contact the Risk and Insurance Services at risk@carleton.ca.

Students may contact the Office of the Vice-President (Students and Enrolment) at vpstudents@carleton.ca.

Additional Information:

Sources of Information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19):

For Travel Guidance and Advice:

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