Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Maintaining the health and wellbeing of our clients is our primary motivation here at Medcan. To that end, the Medcan team is monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and will keep our clients informed through numerous channels.

  • We’re providing daily updates with guidance on the evolving situation here.
  • Our Medcan Insights blog features:
    • Reassuring context from our chief medical officer, Dr. Peter Nord, on why the COVID-19 mortality rate is likely to fall over time.
    • Tips from Medcan’s mental health director, Dr. Gina Di Giulio, on how to stay calm through the crisis.
    • An audio explainer of CEO Shaun Francis walking through what to expect with our chief medical officer, Dr. Peter Nord.
    • A guide from Medcan Director of Food and Nutrition Leslie Beck about what to stock in your pantry to prepare for possible self-isolation.
  • Our Eat Move Think podcast with Shaun Francis features interviews with experts to provide context and guidance. Visit the website for links to such platforms as Spotify and others.
  • Follow us @medcanlivewell on both Instagram and Twitter, and @shauncfrancis on Twitter, for up-to-the-minute news and updates.
  • For more information about Ontario Government Self-Assessment site, click here.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please call 416.350.5900 to speak with a Medcan representative.

If I suspect that I have COVID-19, what can Medcan do to help?

Medcan is taking extraordinary measures to ensure that it continues to provide exemplary levels of service throughout the pandemic both virtually and at our physical location. For example, Medcan’s year-round-care clients are invited to consult with Medcan virtually or by telephone at 416.350.5900. We’re here to provide advice and guidance catered to your specific situation. One possible scenario may see you requiring COVID-19 testing. Government regulations in Canada require all COVID-19 testing to be done in hospital—and Medcan staff are available to direct you to the appropriate facility.

What is Medcan doing to ensure that the physical location at 150 York remains coronavirus free?

Medcan is well-positioned to keep our physical location free of COVID-19 infection because all of our client visits are booked in advance, as appointments. That means we’re able to screen all visitors before they arrive, either virtually or by telephone, for symptoms or high-risk travel histories. Clients who believe they may have the virus are being asked to opt for virtual medical appointments. In addition, Medcan is taking extraordinary steps to keep our location infection free, such as:

  • In our common areas, patient rooms and throughout the physical location: We’ve stepped up infection-control measures with frequent antiviral and disinfectant cleaning on such surfaces as elevator buttons and door handles.
  • Among our staff: Our Coronavirus Working Group has been in operation since January and keeps all client-facing informed on current developments as the situation evolves.
  • If someone becomes sick while here: We’ve established isolation rooms on the 14th, 15thand 19th floors with staff equipped with protective equipment.
  • In our fitness-training facility: Trainers are executing triage procedures in advance of any visits by asking if their clients are experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID-19 and if any recent travel has happened from specified no-go countries. If the client is judged to be high risk, the appointment is cancelled. Also in the gym, trainers and cleaning staff are wiping down common surfaces at frequent intervals with SANI-CLOTH PLUS antiviral and antibacterial wipes.

How can I protect myself from infection?

1) Rather than shaking hands, use a fist bump, slight bow or elbow bump.
2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches, elevator buttons, etc. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.
3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip. Do not grasp the handle with your hand.

4) Use disinfectant wipes when they are available to wipe down surfaces.
5) Wash your hands with soap for 20 – 30 seconds and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently.
6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances and in your car.
7) Cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard, or into elbow, and then sanitize your hands.

8) Avoid close contact with others.

For information about hand washing, see CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives!

How can I protect others if I feel that I may have symptoms?

If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following:

  • stay home while you are sick
  • avoid close contact with others
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
  • sneeze into your elbow
  • clean and disinfect objects and surfaces frequently

Can I travel for Spring Break or necessary business and, if so, what precautions should I take?

As recommended by the Canadian government, Medcan suggests avoiding all non-essential travel outside of the country in this uncertain time. Those who are returning from abroad are asked to self-isolate for 14 days to prevent the spread of infection. In addition, Canadians abroad are being urged to come home while they still can as some countries are closing their borders. At this time, the following countries have travel notices for COVID-19:

I’ve heard that 15 per cent of people who get the virus may get sick enough to require hospitalization. So how does one minimize the risk to not become one of that 15 per cent?  

The last frame of protection is staying healthy. So it’s critically important right now that people practice self-care. For example, don’t smoke, because smoking impairs the lung’s ability to fight off infection. Take care of yourself. Make sure your immune status is good. Exercise. Eat well. Manage your stress levels. All of those things, ultimately, are things that we can control that will minimize how seriously it affects us.

How is the virus spread?

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • the air by coughing and sneezing
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
  • rarely, fecal contamination

What does “close contact” mean?

In the context of SARS, close contact means having cared for or lived with someone with SARS or having direct contact with respiratory secretions or body fluids of a patient with SARS. Examples of close contact include kissing or hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, talking to someone within 3 feet, and touching someone directly. Close contact does not include activities like walking by a person or briefly sitting across a waiting room or office.

In the event I get the flu and self-isolate what precautions should family members take?

Family members should minimize contact to reduce the chance of becoming infected with all of the steps suggested above, including, primarily, maintaining a safe distance of at least one metre separation, and preventing close contact.

What are the symptoms of this novel coronavirus?

Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

SARS symptoms often included fever, chills, and body aches which usually progressed to pneumonia. No human cases of SARS have been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.

Should I stay home if I have symptoms?

Yes, absolutely.

What is the incubation period of this virus? Can I get sick during this time?

It appears that the incubation period is about two weeks, although some research has indicated symptoms are able to manifest within six to 10 days. There are indications that infected people are able to transmit the virus before they have symptoms.

Is there a vaccine to this virus?

There isn’t a vaccine to this virus, however many organizations are working on one. The challenge is making enough to meet the need globally in a timely manner. However, the minimum that a vaccine might be available in quantities to be useful is likely nine to 12 months away. In addition, researchers are working to identify antiviral drugs that may be effective at treating coronavirus.

Treatment

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms.

  • take pain and fever medications like Tylenol (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
  • use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough

If you are mildly sick, you should:

  • drink plenty of liquids
  • stay home and rest

If you are concerned about your symptoms, contact us at Medcan by phone, at (416) 350-5900.

If you have become ill and you feel that this might be due to this novel coronavirus, visit your nearest Emergency Department.

We will not be testing patients at Medcan for this novel coronavirus at the request of our public health agency. If samples are required, this will be done through Emergency Departments

Should I get a flu shot now?

The flu shot will protect you against Influenza only. This is a different type of virus from the coronavirus so the flu shot will not help protect you against this virus. It will certainly help to protect you from influenza however.

How will this play out?

We are likely to be living with the COVID-19 coronavirus situation for the next 18 months or so. In terms of global activity, China will continue to level off, and then for the rest of the world we’re going to see the kind of growth rates that we initially saw only in China.

What about masks?

Surgical masks are only protective for viruses spread by droplets that are coughed and fall within 1-2 m from a person. We assume that this virus is also spread by airborne microparticles that stay in the air. Protection against these microparticles can only be provided with N95 respirator-masks. At this point, only individuals who are at higher risk for exposure (screening personnel at airports, first responders, ER staff, etc.) need to wear masks.

To prevent infection, practice good hand hygiene. Wash hands frequently with soap and use sanitizer. Avoid handshakes and minimize touching things like light switches and elevator buttons. Try to avoid contact between your face and your hands.

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