COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

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. Until recently, government regulations in Canada required all COVID-19 testing to be done in assessment centres, but as of January 2021, Medcan will be offering COVID-19 PCR (nasal swab) testing with a 24-hour turnaround time for clients with no symptoms.

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 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 stepped up infection-control measures in common areas with frequent antiviral and disinfectant cleaning on such surfaces as elevator buttons and door handles. Furthermore, we have reduced our capacity to facilitate 2-metre physical distancing in all areas.

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 flu-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following:

  • stay home while you are sick
  • wear a mask
  • 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/sanitize your hands
  • sneeze into your elbow
  • clean and disinfect objects and surfaces frequently

I’ve heard that some people who get the virus may get sick enough to require hospitalization. So how does one minimize the risk?  

Two words…stay healthy. 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. Ensure that any chronic conditions are optimally managed. All of these 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

What does “close contact” mean?

In the context of COVID-19, close contact means being within 2 metres for more than 10-15 minutes. Examples of close contact include kissing or hugging, sharing eating or drinking utensils, talking to someone, and touching someone directly. Lower risk activities include walking by a person or briefly sitting across a waiting room or office. Wearing a mask reduces the risk of transmission even if close, prolonged contact has occurred. In an outdoor setting close contact is much less risky.

In the event I get COVID-19 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 two metres. Ideally, self-isolating in a dedicated and isolated part of the house away from other individuals is recommended.

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 cardiovascular illness. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems and older adults.

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?

The incubation period is usually (on average) several days. It is well-documented that the peak period of viral transmission is prior to symptoms appearing and just after symptoms appear. Some individuals take longer to manifest symptoms—up to 12 days. This is why we need to quarantine for 14 days currently.

Is there a vaccine for this virus?

Yes. There are several vaccines now being developed and distributed globally.

Treatment

There are now several specific treatments for illnesses caused by COVID-19, however these are reserved and only effective for individuals who are at risk of hospitalization or are sick enough to require hospitalization.

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
  • drink plenty of liquids
  • stay home and rest

If you are concerned about your symptoms, contact us 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 who are symptomatic at Medcan for COVID-19 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.

What about masks?

Surgical/medical/3-ply masks are protective for viruses spread by droplets that are coughed and fall within 1-2 metres from a person. We know that this virus is also spread by airborne microparticles that stay in the air, but these situations are predominantly associated with medical procedures. 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 N95 respirators.

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

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