Canadians self-isolating and social distancing amid COVID-19 pandemic

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WatchHealth officials have been urging us to self-isolate if we feel sick or if we've been exposed to someone who may have COVID-19. But what does it mean to self isolate and what do we need to do to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy? Jasmine Bala explains.

Officials are encouraging Canadians to practice social distancing and self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is our chance right here right now — a window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow. We all need to act now,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer.

“But these social distancing measures and avoiding nonessential gatherings or travel, we can dampen any sort of transmission within our society.”

As more COVID-19 cases are announced every day, people are beginning to work from home, schools are being closed and many events are getting cancelled.

“We know that staying home is an important step to protect the community and each other. We all have to do it,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“But I want to remind all Canadians that social distancing doesn’t mean we have to stop talking to each other, pick up the phone, write an email, FaceTime.”

While some Canadians are practicing social distancing, others are in self-isolation.

“If people have travelled outside of Canada, they must self-isolate,” said B.C.’s health minister Adrian Dix. “They must self-isolate…  It is again, our duty as people living in a community, our duty to the ones we love, and our duty to British Columbians that we do not know.”

Isolation means limiting contact with others, keeping your hands clean, avoiding common items and surfaces, and caring for yourself, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

This means people in self-isolation shouldn’t leave their homes, or go to public areas, unless they need medical assistance.

If you are in self-isolation, you should arrange to have your groceries and supplies dropped off at your door, and keep at least two metres of distance from anyone else.

PHAC recommends washing your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, and monitoring yourself for any symptoms.

More information on self-isolating is available on the Government of Canada’s website and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

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