Health officials say the world is at a decisive point with coronavirus. The number of infections around the world is rising steadily.
Here in Canada, two more coronavirus patients have been identified (another in Ontario and Quebec’s first case), and hospitals are ramping up possible pandemic plans for COVID-19.
The risk of contracting the virus in Canada is still considered low, and the health system has so far been able to contain the cases, all imported from other countries.
But the warnings from health professionals are becoming more urgent.
“We need to shift our thinking into this is going to become a problem within Canada within a matter of weeks to months, and so we need to get on that,” said Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease specialist.
It’s leaving many with questions.
“We’ve seen a regular influx of people coming in with questions about the coronavirus and people looking for things like face masks,” said Andrew Formosa, owner of Aaronson’s Pharmacy in Victoria.
So what can you do, to ready yourself for the next possible phase of the coronavirus epidemic?
Experts say, stock up.
“I think the reason why we should prepare for coronavirus is not just because we are expecting a public emergency, but because if you become sick we don’t want you going out and spending time in public,” said Formosa.
“And if you’re going to be spending an extra amount of time at home with a cold or a cough, you’re going to need some supplies like food and your normal staples to get through that period. Having an extra two weeks to four weeks of medication in a backup kit at home, or an extra week or two of food on the shelf to help you weather the storm.”
Health experts say that masks are not necessary, unless you are sick yourself, and exhibiting symptoms. Hand washing, however, could make a big difference in stopping the spread.
But with the future of the virus uncertain, and a vaccine at least a year away, everyone is being urged to be prepared.
With files from The Canadian Press