No case has been identified in Quebec, confirmed Thursday the Minister of Health, Danielle McCann, and the director of public health, Doctor Horacio Arruda. In the meantime, the World Health Organization declared an international emergency in the face of the coronavirus epidemic.
This statement changes little for regional public health. Actions have already been taken to deal with any eventuality even if the risk of being infected with this virus is low in Quebec.
“We are in mobilization. We continue to be in contact with the Ministry of Health. The ministry provides the most up-to-date data. We relay the information to the network, we provided the tools in the event that a case arises, ”comments Dr. Caroline Marcoux-Huard, medical consultant at the public health directorate of the Integrated University Health and Social Services Center. of Mauricie and Center-du-Québec.
The healthcare network has what it takes to identify people with the virus and to break the chain of transmission, an essential action to prevent spread.
“When a person comes to a facility, there is the potential to transmit the virus to the public and to healthcare workers. This person will be placed in a negative pressure chamber to filter out as much contagious particles as possible so that they do not contaminate the people in the waiting room. ”
Dr Marcoux-Huard recommends that people returning from China and showing symptoms of this virus not to go to a clinic, but to go to a hospital where there are negative pressure rooms. People can also call 811. If they show symptoms of this virus, they will only have to go to a hospital where they will be taken care of immediately.
A protocol has been established to take care of patients, but also to supervise the work of employees of the health network. The use of a mask with high filtering power is planned to protect workers.
Symptoms of the coronavirus are cough and fever. In light of different official sources of information, the majority of cases are minor. People can then be returned home with recommendations to protect other occupants. A census of the people with whom these people have been in contact will also be carried out in order to ensure follow-up.
Some of those affected by this virus will have pneumonia and may even die from it, but this mainly concerns people who are already in more fragile health.
Dr. Marcoux-Huard reminds us that we are in the midst of influenza and other viruses. Basic precautions are always in order to protect yourself against viruses: wash your hands, cough into a disposable tissue or into the fold of your elbow and stay home if you are sick.
“We can be reassured in Quebec,” she observes. We have taken the necessary measures to make better identification and to break the chain of transmission. And we have to put things in perspective. The new virus has emerged in China. The majority of those affected had had contact with a public market. The virus belongs to a family that we know, the reservoir is the animals. There are cases of person-to-person transmission, but as a result of close and prolonged contact. It’s not a virus that jumps on people. ”
With a mask or not?
Paper masks are very popular these days, as some people use this equipment to protect themselves against disease. According to Dr. Marcoux-Huard, this tool is not useful for the entire population.
“We use it for people who are sick and the professionals who care for those sick. If it is badly worn, it can have perverse effects. These masks are not made to be worn for long hours. People feel protected and will perhaps neglect other measures. It gives a false sense of reassurance. ”
Four in Canada
Four cases of coronavirus have been observed in Canada so far.
More than 210 people have died after contracting this virus.
This epidemic is reminiscent of that caused by influenza A (H1N1) in 2009 and 2010. According to the WHO, 18,500 people have died as a result of this flu. More than 420 Canadians are among the victims. At least six people were from Mauricie and Center-du-Québec.