The Truth about COVID-19
How to Protect Yourself

COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a new virus that is transmitted two ways; either by contact or by droplets.

Contact is the most frequent mode of transmission. Direct contact involves direct body surface to body surface contact (i.e. hand shake, hug). Indirect contact involves a person being contaminated by an object (door knob, pen) usually as a result of being touched by unclean hands of an infected person.

Droplet transmission occurs when droplets are expelled from an infected person during a sneeze, cough or when talking. These microorganisms are relatively large and only travel a short distance (2 meters or 6 feet). The infected droplets may linger on surfaces for a long time.

COVID-19 is NOT airborne, that is, it isn’t suspended in the air nor can it be moved by air currents.

With this knowledge, there are a number of ways to protect yourself. Prevention of this virus is the key to conquering it. The most effective measures include;

  • Wash your hands - performing hand hygiene frequently with warm water and soap is the best way to clean your hands. Using an alcohol-based hand rub will clean your hands, but may cause them to dry out and crack.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands.
  • Maintain “social distance” of more than 2 meters or 6 feet.
  • Frequently clean areas that are commonly touched surfaces (i.e. door knob, toilet handle, light switch).

Personal Protective Equipment (mask, gloves, gown, goggles) is the last tier in the hierarchy and should not be seen as a stand-alone preventative method. The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is effective in the following situations;

Mask - A medical mask is not required for people who are not sick as there is no evidence of its usefulness in protection. Wearing medical masks when not indicated may result in unnecessary costs, difficulty getting masks for health care professionals and creating a false sense of security that can lead to the neglect of other essential measures. In addition, using a mask incorrectly can reduce its effectiveness.

N-95 masks should only be used by health care professionals when performing aerosol-generating procedures such as endotracheal intubation, bronchoscopy, C.P.R. N-95 masks are now costing more than $10.00 per mask and should only be used by First Responders.

Among the general public, persons with respiratory symptoms or those providing close care to COVIS-19 patients at home should wear procedure/surgical masks.

For persons without symptoms, wearing a mask of any type is not recommended.

Health care workers involved in the direct care of patients should use the following PPE: gowns, gloves, surgical mask and face shield. Family members that come within 2 meters, six feet or are in contact with fluids from the patient (i.e. urine, sputum) should also be protected with gowns, gloves, mask and face shield.

Families caring for their loved ones at home do not need to wear PPE if they maintain social distance and frequently clean shared surfaces.

Further information and coaching will be given to family members as needed.

  • Information compiled from;
    Indigenous Services Canada
    First Nation and Inuit Home and Community Care, Ontario Region
    Health Canada
    World Health Organization
    Public Health Ontario
    Registered Nurses Association of Ontario