How to prepare for isolation due to COVID-19
Published Tuesday, March 17, 2020 3:51PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, March 18, 2020 5:11PM CST
This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
WINNIPEG -- Isolation and self-isolation have become important tools to help prevent the spread of disease since COVID-19 was named a pandemic.
Canadians who are returning from travel abroad are being asked to self-isolate for at least 14 days even if they have no symptoms.
Canadians who have contracted COVID-19, or who are awaiting a test result for COVID-19, are being asked to isolate themselves to help limit the spread of the disease.
The isolation will be in place until the Public Health Authority advises the person is no longer infectious.
Preparing for isolation
The government is advising against making large purchases to help preserve the supply chain. Instead, you should gradually purchase items each time you have to shop.
Items you should purchase include non-perishable food such as dried pasta and sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, and prepared canned soups.
The government also advises having extra stores of pet food, facial tissue, feminine hygiene products, diapers (if you have children) and toilet paper. Having the supplies on hand will help reduce the need to leave your home if you become ill or at the peak of the outbreak.
If you have prescriptions, the government is also advising you to get them filled early so you don’t have to visit a pharmacy if you become sick.
If you are isolated due to being diagnosed with COVID-19, you’re asked to make arrangements to have supplies or groceries delivered.
What to have on hand for isolation
For individuals who are asked to isolate, the federal government says you should have these items on hand in your home.
-disposable paper towels;
-medication to reduce fever (e.g., ibuprofen or acetaminophen);
-a waste container with a plastic liner;
-soap (dish soap, laundry soap, hand soap);
-regular household cleaning products;
-bleach (5% sodium hypochlorite) and a separate container for dilution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water);
-Alcohol prep wipes.
What to do when isolating
For those self-isolating for 14 days, you’re asked to limit your time in large gatherings to help prevent the spread of disease.
The Manitoba government says when self-isolating, you should monitor your symptoms, including taking your temperature twice a day.
If you start developing symptoms, including high fever (38 degrees Celsius), cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, you need to call Health Links before going to the emergency department. Call 911 if it is an emergency.
Keeping your house clean is also important. The federal government is advising Canadians in isolation to clean and disinfect surfaces at least once a day, including tables, countertops, television remotes, and toilets.
People are reminded to wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their faces to reduce the spread of germs.
Those in isolation who have contracted COVID-19 or awaiting test results are asked to not leave home unless absolutely necessary, such as seeking medical care.
The Government of Canada says, if possible, to use a separate bedroom and separate bathroom to help prevent the spread of illness. If you do have to interact with someone in your home, make sure you are at least two metres apart, wear a mask, and keep the interactions brief.
The government adds you should make sure you avoid contact with people who have chronic conditions, those with compromised immune systems and older adults.
If your symptoms get worse, call your health care provider immediately and follow their instructions.
An earlier version of this story had water container with a plastic liner as one of the items you require. It has since been corrected to waste container.