MUSKOKA, ON-The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is preparing to deal with the coronavirus if it comes to the area.

Medical Officer of Health for the SMDHU Dr. Charles Gardner said that the virus has not been seen in Canada but is aware that diseases don’t respect borders and can spread. “Based on our previous experience with SARS, we know we have to be ready if and when it appears, and that means working with both the province and our health care partners to endure we have a coordinated response.”

The health unit is working within its infectious diseases emergency response plan as they are tracking and investigating cases of the disease and how it works.

The coronavirus is a new respiratory virus with pneumonia-like symptoms and it first appeared in Wuhan City, China late last year. The new virus stems from a family of viruses that cause illness like the common cold, or even more severe diseases like SARS. The health unit says that this new disease is likely to have originated in animals and now people may be the new carriers of the virus.

The virus is most commonly spread from a person already infected when they cough and sneeze and by close personal contact like shaking hands or touching an object. If you were to come in contact where the virus was and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, that boosts your chance of catching the disease

Symptoms of the disease are usually mild to moderate and can include a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and a general feeling of being unwell.

If you have a fever, the symptoms listed and have travelled from Wuhan City in the past 14 days before your symptoms started, you should be checked by a health care provider.

The best way to protect yourself is by washing your hand regularly and if you have the disease, be sure to cough into your sleeve

For more info about the virus visit the SMDHU page here or by calling Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or at 1-877-721-7520.