COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. In people coronaviruses often cause seasonal respiratory infections similar to the flu (1).

What are Novel Coronaviruses?

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. Novel coronaviruses include viruses that cause the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (1).

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China (1).

What is the difference between the Flu and the 2019-nCoV?

The flu is caused by Influenza viruses. The 2019-nCoV belongs to a separate family of coronaviruses. Diseases caused by influenza viruses and the 2019-nCoV are different diseases and the approach to prevention and treatment are slightly different. The flu can be prevented by getting a seasonal Influenza vaccine and treated with antivirals such as Tamiflu. There is currently no vaccine against 2019-nCoV and treatment is supportive.

What is the source of 2019-nCoV?

The source is unknown. Public health officials are working hard to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV (1).

How does the virus spread?

This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now is spreading from person-to-person (1). While the exact mechanisms of transmission are still being determined, the virus is likely transmitted by contact, droplet and possibly airborne mechanisms (2).

Who are most at risk of becoming infected with the COVID-19?

Persons at most risk of acquiring the COVID-19 infections include persons who have recently traveled to the Hubei Province in China, persons who have been in close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus or who had been in close contact with someone who has an acute respiratory illness and who has been in China within 14 days prior to their illness onset.

What are the symptoms that the COVID-19 can cause?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing (1).

How are severe cases treated?

There is no specific treatment for 2019-nCoV infections (3).

How can I prevent myself from becoming infected with the 2019-n-CoV?

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. As with other respiratory viruses, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed infected persons and to use common infection prevention practices including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in your home.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
What is Ontario Shores doing?
  • Enhanced syndromic and travel screening of patients during admission
  • Building enhanced syndromic symptom and travel screening questions into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) in collaboration with Waypoint and The Royal
  • In the process of increasing syndromic symptom screening signage in main areas and entrances to all patient care areas in hospital and offsite clinic locations
  • Distributed procedure masks to Ambulatory Desks in 2-2, Switchboard, and Information Desk
  • Ongoing surveillance of all inpatients
  • Increased hand hygiene messaging on The Wave
  • Enhanced messaging on Occupational Health Sick Line


What is the current situation in Canada and around the world?

The current situation in Canada and around the world is rapidly changing. To stay up to date with information on the COVID-19 we recommend getting information from reliable media sources and organizations such as Ontario’s Ministry of Health, the World Health organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention available at:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2019. 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China, frequently Asked Questions. Available at
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2019. About 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Available at
  3. World Health Organization. 2020. Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is suspected. Available at
  4. World Health Organization. 2020. Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for the public. Available at