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Health officer stresses need to follow advice

By Lorraine Graves

Published 2:09 PDT, Mon March 23, 2020

Public health officer Dr. Meena Dawar stressed the importance of self-isolation and social distancing today.

“We are not testing every case anymore,” said Dawar. She explained healthcare professionals are only testing severe cases at this point. This includes hospitalized people in the emergency department, residents in care facilities and healthcare workers.

Eighty per cent of cases are mild, and people are recovering at home. Those cases have not been tested or recorded in the official count, which is why Dawar believes the virus is more widespread than the numbers indicate. 

“Let’s modify the curve of how fast the outbreak builds,” said Dawar.

Dawar said chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, is being used to treat COVID-19 patients in nursing homes, since the elderly are at the highest risk for severe complications or death from the virus.

“We see rumours circulate about potential exposure. Please do not circulate rumours,” said Dawar. “Instead, get back to your friendly public health nurse and public health officials. If needed, we will issue a public advisory about potential exposure in public spaces.”

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