The following 5 Infection Prevention and Control Measures (screening, personal hygiene, cough etiquette, environmental cleaning, and physical distancing) should be used together for optimal effectiveness in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The goal is to use these five infection prevention and control measures to slow down the spread and impacts of COVID-19.
- All people who are sick should stay at home.
- Screening activities should be focused on patients, residents, clients, volunteers, visitors and staff, and should be done over the phone, upon arrival/ at entrances and on a regular basis throughout the day.
- The goal of screening programs should be to ensure that no person with clinical symptoms consistent with COVID-19 enters the building/facility.
- Screening can be done actively or passively:
- Passive screening involves placing a sign at all entrances and asking people who enter the building to screen themselves by reading the signage and answering the questions before entering the building.
- Active screening involves having a designated staff person ask the screening questions before allowing someone to enter a building. This can be done with or without a thermometer.
- It is up to individual facilities to decide if they do active or passive screening; however, we recommend active screening for facilities that are working with vulnerable populations (e.g. seniors/retirement homes, daycares, health care settings, communal living spaces), and passive screening for facilities working with the general public.
- Screening can include any combination of the following questions (based on the specific needs of the facility/population using the facility):
- Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever (38°C and over) and/or a new or worsening cough?
- Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
- Have you been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19?
- Have you been in close contact with someone who is sick with respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing) who has recently travelled outside of Canada?
- Anyone that answers “yes” to any of these questions must be advised to self-isolate immediately do the online self-assessment to determine their next steps.
- Please Note: As of March 27, 2020, it is strongly recommended that individuals returning from domestic travel outside of Northwestern Ontario self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether or not they have symptoms (this recommendation is for TBDHu and is currently not covered by the Ontario self-assessment tool). Individuals in self-isolation should be monitoring their symptoms and complete the self-assessment tool if symptoms develop.
- Wash your hands frequently using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer (minimum 60%).
- Wash your hands after using the washroom, before preparing or eating food, after contact with frequently touched surfaces, upon returning home from work or a public place.
- Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth in particular) with unwashed hands.
- Remind any children in your care to follow these recommendations and support them to do so.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your upper sleeve or elbow, when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues immediately in a lined wastebasket then wash your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Remind any children in your care to follow these recommendations and support them to do so.
- Masks are only recommended for those with symptoms (e.g. cough, fever). Stocking up on masks when you are healthy is not recommended can lead to less supplies available for those that really need them.
This information applies to public settings, including smaller businesses, and homes, including those who are in self-isolation or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Workplaces should follow their organization-specific protocols. People who are not experiencing symptoms can choose to follow these as a precaution in their own household.
The first step is to take hygiene and cough etiquette precautions to limit contamination of surfaces and items.
In addition to routine cleaning, frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces twice per day and when visibly dirty. Examples of frequently touched surfaces include but are not limited to:
- Doorknobs, light switches, counters, toilet handles, sink handles, touch screen surfaces, keypads, keyboards, mouses, phones, electronics, bedside tables, remote controls, toys, desk counters, handrails, elevator buttons, gym equipment
Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19:
- Cleaners: Break down grease and remove organic material from the surface. If the surface is visibly dirty use a cleaner first before using disinfectants. Some products contain a cleaner and disinfectant combination.
- Disinfectants: Have chemicals that kill most germs. Use a disinfectant after the surface has been cleaned. Note that disinfectants should not be used on food preparation surfaces or other items that will come in contact with food. Ensure only food safe cleaners/ sanitizers are used to clean kitchen areas.
- Use only disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms it is approved for use in Canada. Check the expiry date of products you use and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Diluted bleach with a ratio of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water (5250 ppm) is an effective disinfectant if household disinfectants are not available. This solution should be made and used within a day as bleach can degrade over time when exposed to light making it less effective.
- Where possible, use pre-mixed solutions of disinfectants. If you need to prepare a product for use, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to:
- Properly prepare the solution.
- Allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label).
- Wear gloves when handling cleaning products, including wipes.
- Wear any other personal protective equipment recommended by the manufacturer.
- Disinfectant Wipes: Have combined cleaners and disinfectants in one solution. These are not recommended for heavily soiled surfaces.
- Disinfectant wipes may become dry due to fast drying properties and should be discarded if they become dry.
- Note: baby wipes are not disinfectant and should not be used to clean and disinfectant surfaces.
Continue normal dishwashing practices. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, or eating utensils with anyone under investigation for COVID-19. After use of these items, soap or detergent and warm water, as well as dishwashers, can be used for washing. No special soap is needed.
Continue normal laundry practices. Do not share towels, bedding or clothes with anyone under investigation for COVID-19. There is no need to separate the laundry of someone under investigation, but you should wear gloves when handling. Clean your hands with soap and water immediately after removing your gloves.
Be careful when touching waste. All waste can go into regular garbage bins. When emptying wastebaskets and garbage bins, be careful not to touch any used tissues with your hands. Lining wastebaskets with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer. Clean your hands with soap and water after emptying.
In order to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the Thunder Bay District, the TBDHU is recommending that all residents of the Thunder Bay District practice physical distancing.
Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. This means to be physically separated from other people, by a space of at least 2 metres, as much as possible. Avoiding close contact with other people helps prevent the spread of illnesses, such as COVID-19, by keeping the density of people low. However, it is still important to stay socially connected through other means, such as phone calls, social media, or other digital means.
Physical distancing includes, but is not limited to:
- Avoiding handshaking and hugging people.
- Working from home when possible
- Avoiding non-essential trips in the community.
- Staying away from places where people gather.
- Canceling or postponing gatherings.
- Having virtual visits with family and friends using Skype or FaceTime or other electronic means instead of in-person.
- Avoiding visits to hospitals, care homes or other congregate care settings.
If you’re not feeling ill, it is okay to leave your house and spend time outdoors, or get groceries or medicines as you need, but remember to keep a distance of at least 2 metres from others.
- Classroom poster #1 to promote hand washing (English - PDF)
- Classroom poster #2 to promote hand washing (PDF)
- Classroom poster to promote hand washing (English - PDF)
- Classroom poster to promote hand washing (French - PDF)
- Classroom poster to promote the use of hand sanitizer (English - PDF)
- Classroom poster to promote the use of hand sanitizer (French - PDF)
- Hand Hygiene Colouring Pages (PDF)
- Parent fact sheet - hand washing and covering coughs & sneezes (PDF)
- Factsheet for Child Care and Teachers (PDF)
- Classroom poster to promote covering coughs/sneezes (PDF)
- Reinforcement activity - tracking chart (PDF)
For more information on COVID-19 visit the COVID-19 topics of interest webpage.