NORTH DURHAM: Municipal officials and a local health organization want to assure North Durham residents they are prepared for the novel coronavirus, known as 2019-nCoV, should a case be found in the area.

“The public health department in the Region [of Durham] is closely monitoring it. They have put an about fact sheet on the durham.ca website,” Scugog Regional Councillor Wilma Wotten said, at a council meeting on Monday, January 27th. “They will communicate through Facebook and Twitter. I just wanted to reassure everyone the health department at the region is staying on top of it as best they can.”

Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew said she has spoken to Durham Region Chair John Henry about this virus. “The regional department of health is being proactive in addressing the possible concern in Durham Region. They are reviewing all of their SARS criteria and procedures, what went wrong, what didn’t, making sure supplies are in place,” Mayor Drew explained.

“We are well prepared should anything happen with this coronavirus.” Lakeridge Health has also been preparing for the possibility of the virus finding its way into Durham Region. “Lakeridge Health is well prepared if a coronavirus case is identified in our organization. In response to the emerging respiratory infections and seasonal influenza,

Lakeridge Health has robust screening and infection prevention and control procedures already in place that all team members adhere to,” read a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (FAQ) page on the Lakeridge Health website. “Lakeridge Health has been working closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ontario Hospital Association on provincial readiness. Information to support the provincial response is circulated through Emergency Management Ontario’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to ensure consistent, coordinated communications and information throughout the province. Lakeridge Health has also been developing and coordinating a local response in collaboration with our partners, including Durham Region Health Department, EMS and community providers.”

A Lakeridge Health fact sheet states “Lakeridge Health and the whole health care system has learned a lot since SARS,” and is “well prepared to respond effectively,” if the virus is determined to be in Durham. Health officials believe this coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China. Symptoms of this virus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. “The signs and symptoms of the novel coronavirus are similar to influenza and the common cold. However, you are at risk of contracting novel coronavirus if you have recently travelled to Wuhan, China or have been in contact with someone who has symptoms that has recently travelled to Wuhan, China,” read the Lakeridge Health FAQ page.