How London, Ont. is preparing for novel coronavirus

City officials say they are following the direction of the Middlesex-London Health Unit amid efforts to prevent an outbreak. Kevan D. Ashworth / The Canadian Press

As the world grapples with the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, London, Ont. is preparing for any potential impact in the city.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were zero active cases reported in the city. London previously had a case involving a Western University student in her 20s.

READ MORE: Woman in her 20s confirmed as 3rd case of coronavirus in Ontario

However, the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU) is working to monitor any potential activity in the region.

A day after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic, the MLHU says the declaration doesn’t change its day-to-day operations.

“We’ve been ramping up and preparing for this possibility for the last month and more and we continue to do that,” said Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health.

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“It reminds us, though, the importance of being prepared and gives us an opportunity to really emphasize some of the really simple steps people can take to protect themselves and the community.”


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Summers called those simple steps the “bread and butter” of public health.

“All the boring stuff: wash your hands regularly; if you’re sick, stay at home; if you’ve got a cough, cough into your sleeve; and if you can try, avoid touching your face as comically hard as that can be.”

READ MORE: How to protect seniors home residents during coronavirus outbreak

Jenn Killing, vice president of quality, innovation and operations for PeopleCare — the parent company of London’s Oakcrossing —  said that long-term care homes are taking direction from the province.

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“We’ve had a visitors log since the SARS days and everyone always does sign in and out of the building. We were instructed earlier this week to begin active screening of all our staff, students, volunteers, visitors, and our residents moving in or returning from hospital or other places,” she explained.

“Now we are proactively checking for symptoms and asking about recent travel history. Always our message has been [that] if you are ill please do not come to work and please do not visit the home.”

Killing added that officials are keeping in daily contact with the province.

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