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MESSAGE TO PARENTS – 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS Dear Parents and Guardians, As you have probably heard in the media, earlier this month a novel (new) coronavirus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia, originating in Wuhan, China. This virus is now known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV. The outbreak of this virus has been evolving rapidly; however most cases are in China with some cases reported in other countries including Thailand, Japan, South Korea, UK, USA and Canada. The two confirmed cases in Canada are in Toronto, Ontario. Both individuals had recently travelled to Wuhan, China where this virus originated and are currently in isolation. It is important to note that there are no reported cases in Halton Region. At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with this new Coronavirus as low for Canada. I am writing to you today to share information on the symptoms and prevention of respiratory viruses including the new Coronavirus. What is coronavirus? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that commonly cause mild to moderate respiratory symptoms in humans. Most people with common human coronavirus illness (i.e. the common cold) will recover on their own. However, some coronaviruses have been known to cause severe illness. Some human coronaviruses spread easily between people, while others do not. It is not yet fully understood how easily the 2019-nCoV spreads between people, but person-to-person spread has been limited to date. What Are the Symptoms of 2019-nCoV? Symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection include: fever, cough, and breathing difficulties, very similar to influenza (flu) symptoms. The risk of severe disease may be higher in the elderly and in people with weakened immune systems. If you or a household member has traveled to Wuhan, China recently and have developed these symptoms, you should avoid contact with others and call Halton Region Public Health at 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866. Anyone with severe illness should seek immediate medical attention.

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