Developments regarding COVID-19
We believe SUN members need to be informed of developments regarding COVID-19. Below are updates from local, provincial and national authorities that will impact SUN members, their workplaces and their daily lives.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is also posting updates to their website: saskatchewan.ca/covid19
Please check back frequently, as information will be shared here as it becomes available.
- Nine new cases of COVID-19 have been announced in Saskatchewan, bringing the province's total number of cases to 104.
- Six people are hospitalized:
- One inpatient in the North region;
- Three are hospitalized in Regina, including two inpatient hospitalization and one ICU hospitalization; and,
- Two hospitalized in Saskatoon: one inpatient and one ICU hospitalization.
- Six cases are the result of community transmission -- the sixth was reported March 27 in the Central region.
- Of the 104 cases:
- Four are individuals 19 years of age and younger;
- Forty-nine cases fall into the 20-44 age range; and,
- Eighteen cases are in the 65-plus age range.
- Three people have recovered from the virus.
- So far, 7580 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Saskatchewan.
- Six people are hospitalized:
- As of 11 a.m. EST, there are 4018 confirmed and 25 probable cases of COVID-19 in Canada. Thirty-nine people have died of the disease.
- The Saskatchewan Healthcare Employees' Pension Plan (SHEPP) posted an update from the CEO, stating the pension plan is well-positioned to withstand the current turbulent times. Retired members will continue to receive their monthly payments on time. You can read more here.
- Childcare spaces for essential workers have been created in communities across Saskatchewan. You can see each location and the number of spaces in the chart below. For more information, please visit the Government of Saskatchewan website.
Childcare Spaces in Saskatchewan
|School Division||School Name||City||Operating Name||Total Spaces|
|Chinook SD 211||Swift Current Comprehensive High School||SWIFT CURRENT||Milestones Early Learning||23|
|Chinook SD 211/Holy Trinity RCS SD 22||Ecole Centennial School/All Saints Catholic School||SWIFT CURRENT||Natural Wonders SK. Valley||51|
|Conseil des écoles fransaskoises SD 310||Ecole du parc||REGINA||Centre educatif a la petite enfance de l'ecole du parc||38|
|Good Spirit SD 204||Yorkton Regional High School||YORKTON||Kid's Zone and CC Teen-Community||14|
|Good Spirit SD 204||Yorkton Regional High School||YORKTON||Kid's Zone EL and CC Facility Inc.||23|
|Living Sky SD 202||North Battleford Comprehensive||NORTH BATTLEFORD||First Steps: Student Child Care Centre||24|
|North East SD 200||Central Park Elementary School||NIPAWIN||Central Park Early Learning Centre||14|
|North East SD 200||Hudson Bay Community School||HUDSON BAY||Hudson Bay Early Learning Centre||36|
|North East SD 200||Melfort & Unit Comprehensive Collegiate||MELFORT||Melfort Daycare Co-operative 2nd Site||32|
|North East SD 200||Porcupine Plain Composite High School||PORCUPINE PLAIN||Quilly Willy Early Learning and Childcare Centre||30|
|Northern Lights SD 113||Churchill Community High School||LA RONGE||La Ronge Child Care Co-operative Churchill||41|
|Northern Lights SD 113||Minahik Waskahigan School||PINEHOUSE LAKE||Magloire Teen Infant Care Centre||17|
|Prairie South SD 210||Westmount School||MOOSE JAW||YMCA Create N Learn||30|
|Prairie South SD 210||Albert E. Peacock Collegiate||MOOSE JAW||YMCA Grow N Learn||19|
|Prairie Spirit SD 206||Stobart Elementary Communtiy School||DUCKLAKE||Little Ducklings Child Care Center||51|
|Prairie Spirit SD 206/St. Paul's RCS SD 20||Traditions Elementary/Holy Trinity Catholic School - Warman||WARMAN||Hope's Home Warman||90|
|Prairie Spirit SD 206/St. Paul's RCS SD 20||Lake Vista Public School/Ecole Holy Mary Catholic School - Martensville||MARTENSVILLE||YMCA Child Development Centre Martensville||90|
|Prairie Valley SD 208||Emerald Ridge Elementary School||WHITE CITY||Emerald Ridge Child Care||50|
|Prairie Valley SD 208||Bert Fox Community High School||FORT QU'APPELLE||Sunshine Learning Infant and Toddler Center||17|
|Prairie Valley SD 208||Lumsden Elementary School||LUMSDEN||Y.W.C.A. Lumsden Childcare Centre||51|
|Prince Albert RCS SD 6||Ecole St. Anne School||PRINCE ALBERT||Childrens Choice - St. Anne Early Learning Centre||44|
|Prince Albert RCS SD 6||St. Michael Community School||PRINCE ALBERT||Childrens Choice - St. Michael||58|
|Prince Albert RCS SD 6||St. Francis School||PRINCE ALBERT||Childrens Choice St Francis Child Development Centre||50|
|Regina RCSSD 81||St. Timothy School||REGINA||Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Centre-Argyle||30|
|Regina RCSSD 81||Sacred Heart Community School||REGINA||Prairie Lily Early Learning Centre - Sacred Heart||51|
|Regina SD 4/Regina RCSSD 81||Ecole Wascana Plains School/École St. Elizabeth School||REGINA||First Years Learning Centre Inc. - Greens||90|
|Regina SD 4/Regina RCSSD 81||Plainsview School/St. Nicholas School||REGINA||Hope's Home Rosewood||90|
|Regina SD 4/Regina RCSSD 81||Ecole Harbour Landing School/St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School||REGINA||YMCA Harbour Landing Child Care Centre||90|
|Regina SD 4||Davin School||REGINA||Dragon's Den Child Care Inc., The||19|
|Regina SD 4||Gladys McDonald School||REGINA||Ehrlo Early Learning Centre - Gladys McDonald||30|
|Regina SD 4||Imperial Community School||REGINA||Ehrlo Early Learning Centre - Imperial||30|
|Regina SD 4||Ruth Pawson School||REGINA||Ehrlo Early Learning Centre - Ruth Pawson||30|
|Regina SD 4||W.F. Ready School||REGINA||Ehrlo Early Learning Centre - W.F.Ready||48|
|Regina SD 4||Seven Stones Community School||REGINA||Seven Stones Child Care||51|
|Regina SD 4||Connaught Community School||REGINA||Wise Owl Childcare Inc.||51|
|Regina SD 4||Ecole Massey School||REGINA||YMCA South Child Care Centre, Massey||20|
|Regina SD 4||Marion McVeety School||REGINA||YMCA South Child Care Centre, McVeety||45|
|Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division||Kinistino School||KINISTINO||Play and Share Child Care Centre||33|
|Saskatoon SD 13||Alvin Buckwold School||SASKATOON||Eastview Centre For Early Learning Co-operative||50|
|Saskatoon SD 13||Caroline Robins School||SASKATOON||Oak Trees and Acorns Caroline Robins||50|
|Saskatoon SD 13||Brevoort Park School||SASKATOON||Parents' Child Dev Co-op - Brevoort Park||55|
|Saskatoon SD 13||Fairhaven School||SASKATOON||Preston Early Learning Centre - Fairhaven||45|
|Saskatoon SD 13||Holliston School||SASKATOON||Preston Early Learning Centre - School Age||21|
|Saskatoon SD 13||Queen Elizabeth School||SASKATOON||Saskatoon Open Door Society Child Care - Queen Elizabeth||40|
|Saskatoon SD 13/St. Paul's RCS SD 20||Colette Bourgonje School/St. Thérèse of Lisieux Catholic School||SASKATOON||CFS Saskatoon Early Learning and Family Centre - Rosewood||90|
|Saskatoon SD 13/St. Paul's RCS SD 20||Sylvia Fedoruk School/St. Nicholas Catholic School||SASKATOON||Evergreen Early Learning Centre||90|
|Saskatoon SD 13/St. Paul's RCS SD 20||Willowgrove Public School/Holy Family Catholic School||SASKATOON||Preston Early Learning Centre - Holy Family - Willowgrove Child Care Centre||55|
|Saskatoon SD 13/St. Paul's RCS SD 20||Chief Whitecap School/St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School||SASKATOON||Preston Early Learning Centre - Stonebridge||90|
|South East Cornerstone SD 209||Weyburn Comprehensive School||WEYBURN||Sunrise Early Learning and Teen Parent Support Centre Inc.||50|
|St. Paul's RCS SD 20||E.D. Feehan Catholic High School||SASKATOON||CFS Saskatoon Early Learning and Family Center - E.D. Feehan||47|
|St. Paul's RCS SD 20||St. Mary Community School||SASKATOON||Keyano Oma Early Learning Centre||50|
UPDATE: March 26, 2020
- As of March 26, 2020, at 11 a.m. EST there are 3555 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 24 probable cases. Thirty-five people have died from the virus.
- Saskatchewan has nine new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 95 cases.
- Three people have recovered from the virus.
- Five people have been hospitalized (three in Regina, one in ICU; two in Saskatchewan, one in ICU).
- Five cases have resulted from community transmission (one new case reported overnight in the northern region).
- Of the 95 cases, the demographics break down as follows:
- Four cases in individuals under the age of 20.
- Forty-five cases in individuals between the ages of 20 and 44.
- Thirty-two cases in individuals between the ages of 45 and 64.
- Fourteen cases in individuals age 65 and over.
- So far, 6915 COVID-19 tests have been performed by the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.
UPDATE: March 25, 2020
- As of March 25, 2020, there are 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, bringing the provincial total to 86 confirmed cases.
- Four cases are the result of community transmission.
- Four people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
- Four cases are individuals 19-years-old and younger. Sixty-nine cases are individuals between the ages of 20 and 64. Thirteen cases are individuals age 65 and older.
- To date, 6270 tests for COVID-19 have been performed at the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory.
- The Ministry of Health is working with licensing bodies, including the SRNA, to recruit recently retired health professionals, including registered nurses, to assist with the provincial COVID-19 response.
- Public and private gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people as of March 26, 2020. The province has also created a list of allowable business services, which can be viewed here.
- The Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada are committing $28 million to help Saskatoon researchers find a vaccine for COVID-19. Read the government press release here.
- As of March 25 at 6 p.m. EST, there are 3385 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 24 probable cases. Thirty-five people have died from the virus.
UPDATE: March 24, 2020
- As of March 24 at 6 p.m. EST, in Canada there are 1959 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 833 probable cases of COVID-19. Currently, 27 COVID-19-related deaths have occured.
- Six new cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in Saskatchewan, bringing the provincial total to 72 confirmed cases. Of the 72 cases, two people are between the ages of 0 and 19, 59 people are between the ages of 20 and 64, and 11 people are age 65 and older.
- The SHA says four of Saskatchewan's COVID-19 cases do not have a clear exposure cause, and that expanded testing is coming.
- Measures are being taken to help meet public demand, including:
- slowdown of non-essential services to increase bed availability, preserve supplies and support a labour spool for reallocation.
- prepare to create dedicated spaces to cohort COVID-19 patients within facilities.
- prepare to create COVID-19-designated hospitals, where required.
- prepare to create community-based acute care capacity where required, like field hospitals in school gyms, community centres, etc.
- Measures are being taken to help meet public demand, including:
- The Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, a taxable benefit of $2000 a month for four months. The Benefit will be accessible through a web portable starting early in April. The Benefit is for:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and who do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is not enough work and/or their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
- Read more here.
UPDATE: March 23, 2020
- The Saskatchewan Health Authority has communicated with SUN members that all healthcare physicians, employees, students and volunteers will be required to self-isolate for 14 days after international travel. The update outlines the dates employees can return to work. You can read the full policy here.
- Fourteen new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Saskatchewan, bringing the total number of cases to 66. The new cases are believed to be travel-related. Two of the cases are individuals between the ages of 5 and 19, the rest are adults.
- As of March 23, 2020, at 11 a.m. EST, there were 1432 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 42 probable cases. Twenty people have died because of the virus.
UPDATE: March 22, 2020
- As of March 22, there are eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan, bringing the province's total number of reported cases to 52. One of the cases is a person in their late teens, and the rest are adults.
- As of the evening of March 22, there were 1430 cases of COVID-19 in Canada. Twenty deaths have been caused by the virus.
Week of March 15-21
UPDATE: March 21, 2020
- The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) is now able to do confirmatory testing for COVID-19. The province will no longer be reporting on presumptive cases, as new tests will be confirmed much quicker. The lab is processing about 456 COVID-19 tests per day.
- Saskatchewan has 17 new positive cases and one presumptive positive case, bringing the provincial totals to 44 cases: 25 confirmed and 19 presumptive.
- One person younger than 20 has COVID-19 -- this case is under investigation. The rest of the cases are people 20 years of age and older. Sixty-five per cent of cases are male, while 35 per cent are female.
- As of this morning, 1,048 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Canada, and there are 33 probable cases. Thirteen people have died from COVID-19.
- SUN is in conversation with the Saskatchewan Health Authority seeking clarification on the SHA's policy that excludes some healthcare providers from self-isolating following international travel. Read more here.
UPDATE: March 20, 2020
- Saskatchewan has six new presumptive cases of COVID-19. This brings the province's total to 26 cases: eight confirmed positive, and 18 presumptive. Twenty-four of the 26 cases are well enough to self-isolate at home. Two individuals are currently in hospital but not for respiratory illness.
- Self-isolation is now mandatory for individuals who have travelled in the last 14 days. Failure or refusal to self-isolate is now punishable by law.
- Saskatchewan announces additional measures to protect residents, effective immediately, including:
- Public gatherings of more than 25 people in one room are prohibited except when a distance of two metres can be maintained between people.
- Bars, nightclubs, lounges and similar facilities are closed, effective immediately.
- In-person classes at all primary and secondary educational institutions in both public and private settings are suspended.
- Visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes are restricted to family visiting for compassionate reasons.
- Effective March 23:
- Restaurants and similar establishments must close except for take-out or food delivery options.
- All recreational and entertainment facilities must close.
- Personal service facilities, including hair salons, tattooists, acupuncturists, etc. must close.
- Closure of all dental, optometrist, chiropractic, registered massage therapy and podiatry clinics except for non-elective procedures.
- Daycare facilities are restricted to a maximum of eight children per room.
- Daycare facilities co-located with long-term care or personal care homes must use a private entrance, and no interaction can take place between residents and daycare children.
- Saskatchewan Self-Isolation Support Program announced
- The program provides $450/week for two weeks for Saskatchewan residents not already covered by federal financial support programs. Click here to read more information about programs introduced for Saskatchewan businesses and employees.
- A six-month moratorium on student loan repayments has been put in place.
- Changes have been made to the Employment Standard regulations, including:
- Businesses will not have to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice when they lay-off staff if it is for a period of 12 weeks or less in a 16-week period.
- If an employer lays off employees periodically for a total of more than 12 weeks in a 16-week period, the employees are considered to be terminated and are entitled to pay instead of notice as outlined in the Act. This will be calculated from the date on which the employee was laid off.
- The Government of Saskatchewan is repurposing childcare facilities in schools to provide childcare services for healthcare professionals who are delivering services related to the COVID-19 pandemic response. This service begins on Monday, March 23, 2020.
- Priority in these spaces will be given to infant, toddler, preschool or school-age children.
- Eligible emergency and pandemic response personnel include employees working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community and primary health, home care, personal care homes, labs, pharmacies, COVID-19 assessment and testing sites, scheduling departments and payroll departments, including nurses, physicians and physician clinic staff, emergency medical services staff and other staff essential to the operation of these facilities/departments.
- An application form and information about the childcare process can be found here: www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus.
UPDATE: March 19, 2020
- Saskatchewan confirms four new presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 20: 12 presumptive cases, eight confirmed cases. Nineteen of the 20 cases are well enough to self-isolate at home.
- Allan Woo, President of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, has tested positive for COVID-19.
UPDATE: March 18, 2020
- Saskatchewan declares State of Emergency in response to COVID-19. New measures have also been announced, including:
- Public gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.
- All restaurants, bars and venues must limit seating 50 per cent of capacity or a maximum of 50 people. Retail and grocery spaces are expected to maintain a one-to-two-metre separation of people.
- All gyms, fitness centres, casinos and bingo halls are ordered closed.
- Licensed restaurants and taverns can sell alcohol as an offsale.
- All Crown utilities will begin bill-deferral programs allowing zero-interest bill deferral for up to six months.
- All Government of Saskatchewan ministries, agencies and Crown corporations will implement a phased-in work-from-home policy effective Monday, March 23. All non-essential employees able to work from home should do so immediately.
- The SHA is discontinuing all non-urgent and elective surgeries, procedures and diagnostics as of March 23.
- Emergent and urgent care will continue to be provided to patients who need it.
- Saskatchewan confirms eight new presumptive cases of COVID-19, bringing province's total to 16 cases.
- SUN staff will be working remotely to support SUN members beginning at 0800 on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Read more about this decision here.
- The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) is calling on the federal public health agency to provide better protection of healthcare workers on the front line of COVID-19. By clicking here you can send an email showing your support.
UPDATE: March 17, 2020
- The Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan has issued a Public Health Order to help contain the spread of COVID-19. This order remains in effect until the Chief Medical Health Officer decides COVID-19 no longer poses a public health threat.
- Classes in elementary and secondary schools are suspended indefinitely beginning Friday, March 20, 2020.
- Public gatherings of more than 250 people in a single room are prohibited (except in settings with multiple rooms and/or retail locations).
- Public gatherings of more than 50 people with attendees who have travelled internationally in the previous 14 days are prohibited.
- Visitors to long-term care homes, hospitals, personal care homes and group homes are restricted to family visiting for compassionate reasons.
- The Government of Saskatchewan has amended the Saskatchewan Employment Act (retroactive to March 6, 2020) to allow access to unpaid job-protected leave during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amendments include:
- Employee no longer needs 13 consecutive weeks of employment with the employer before accessing sick leave.
- No need for a doctor's note.
- New unpaid public health emergency leave, accessible in a public health emergency.
- Saskatchewan confirms 8th presumptive case of COVID-19.
UPDATE: March 16, 2020
- SUN shifts its internal resources to support members through COVID-19 pandemic.
- The SUN Board of Directors has authorized a shift in our resources so we are able to support SUN members to the best of our ability as they advocate for patients and for their own health and safety. The business of the union will continue; however, we will be focusing on priority and urgent matters related to COVID-19. With the recent Visitation Policy implemented by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), meetings with members and/or the Employer will be held virtually and not face-to-face. All other non-urgent meetings will be rescheduled. Read more here.
UPDATE: March 15, 2020
- The SHA is implementing visitor restrictions at all SHA-operated hospitals, clinics, community and continuing care facilities.
- For patients who are in critical or high acuity units in hospitals, visitors are restricted to one at a time, except in extenuating circumstances.
- All gatherings in SHA-operated facilities are on hold until further notice.
- Volunteer services by community members age 65+ are suspended.
- Visitors are asked to delay their visits if:
- Respiratory or gastric symptoms like cold symptoms and/or diarrhea/vomiting.
- Have travelled outside Saskatchewan within the last 14 days or have flu-like symptoms.
- The Government of Saskatchewan has announced restrictions on healthcare professionals who have travelled to areas affected by COVID-19. These restrictions come into effect on Monday, March 16, 2020. These restrictions are:
- Travel to other provinces:
- If you have travelled to other provinces and returned to Saskatchewan before or after March 16 and are not experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, are not required to self-isolate, have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, then you are able to work your regularly scheduled shifts.
- Travel outside Canada:
- If you have travelled internationally and returned to Saskatchewan before or after March 16 and are not experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms, are not required to self-isolate, have not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, then you are able to work your regularly scheduled shifts.
- If you return to Saskatchewan from anywhere outside Canada on or after March 16, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- If you have returned to Saskatchewan from a high-risk area (Hubei-China, Italy or Iran) between March 2-16, contact your local OH&S office.
- More information on these restrictions can be found on the Government of Saskatchewan website.
- Travel to other provinces:
Week of March 8-14
UPDATE: March 13, 2020
- SUN President Tracy Zambory today sent Scott Livingstone, the Chief Executive Officer of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, an open letter recommending the adoption of the precautionary principle and N-95 masks in the testing of potential COVID-19 cases. Read it here.
- SUN is cancelling or postponing all events scheduled to take place from March 13, 2020 to June 30, 2020. This includes SUN's Annual Meeting. Read more about this decision here.
UPDATE: March 12, 2020
- SUN takes the position that the use of N-95 respirator masks are a vital piece of personal protective equipment and should be used when testing potential COVID-19. See the video and read the post here.
What is COVID-19?
Q: What is COVID-19
A: Coronaviruses are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections.
COVID-19, short for "coronavirus disease 2019," is the official name given by the World Health Organization to the disease caused by this newly identified coronavirus.
Q: How is it spread?
A: Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze;
- close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands; and,
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: The initial symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to the seasonal flu and even the common cold so you may not know whether you are infected.
The symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing
For most people (approximately 80%), COVID-19 will be a mild infection.
Not everyone who is infected with COVID-19 has symptoms and some people will only exhibit very minor symptoms.
IMPORTANT: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Q: Who is at highest risk for getting very sick from COVID-19?
A: Older people (60+ years) and those with underlying medical problems like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness.
Q: How long is it between when a person is exposed to the virus and when they start showing symptoms?
A: Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. This is the longest known infectious period for this disease. On average, the incubation period is about five days.
Q: What is the treatment for COVID-19?
A: There is currently no specific treatment for coronavirus. Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses. Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness. You'll need to stay in isolation away from other people until you have recovered.
Q: What do I do if I think I have COVID-19?
A: If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.
- Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
- Avoid public areas: Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
- Avoid public transportation: Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
If you experience difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain or high fever, immediately call HealthLine 811 for assessment and direction.
Terms you'll hear in the media
These terms may regularly appear in media and other resources you access about COVID-19. Here’s what they mean:
community spread (community transmission): is said to have occurred when people have been infected without any knowledge of contact with someone who has the same infection
contact tracing: a process that begins with identifying everyone a person diagnosed with a given illness (in this case COVID-19) has been in contact with since they became contagious. The contacts are notified that they are at risk, and may include those who share the person's home, as well as people who were in the same place around the same time as the person with COVID-19 — a school, office, restaurant, or doctor's office, for example. Contacts may be quarantined or asked to isolate themselves if they start to experience symptoms, and are more likely to be tested for coronavirus if they begin to experience symptoms.
containment: refers to limiting the spread of an illness. Because no vaccines exist to prevent COVID-19 and no specific therapies exist to treat it, containment is done using public health interventions. These may include identifying and isolating those who are ill, and tracking down anyone they have had contact with and possibly placing them under quarantine.
epidemic: a disease outbreak in a community or region
flattening the curve: refers to the epidemic curve, a statistical chart used to visualize the number of new cases over a given period of time during a disease outbreak. Flattening the curve is shorthand for implementing mitigation strategies to slow things down, so that fewer new cases develop over a longer period of time. This increases the chances that hospitals and other healthcare facilities will be equipped to handle any influx of patients.
incubation period: the period of time between exposure to an infection and when symptoms begin
isolation: the separation of people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick
mitigation: refers to steps taken to limit the impact of an illness. Because no vaccines exist to prevent COVID-19 and no specific therapies exist to treat it, mitigation strategies may include frequent and thorough handwashing, not touching your face, staying away from people who are sick, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects at home, in schools, at work, and in other settings.
pandemic: a disease outbreak affecting large populations or a whole region, country, or continent
presumptive positive test result: a positive test for the virus that causes COVID-19, performed by a local or state health laboratory, is considered "presumptive" until the result is confirmed by the CDC. While awaiting confirmation, people with a presumptive positive test result will be considered to be infected.
quarantine: separates and restricts the movement of people who have a contagious disease, have symptoms that are consistent with the disease, or were exposed to a contagious disease, to see if they become sick
SARS-CoV-2: short for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2 is the official name for the virus responsible for COVID-19.
social distancing: refers to actions taken to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. For an individual, it refers to maintaining enough distance between yourself and another person to reduce the risk of breathing in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In a community, social distancing measures may include limiting or cancelling large gatherings of people.
virus: a virus is the smallest of infectious microbes, smaller than bacteria or fungi. A virus consists of a small piece of genetic material (DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein shell. Viruses cannot survive without a living cell in which to reproduce. Once a virus enters a living cell (the host cell) and takes over a cell's inner workings, the cell cannot carry out its normal life-sustaining tasks. The host cell becomes a virus manufacturing plant, making viral parts that then reassemble into whole viruses and go on to infect other cells. Eventually, the host cell dies.