Washing your hands frequently and staying home when you’re feeling ill are far more effective than face masks in controlling the spread of a virus. (File photo)

Interior Health updates North Okanagan-Shuswap parents on coronavirus

COVID-19 can cause mild to severe symptoms and be difficult to recognize

School District 83 has received updated recommendations on how to best manage potential cases of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.

The highest number of infections continues to be reported from Hubei province, China, according to a statement provided to the school district by Karin Goodison, a medical health officer with Interior Health. And while there have been cases of COVID-19 in B.C., the risk to British Columbians remains low.

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As health-care providers’ knowledge of the virus grows, the statement continues, adjustments to public health recommendations will be made.

It is now known that COVID-19 can cause mild to severe symptoms that may be difficult to recognize. Therefore, several recommendations have been made to parents.

  • Students returning from Hubei province should consider staying home for 14 days after they leave Hubei and should monitor themselves for symptoms like fever or cough.
  • Students who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should consider staying home for 14 days after their last encounter.
  • Students who have been in other parts of China, outside Hubei province, should monitor themselves daily for symptoms like fever or cough for 14 days.

Those who develop symptoms should stay home and call their health care provider or 811 to discuss any need for assessment and testing.

The statement added it is not necessary to cancel school events, outings or field trips to public locations.

According to the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, it isn’t necessary for a healthy child who is returning from an affected area of China to wear a mask to school.

“Wearing masks in public, with the goal of preventing the spread of illness, can be a way some communities show respect for others,” Henry wrote. “While we do not recommend wearing masks for healthy children, it is important that any children who do wear masks are treated with respect and not fear.”

Methods for reducing the risk of colds and the flu also apply for reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19: frequent handwashing and avoiding touching the face, eyes and mouth.

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