Health Matters: Cornwall quarantine - Frequently asked questions

129 Canadian passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship were flown to CFB Trenton in the early Friday morning hours, before being transported to Cornwall's NAV Centre, on Friday February 21, 2020 in Cornwall, Ont. Francis Racine/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Network Francis Racine / Francis Racine/Standard-Freeholder

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about the novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-2019.

At that time, I wrote that despite the few cases in Canada – all of which contracted the virus in China – the risk to Canadians was very low.

About two weeks ago the federal government repatriated close to 400 Canadians from the Hubei province of China, for a 14-day quarantine at CFB Trenton. To date, none have tested positive for COVID-2019.

Currently another operation is underway to repatriate Canadian passengers quarantined on a cruise ship off Japan. These passengers flew to Trenton Thursday and were then transported to Cornwall, for a 14-day quarantine at the Nav Centre starting Friday morning.

Federal, provincial and local partners, following the same procedures used in Trenton, have implemented very strict infection control and quarantined processes. As a result, the risk to Nav Center employees/guests, and Cornwall and surrounding area remains unchanged: very low.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions:

Question: Why was the Cornwall Nav Centre selected?

Answer: As there is no more room at the CFB Trenton, the Nav Centre was selected by the federal government, as it can receive a large number of people in emergency situations, like hosting Northern Ontario flood evacuees and asylum seekers.

The secured quarantine area is a separate building connected only via a covered bridge to the rest of the complex. This building which has separate ventilation, is completely blocked off from the rest of the campus.

Question: How were the cruise passengers be transferred to Cornwall and what precautions a will be taken?

Answer: The passengers were assessed for any symptoms before leaving Japan, during their flight and upon arrival in Trenton and before travelling to Cornwall. Only passengers without any symptoms travelled by bus to Cornwall.

Question: How will passengers be quarantined?

Answer: Passengers will be assigned their private hotel room with full amenities, including bathrooms. They will remain in the secured area at all times, restricted from access to all other areas of the Nav Centre.

Under supervision, they will be able to go to an outdoor secure area daily at a specific time but be required to remain two metres from others. They will wear a mask and gloves anytime they leave their room.

Question: What about meals and laundry?

Answer: All meals will be delivered to each passenger’s room to be eaten in their room. The meals will be delivered in disposable carton boxes contain disposable dishes and utensils.

Linens will be changed and washed by a third-party company.

Personal laundry will be washed by the passengers on site and will not leave the quarantine area.

Question: Who will be delivering services to the quarantined passengers?

Answer: Nav Centre employees will not be working in the quarantine area.

Services such as delivering meals and supplies will be done by Canadian Red Cross volunteers. Nurses from the Public Health Agency of Canada will be doing twice-daily health assessment on every passenger. Other operations will be supported by Canadian Armed Forces personnel.

There will also be an on-site medical clinic operated by the Ontario Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) to provide medical and mental health services.

Additionally, a third-party cleaning company will clean and disinfect the rooms and other areas twice daily.

Everyone in contact with the quarantined individuals within the secure area is required to follow infection prevention and control protocols to prevent the spread of disease. These protocols are in place to protect the community, those in quarantine and those who are assisting them

Question: What if a quarantined individual shows symptom of COVID-19 infection?

Answer: Members of the EMAT team will assess and test the patient. If hospital care is needed, ambulance services and area hospitals are prepared to transfer and admit patients safely following all required infection control protocols.

If a passenger tests positive for the COVID-19 and does not require hospital care, he or she will remain in the quarantine site and further measures will be taken to ensure that the infection is confined.

For more information and updates visit eohu.ca/coronavirus.

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