At first, no one expected the Coronavirus to spread as far as it did, now affecting people in over 120 countries. The virus has sparked a lot of questions. How serious is this virus? Has it come to Canada? How can I avoid contracting and spreading the virus? What will Camp Tournesol be doing to ensure a safe and hygienic environment? In this blog, we will answer all of these burning questions, which will reassure parents that their kids will be safe at our camps!
What Is The Coronavirus and COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause symptoms ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS, SARS, and COVID-19. COVID-19 was a previously unknown strain of the coronavirus before the infectious disease was discovered after an outbreak in Wuhan, China this past December. As of March 12th, it has now spread across the world, affecting over 125,000 people.
COVID-19 is spread when small particles from the nose or mouth of an infected person are expelled through coughs or exhaling. These particles land on other people and infect them that way, or the particles land on objects and surfaces that are then touched by others who then touch their faces to get infected.
While people have begun passing away due to the virus, it is exponentially more likely to make a full recovery from COVID-19. A vast majority of people affected by the virus experience mild symptoms which don’t require any kind of hospital stay. The virus has also shown itself to be far more dangerous for elderly individuals as well as those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases.
What’s The Situation in Canada? Ontario?
According to the Canadian government’s official website–which you can visit here, and which is a great resource to stay up to date with the latest developments–we first began seeing occurrences on January 15th, with the number of cases growing past 100 by March 11th. There have been 59 cases in Ontario specifically as of the morning of March 11th, none of which have resulted in serious cases. Most of those infected in Ontario are now in self-isolation, with five having since made full recoveries. The majority of cases in Ontario occurred in Toronto and its surrounding areas such as Hamilton and York region. The Ontario government has also publicly told it’s citizens that they should continue to be vigilant as the number of cases grows.
What Can I Do To Keep Me And My Family Safe?
There are many simple measures you can take to ensure both you and your family’s safety. We’ve broken down our suggestions (which come directly from the World Health Organization) into two categories: measures for everyone and measures for recent travellers.
Measures for Everyone
- CLEAN YOUR HANDS. We cannot stress this enough. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with either an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. This helps to kill viruses that may be on your hands and stop you from spreading it to yourself and others.
- DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE. This will be tough for people who regularly catch themselves touching their face or chewing on their nails, but it’s very important. Your hands are touching surfaces all day long and there’s no way to know what viruses are living on those surfaces. Once your hand has picked up the virus, it’s easy for the virus to enter your body if you’re always touching your face and mouth.
- If you see someone coughing or sneezing, make sure to keep at least a metre distance from them. When someone is wheezing like that, they’re spraying small droplets that may contain the virus. If you’re closer than a metre you can end up breathing in those droplets which may include the COVID-19 virus.
- Make sure you and your family are practicing good respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with your ELBOW, not your hand, or a tissue when you cough or sneeze then dispose of the tissue right away.
- DON’T HOARD MASKS. The only people who should be wearing masks are those who are infected with COVID-19 or looking after someone with the virus. The WHO states that if you are not in either of these camps, you are wasting masks. There is a huge shortage of masks right now, which are essential for those with the virus as well as health care professionals treating the infected.
- Self-isolate and stay home if you feel unwell. Fever, cough, or difficulty breathing are all warning signs. If you start experiencing any of these, seek medical attention and call in advance.
- Follow the directions of your local health authority as they will have the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation in your area. Also, avoid travelling in general if you’re over 65 or have a pre-existing condition.
Measures for Recent Travellers (Travelled in Last 14 Days)
- Follow all of the above measures.
- Self-isolate for a few days after returning if you don’t feel well, even if it’s just a mild headache or fever or slightly runny nose.
- Wear a mask if you really need to get someone to bring you supplies so you don’t infect others. Avoiding contact with others helps protect the community from further spread, while limiting visits to medical facilities helps those places operate more effectively.
What Measures Will Camp Tournesol Take?
Looking towards the summer, you may be wondering what Camp Tournesol will do to help keep our campers safe and happy? We do not take the COVID-19 virus lightly whatsoever, and to that end, we have created several procedures for this upcoming camp season to ensure everyone at Camp Tournesol stays healthy and happy throughout the summer!
Handwashing and Sanitizing
- On Monday morning all kids will be taught the correct handwashing procedures.
- Hand washing or sanitizing breaks after every single activity.
- Hand washing to be emphasized before and after snack and lunch and before and after the use of the washroom.
- Hand Sanitizer available in every room.
Disinfecting Surfaces and Materials
- Use an EPA approved disinfectant, before and after use of any surface such as tables, desks, etc.
- Use an EPA approved disinfectant, before and after use of any materials and equipment such as balls, pencils, board games etc.
To Limit Spread of Germs
- On Monday morning all kids will be taught the proper way to cover their cough: with the inside of the elbow.
- Kids will be instructed to not touch their faces, if they do so they will need to wash or sanitize their hands again.
- Limit the games where campers are required to touch each other.
Procedures for Maintaining a Safe Environment at Camp
- Children are asked to not come to camp if they had a fever in the last 24 hours
- If a child seems sluggish or is complaining that he does not feel well, we will take his temperature
- If a child has a temperature higher than 98.9°F or 37.9°C, they will be sent home and asked not to return until 24 hours after they record a temperature of under 38.0°C or 99.0°F
- Carefully monitor campers who display other symptoms such as coughing and shortage of breath. Notify parents if these symptoms persist for more than 20 minutes
Moving forward we will be closely monitoring any and all updates on the COVID-19 virus in Canada and specifically in Ontario, which we suggest everyone else does as well. We will continue to inform parents on any evolving updates regarding the virus and our procedures to deal with it. At least 30 days before we open our doors for camp this summer we will also be issuing a more detailed statement on the public health situation as well as our updated and confirmed procedures for our 2020 day and overnight summer camps!