Two Ontarians In Hospital, But Still More Risk From Flu Than Coronavirus in Simcoe County

Despite Two Confirmed Cases, Local Health Unit Says Risk is Low

One of Simcoe County’s head healthcare professionals says there is more risk of locals getting the flu than contracting a deadly virus likened to SARS, despite several cases cropping up in Ontario

“Everyday influenza is something I think more of our population should be more worried about right now than this coronavirus,” said Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Dr. Lee adds that, coronavirus or not, washing your hands is a great defense against illness.

Dr. Lee added that there were some hard lessons learned when SARS struck Canada. “We are manyfold better prepared for this kind of respiratory illness. SARS was really a wake-up call for everyone.”

“Our healthcare workers are taking the kind of precautions we would normally take with respiratory illness,” added Lee. “They will be the same kind of precaution that will protect our patients and healthcare workers from not only the flu but also coronavirus if it ever arrives on our doorstep.”

Healthcare professionals have a better understanding today of when diseases arrive on doorsteps, thanks to lessons learned in battling SARS. “The main difference between SARS and this coronavirus, is that we have about a three-month head start now, versus the time entering SARS,” said Dr. Lee, “There’s been a lot more international cooperation on surveillance of such diseases, and therefore we are way ahead in tracking the disease and understanding the disease.”

For those concerned about parcels other mail coming from China, Dr. Lee added that the virus cannot survive on neutral surfaces long enough to survive the trip and to pose a risk.

For more information on influenza or getting the flu shot, visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit website.