The Rural Municipality of West St. Paul is
committed to providing residents with timely and relevant information relating
to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to break down some of the terms you
have been hearing in the media:
What is Social Distancing?
Social distancing has been defined by the Government of Canada as approaches taken to minimize close contact with others in the community. Social distancing includes quarantine and self-isolation at the individual level as well as other community based approaches such as avoiding crowding, school closures, workplace measures and closures, public/mass gathering cancellations.
It is crucial that individuals follow quarantine and self-isolation recommendations properly to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to others in the home or in the community.
- Voluntary avoidance of crowded places is recommended for a person who is asymptomatic and who is considered to have had a medium risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. This involves avoiding crowded public spaces and places where rapid self-isolation upon onset of symptoms may not be feasible. Examples of these settings include mass gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events; not including hospitals (for HCWs) and schools.
- Protective self-separation is recommended for a person who is at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g., older adults, those with chronic underlying medical conditions or immunocompromised) when the virus is circulating in their community.
- Isolation is recommended for a symptomatic individual that is suspected of having, or known to have, COVID-19. They are directed by the local Health Authority to isolate themselves in the home-setting and avoid contact with others until the local Health Authority has advised that they are no longer considered contagious. Isolation includes:
- Not going out of the home setting. This includes school, work, or other public areas
- Not using public transportation (e.g. buses, subways, taxis)
- Identifying a "buddy" to check on and do errands for each another, especially for those who live alone or at high risk for developing complications.
- Having supplies delivered home instead of running errands (supplies should be left on the front door or at least a 2 metre distance maintained between people)
- If leaving the home setting cannot be avoided (e.g. to go to a medical appointment), wear a mask (if not available, cover mouth and nose with tissues) and maintain a 2 metre distance from others. The health care facility should be informed in advance that the person may be infectious.
- Voluntary home quarantine ("self-isolation") is recommended for an asymptomatic person, when they have a high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, (i.e., through close contact with a symptomatic person or their body fluids). They are asked to self- isolate in the home-setting to avoid contact with others in order to prevent transmission of the virus at the earliest stage of illness (i.e., should they develop COVID-19).
- Mandatory quarantine is the imposed separation or restriction of movement of individuals, groups or communities, for a defined period of time and in a location determined by the PHA. As local circumstances will vary across Canada and within regions, quarantine may be used to contain, delay or mitigate COVID-19, although its effectiveness once there is widespread community transmission is unknown. An individual in mandatory quarantine is asymptomatic but may have been exposed to the virus causing COVID-19. A decision to implement mandatory quarantine requires careful consideration of the safety of the individual/group/community, the anticipated effectiveness, feasibility and implications.
More information on Community-based measures
to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/public-health-measures-mitigate-covid-19.html#cbm
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, all Manitobans have a role to play in slowing its spread and minimizing its impact on the health-care system and in communities. Social distancing strategies include:
- cancelling or postponing any large-scale events with more than 250 attendees;
- minimizing prolonged (more than 10 minutes), close (less than two metres) contact between other individuals in public;
- avoiding greetings that involve touching such as handshakes;
- disinfecting frequently used surfaces;
- following public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have travelled or have been exposed to someone ill with the virus; and
- considering avoiding travel, crowded places and events, especially if you are at higher risk.
Alternatively, people can use an alcohol-based hand cleanser if their hands are not visibly dirty. People should also cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough or sneeze into their sleeve.
More information about the coronavirus can be found at https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/coronavirus/