Canadians trapped in Wuhan, the city where the novel coronavirus outbreak began, are preparing to fly home. How is the region preparing for any possible cases?

Region of Waterloo Public Health officials say there's a containment strategy in place.

At the federal level, they say screening is being done at airports, and the 250 Canadians who are flying back from the affected areas will be quarantined—separately—for two weeks.

The government of Ontario has also issued a containment protocol: if someone presents themselves with respiratory symptoms and indicate they've recently been to the impacted area in China, the health practitioner must immediately call Public Health.

At that point, a test is done and the person is contained.

"If they are able to go home, we would require that they stay isolated for 14 days, or until we get their test results," says Manager of Infection Diseases Kristy Wright.

"So the idea is to contain any potential infection that person may be carrying."

There have been three confirmed cases of coronavirus in Ontario: two in Toronto and one in London.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website has up-to-date test results from around the province, including how many have come back negative and how many test results are pending.

Keeping yourself protected

Despite another presumptive case of the virus in British Columbia being announced on Tuesday, health officials stress that the risk at home remains low.

They say these are the best ways to protect yourself:

  • wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick;
  • stay home if you feel sick;
  • cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue; and
  • clean and disinfect objects that are touched frequently.

Public Health also says that face masks aren't recommended for the general public.

The two exceptions are for people experiencing symptoms or for those who have been advised to wear one by a healthcare provider.