COVID-19 Q&A: Part 7

COVID-19 Q&A: Part 7 | Dr. Ali Ghahary

“I need to go out, but is it safe?”
During COVID-19, we still have lives that we have to live. We need to go to work, to school, get groceries, etcetera. That being said, before going out, it’s also important to carefully assess the risk and make informed choices so that you are not only keeping yourself safe but keeping those around you safe, too. In general, you should always try to avoid closed spaces, crowded spaces and close contact. Risk factors will vary depending on things like the types of controls put in place by the establishment you’re going to, crowd sizes, prolonged exposure, your ability to physically distance, and the use of non-medical masks.

Low-risk examples:

• Grocery and retail shopping (with proper public health measures in place)
• Getting mail or picking up parcels
• Restaurant take-out
• Outdoor spaces (i.e. parks, beaches)

Medium-risk examples:

• Hair salons
• Taxi or rideshare services
• Working in an office
• Schools/daycares
• Movie theatres
• Dining in at restaurants
• Weddings
• Funerals

High-risk examples:

• Bars and nightclubs
• Indoor parties
• Conferences
• Contact with shared equipment
• Public transportation
• Gyms and fitness studios
• Hugging, kissing or shaking hands with others
• Sexual activity
• General close contact with others

“I’ve had a runny nose for a few days. Can I still go out?”
If you think you’re sick – even if your symptoms are mild – you should stay home. While there are many reasons why you might have a runny nose, such as allergies, COVID-19 mimics much of the symptoms associated with the common cold and flu, therefore if you are experiencing any of the known symptoms associated with the virus, it’s important that you self-isolate and avoid public places until your symptoms have subsided. Individuals with mild symptoms are also encouraged to get tested for COVID-19.

“What’s the difference between isolation and quarantine?”
If you have to isolate as a result of COVID-19, then you’ve either been diagnosed with the virus or are waiting to get your COVID-19 test results back, you have symptoms of COVIC-19, have been in contact with someone who is suspected to have the virus or was diagnosed with the virus, was notified by public health that you’ve been exposed to someone with the virus, or you have returned to Canada with symptoms of the virus (mandatory isolation.)

If you have to quarantine, this could also mean that you’ve been diagnosed with the virus or are experiencing symptoms, recently returned from travel outside of Canada (mandatory quarantine), have visited a province or territory that has enforced a 14-day quarantine, or were also advised by public health that you were exposed to the virus and must quarantine.

“How does the COVID-19 spread and how can I prevent myself from getting it?”
COVID-19 is spread from an infected individual to a non-infected individual through close contact and by breathing in the infected individuals’ respiratory droplets. These droplets can be easily spread by coughing, sneezing, laughing, singing, or even talking. You can also develop the virus if you shake an infected individual’s hand, hug or kiss them, or if you touch a contaminated surface (such as a door knob, desk, keyboard, telephone, TV remote, etc.) with the virus on it only to touch your own mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.

While there’s no way to guarantee that you won’t become infected with the virus, one of the best measures you can take to help prevent it is by washing your hands frequently. It’s also important to use soap when washing your hands, scrubbing for a minimum of at least 20 seconds, as this will help kill off the virus; and, of course stay home if you’re feeling sick.

“Is there a website where I can find a list of public exposures?”
For a complete list of recent public exposures of COVID-19, including flight exposures, regional exposure events, school exposures, and more, visit