Practice Advice: COVID-19 coronavirus
06.03.2020
What is Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is the name of the newly identified respiratory disease that is also known as the coronavirus. Respiratory infections caused by COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO on January 30, 2020. 

What are the risks?
Although COVID-19 originated from Wuhan, China, it has spread to many countries, including to Canada. A small number of cases in British Columbia are being closely managed. The risk to British Columbians remains low. 

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are similar to flu and the common cold and include:
  • Fever 
  • Cough 
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing 
How is it transmitted?
  • Droplets spread when a person coughs or sneezes 
  • Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands 
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands 
What is the advice for opticians?
Opticians should follow the usual advice for preventing the spread of infection and viruses including the Clinical Requirements as set out in the COBC Standards of Practice & Guidelines Section 3.3. You can also refer to the NACOR Bridging Course for Infection Control including the corresponding learning resources.

In summary, all opticians working with the public should follow the following protocols:
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after treating a patient.
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing and wash your hands immediately after
  • Keep your workplace well stocked with hand soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues and use proper waste disposal
  • Sanitize equipment between uses, especially those that make direct contact with patients such as slit lamps and pupil measuring devices 
  • Sanitize frames after patients have tried them on
  • If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay away from practice and seek medical advice immediately
If you would like to display public health signage in your place of work, you can find some resources here

Where can I find out more?

Communications
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