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Learning to live with COVID-19 requires permanent fixes to vulnerable settings

Last Updated Apr 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm PST

FILE - Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, April 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Summary

Stopping future outbreaks will require permanent increase in handing washing and rethinking managing vulnerable people

Dr. Theresa Tam says there is still a lot we do not know about the novel coronavirus

Tam also says COVID-19 has exposed deep problems that must be fixed to protect residents in long-term care homes

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says stopping COVID-19 and any future outbreaks will require not only a permanent increase to how often we wash our hands, but a rethinking of how we manage the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Dr. Theresa Tam says there is still a lot we do not know about the novel coronavirus, including whether people can contract it more than once, or how many Canadians can actually have it.

She is on a new national task force that is trying to close those gaps by tracing how many people have already been exposed to the virus and whether any of them are now immune to it.

She says understanding those things is critical to safely guiding Canadians back to work and school.

Tam also says COVID-19 has exposed deep problems that must be fixed now to protect residents of long-term care centres and other group settings, as well the risks faced by the essential workers who look after them.

COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Canada’s long-term care homes, as well as health-care workers, and employees at critical businesses including grocery stores and pharmacies.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press