What is Coronavirus?

Per the World Health Organization “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.”

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. The disease was first reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

It is important to note that (as of March 12, 2020) the risk of contracting COVID-19 in the Region of Waterloo remains low; however, the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 range from mild – like the flu or the common cold – to severe and can include fever, a dry cough and difficulty breathing.

For more information please consult the World Health Organization.

How is the virus spread?

COVID-19 is spread from someone with confirmed COVID-19 coming into close contact with another through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects. To minimize the spread of the virus, please consult the guidelines captured within the Health and Safety section of this toolkit.

Pandemic preparedness planning at the University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo has a history of preparing for potentially difficult situations to ensure that proper care is afforded to its faculty, staff and students. Information disseminated by the World Health Organization, the federal and provincial governments and the Waterloo Region Public Health Unit is closely monitored.

Our institution has prepared accordingly. We have put in place an expanded emergency response group to plan for longer term contingency operations if the COVID-19 situation continues. James Rush, Vice- President Academic and Provost, is leading this group. We care about our community and want to make sure we can continue to operate safely if the situation continues. This new planning will add to the ongoing efforts to monitor the situation and respond to developments.

Our team is getting input from Campus Wellness, Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services, Public Health Ontario, along with the Ministry of Health.

If you or your team members have questions or concerns, please email coronavirus@uwaterloo.ca for support.