Epidemic refers to an illness that is actively spreading


Pandemic relates to an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects a high proportion of the population

Phases of a pandemic

The WHO provides an influenza pandemic alert system. The scale ranges from Phase 1 where there is little to no risk of pandemic to Phase 6 which represents a full-blown pandemic. Visit World Health Organization to access more detailed information regarding pandemic scale ranges.

While being aware of the various phases is useful, there will likely be very little lead time between when the WHO declares a Pandemic Phase activated and when the pandemic influenza strain is identified in Waterloo Region or the Province of Ontario. For this reason, it is of great importance that you monitor this website in addition to promptly responding to/taking action for any memo received from University administration pertaining to COVID-19.