What if you have COVID-19 at the cottage?

Photo by Orawan Pattarawimonchai/Shutterstock

What do you do if you think you may have COVID-19 at the cottage?

Like all Canadians should be doing right now, you’re taking this coronavirus pandemic seriously. You’re washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and practising social distancing. In fact, you’ve taken yourself out of the crowded city or town environment, and you’re in self-isolation at the cottage. It’s quiet there, and the peaceful atmosphere is helpful with dealing with the anxiety of these unprecedented times. There’s hardly anyone around, and being closer to nature is nurturing.

Why we’re considering cottage isolation

But what if you start to develop some of the symptoms of COVID-19? The short answer is that having COVID-19 at the cottage is the same as having COVID-19 anywhere else. First of all, you have to figure out if you actually do have it. Many of the symptoms are similar to ones you’d have if you had the flu, and we’re still in flu season. The current coronavirus guidelines from Ontario Health are to first do a self-assessment. Take the test here. (Hopefully you have internet access to do this. If you’re reading this before you go to a cottage that doesn’t have internet access, be sure to gather the information you’ll need so you’ll have it on hand. Other provinces have similar self-assessment tools online.)

If your self-assessment indicates that you may have been exposed to coronavirus, don’t rush off to the nearest hospital or clinic. Health care facilities have more than enough to deal with right now. Instead, call your doctor or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-000). They’ll be able to advise you on next steps. Based on your symptoms and their severity, they may tell you that your condition is mild enough that you can rest at home and self-monitor. Or they could tell you that you need to be tested and direct you to a local health care facility. Here’s a list of public health units in Ontario and a locator to find the one in your area. Again, call ahead first for instructions.

Please note as this situation is constantly evolving, government directives are subject to change. Check back for updates.

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