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Questions and Answers from Self – Advocates about COVID-19

1. I am hearing so much on the news and it is so confusing. What is happening?

Coronavirus (also sometimes called COVID-19) is a virus. At first it was in one country,
and then people with it traveled to some other places. Now it has traveled all over the

It feels a lot like the flu. You can get a fever, or a dry cough (where nothing gets coughed
up), you can feel really tired, and sometimes your muscles can hurt. It may last a few
days or a bit longer.

The problem is that it is very contagious (it spreads very easily) and you might not know
you have it yet, but someone else who is near you can get it.

For many people, it is not that bad to get the flu, but if you are sick already, or an older
person, you can get very, very sick. If too many people get sick, all at the same time, we
might not have enough beds at the hospital to take care of everyone.

This is why we are all working very hard to stop COVID-19 from spreading to lots of
different people. Even if different people get it one day, we would like to help it take
longer for that to happen.

2. How do we stop Coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading?

● Wash our hands.
● Cough in our sleeve.
● Don’t cough or sneeze near other people.
● Don’t stand too close to other people.
● Don’t do activities with a lot of other people. This means no more going to
movies in the movie theatre, riding on crowded buses or subways, going to
music concerts, eating in busy restaurants, or waiting in lines (e.g., at the airport
or grocery store).
● Stay at home as much as possible.

In order to stop Coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading schools are closed, people are
not going to church, temple or mosque, and day programs and recreation centres, and
libraries are closed too. Lots of people are staying home from work. This makes it harder
to do things. This can be very frustrating. It makes things lonely too.

3. How can I protect myself from Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

● Keep your distance: If you stretch out your arms and can touch another person,
you are too close.
● Stay home.
● Try not to spend time with too many people.
● Cough and sneeze in your sleeve.
● Wash your hands with soap long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” all the way
through twice.

4. I don’t have enough money to buy these extra supplies and things. I was told I can’t
go to work anymore so I don’t have enough money.

Can you talk to a support worker who helps you with your money? The government is
trying to make some programs to help make sure people with disabilities have enough
money to do what they need to do. If you get a cheque from work or from ODSP in
Ontario, don’t spend it all at once. You need it to last. A support worker, or caregiver
can help you if you need help with planning your money differently now.

5. I don’t cook and some of the places I like to go to eat are not open now. What sort of
food should I buy? How much should I buy at once?

It might seem overwhelming if you have to start to make food at home when you are
used to getting take out or going out to eat. When planning to eat more at home, it
helps to first think about the types of meals you like to eat for breakfast, lunch and
dinner. You can plan for the meals you want to eat this week and put in on a calendar
on the fridge or in your phone. After you have your plan you can make a list of all the
ingredients you might need to make them. A support worker or caregiver can help you
make a list if needed (and also help you cook!). Also, you can also talk to your doctor or
a dietitian for advice on what foods are healthy and best for you. Remember it always
helps to have a list when you go to the grocery store. Grocery stores will still continue to
remain open so don’t worry about that! You should have enough food for a week or two
and buy some things you can put into the freezer.

6. Does everybody get tested?

We are not testing everybody right now. This is because we don’t want to run out of
tests so we are saving them for the people who are feeling the most sick.
People who wonder if they have it can do what is called a self-assessment. Here is a link
to the self-assessment in Ontario.

It asks some questions about how you are feeling now. This can help you decide if you
should call your doctor, or Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) (OR 811 in other
provinces). It will also tell you if you should self-isolate (or stay at home and see if it
gets better or worse).

● They will also ask If you are having

○ severe difficulty breathing (for example, struggling for each breath, speaking in
single words)
○ severe chest pain
○ having a very hard time waking up
○ feeling confused
○ lost consciousness

you should call 911 or go to your local emergency department if you are having these

They will ask other questions too, like:

○ Fever, new cough or trouble breathing?
○ Muscle aches, feeling tired, headache, sore throat, runny nose?
○ Have you travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days?
○ Is someone who you see all the time sick? (e.g. Housemates, family, support
○ Is someone you see all the time sick and they have travelled outside of Canada

7. I want to get tested. Where can I get tested?

It is important not to go to the hospital to get tested, or to go to your doctor’s office. If

you think you need to get tested, Telehealth Ontario (1-866-797-0000) (OR 811 in other
provinces)and ask what to do.

8. Do I have to stay inside, I like to go for walks and if I don’t, I feel depressed

Getting fresh air is really important. And now that spring is coming, some sunshine is
great too. Most people can still go for a walk. Walks are free, they make us feel good
and they remind us that we are not alone in our house. But there are few rules on how
to make a walk safe:
● Wash your hands before you go outside.
● Don’t walk closely to other people.
● Don’t touch door knobs or poles or benches that other people have touched.
● If you talk to someone you see when you are walking, make sure you are not
talking closely to them.
● Wash your hands first thing when you come back inside.
● If you have told you need to be in self-isolation, you need to stay at home and
not leave. This is hard but helps stop spread the virus.

9. What if I have a family member in the hospital and I can't visit her??

This is a really hard one. Right now, we have new rules about who can be in the hospital
and who can visit because we are worried about too many people getting Coronavirus
(Covid-19) and because we are trying to keep people out of the hospital so we have
space for people who get really sick when they need it.

Everybody who comes to the hospital has to be checked for Coronavirus (COVID-19),
even people who are visiting someone else, and even hospital staff. Lots of people in the
hospital will wear masks and even gowns or goggles to keep them safe. This means
there are new rules about who can visit. In most hospitals, either only one person can
visit at a time, or there are no visitors. If that would be scary for you or someone you
love, figure out now how you would stay in touch when you or that person was in the
○ Can you talk on the phone?
○ Can you use a computer or tablet? Hospitals all have free wifi if you ask them.
○ Can you get a nurse to help with a phone call?

Having a plan if you cannot see your loved ones in person makes it less hard.

10. How can people talk to each other?

-Video call: Facetime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Facebook Live,
Google hangouts, Zoom
-Regular phone calls
-Text message, Instagram message, WhatsApp
-Leave notes in people’s mailboxes
11. How do I get groceries or my medicines?
- Call the pharmacy
- Call the Grocery store.
- Put a note in the mailbox of your neighbour. Explain that you need some help.
- Call a friend who can see who can help.
- Some neighbourhoods have groups who are out happy to help people:

12. What are doctors doing to create a vaccine?

Different doctors and research teams all over the world are trying to find a cure and
working on developing a vaccine for Coronavirus (COVID-19). It takes a very long time,
many months, to go through the process for doing this. That’s why it’s so important to
do what we can to help stop the spread of the virus, and practice social distancing.

13. What can you do to keep busy?

There are some fitness videos you can watch to keep fit
Crafts, reading, watching movies, baking, scavenger hunts, cleaning your room,
Going for walks, sitting out in the fresh air