From “R0” to “contact tracing”, this pandemic has introduced a new lexicon of words, leaving many a little confused.
See below for our cheat sheet of 15 COVID-19 related terms you’re likely seeing daily (many of which are used incorrectly around the virtual water cooler that is social media).
1) Asymptomatic: No sign of illness or disease. Regarding COVID-19, experts say those who are asymptomatic could still be contagious during the incubation period.
2) Community Spread: When the source of a COVID-19 infection is unknown, which means it was not due to recent travel or exposure to someone with a confirmed or suspected case.
3) Contact Tracing: Public Health and medical experts work to identify people who may have interacted with someone who was/is ill with COVID-19.
4) Flattening the Curve: Referencing the curve that depicts the growth or spread of novel coronavirus cases, and the collective action taken by a community to slow or “flatten" that growth.
Help flatten the curve. Use your virtual care platform when you need medical support.
5) Immunocompromised: People with weakened immune systems due to chronic health conditions who are more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
6) Incubation Period: The time it takes for symptoms to appear after an individual is infected. The COVID-19 incubation period is 2-14 days. During incubation, infected individuals can spread the virus before exhibiting symptoms.
7) Isolate/Isolation/Self-Isolate: An individual who is confirmed positive for a contagious illness or disease separates him or herself from other healthy people by staying confined to a separate room and bathroom. This helps prevent the spread of the disease until the danger of passing it on has passed.
8) Lockdown: Governments restricting the movement of people within their governed areas and closing all nonessential businesses. If rules are breached authorities can impose fines.
9) Physical Distancing (aka. Social Distancing): Measures taken to increase the physical distance between people to slow the spread of a disease. Examples include working from home, cancelling gatherings, connecting with others virtually in lieu of in person, and maintaining a minimum of two metres of distance between people outside of your home.
10) Public Health Emergency: A declaration made by the provincial health officer under the Public Health Act, allowing him or her to issue orders verbally that are immediately enforceable without the consent of the legislature.
11) Quarantine/Self-Quarantine: Separating and restricting the movement of individuals who seem healthy, but who were potentially exposed to a virus, in order to determine if they become sick – typically for 14 days. This can be self- or government-imposed.
12) R0: Also known as R-naught, this is an epidemiological metric used to depict how contagious a virus is. For example, “for one infected individual, two others can be infected.”
13) SARS-CoV-2: The technical name for the novel (new) coronavirus. This stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Being infected by SARS-CoV-2 causes the COVID-19 disease.
14) Self-Monitor: Monitoring yourself for 14 days to see if you develop symptoms related to COVID-19. Physical distancing must be practiced while self-monitoring.
15) Shelter-in-Place: Staying home except for to buy essentials like groceries and medicine, while minimizing contact with those outside of your immediate household.
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