COVID-19 information and resources: reducing your risk for infection and spreading the virus

Backgrounder

October 2021

Canadians can access comprehensive information and resources on COVID-19 on the Government of Canada coronavirus disease website Canada.ca/coronavirus, including updates on the current situation, self-assessment and mental and physical health resources. The website also provides guidance on limiting the spread of the virus to others in community, business and medical professional settings.

Immediate mental health and substance use supports are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to Canadians of all ages and at no cost, at the Wellness Together Canada online portal.

Additional information on the epidemiology of COVID-19 for public health professionals is available in the daily COVID-19 in Canada epidemiology update.

While COVID-19 is still circulating in Canada and internationally, vaccination in combination with key public health measures and individual prevention practices continue to be important for control of COVID-19 and lowering your personal risks.

Canadians can access information on the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19, find guidance on life after vaccination and utilise free interactive risk assessment tools to aid in informed decision making and understanding COVID-wise precautions to lower the risks in different settings.

The following "Quick Checks" table can also help you think about the risks. By considering (A) your personal/close contacts' risk factors, (B) risk factors posed by the setting/activity, and (C) things you can do to reduce your risk of infection and unintentionally spreading the virus, you can keep yourself and others safer during COVID-19.

Quick Checks on COVID-19 Risks to Consider
A. PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD/CONTACT
RISK FACTORS CONSIDERATIONS
B. SETTINGS/ACTIVITY
RISK FACTORS CONSIDERATIONS
  1. Am I at high risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19 or would having to self-isolate/quarantine seriously disrupt my plans or priorities?
  2. Are there people at high risk of developing serious complications of COVID-19 in my household/close contacts that I could unintentionally infect?
  1. Are there measures in place in the setting to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, e.g. ventilation supporting physical distancing and requiring people to wear masks?
  2. Will I be able to make adjustments in the setting (e.g. stepping away if it gets crowded, wearing a mask and washing/disinfecting my hands frequently)?
C. THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF INFECTION AND UNINTENTIONALLY SPREADING THE VIRUS

Getting fully vaccinated is your best protection against COVID-19 and its harms. Plan for, register, and get vaccinated and support others to get vaccinated. See below for more information on COVID-19 vaccination.

Regardless of your vaccination status, you can continue to take measures to lower your risks and/or support others at high risk of COVID-19 severe disease or outcomes by being prepared and finding safer ways to connect. It is recommended that you continue to follow local public health advice. In addition, personal protective practices such as the following continue to be important:

If you are not vaccinated, partially vaccinated or at risk of more severe disease or outcomes, masking, and physical distancing are important additional layers of protection that can reduce your risk in all settings, as well as improving ventilation in indoor spaces as much as possible. Your risk is always lower when outside in well-ventilated, uncrowded areas.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Vaccination is a proven way to reduce the impact of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us getting the illness and evidence continues to demonstrate that getting vaccinated reduces your risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death due to COVID-19.

I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada, including how vaccines are developed and what to expect at your vaccination. Visit Canada.ca for more information on Canada's rigorous approval process for reviewing and authorizing vaccines to ensure safety, efficacy and quality standards, and ongoing monitoring for vaccine safety and effectiveness.

Canadians are encouraged to seek out trusted and reliable sources of information to help guide vaccination decisions, such as your health care provider, local public health authority or Canada.ca and Immunize.ca.

If you are reading or sharing information through your social media channels, please make sure that the information is from an original source that you can trust.

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