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Coronavirus public health Q&A with Dr. Vinita Dubey (May 27)

Last Updated May 27, 2020 at 6:59 pm EDT

We know you have questions about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and we’re working to get you the answers, straight from the most trusted sources.

Toronto’s Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vinita Dubey, answered your COVID-19 related questions in a LIVE video interview on Wednesday, May 27,  on our Facebook page.

Here are a few questions Dr. Dubey addressed:

(Questions were moderated and have been edited for grammar, punctuation and clarity)

Q: Do you agree with the premier’s suggestion that everyone should get tested and do we have the equipment to perform such mass testing?
A: There’s no question that we support testing as part of what we call recovery or easing public health restrictions, going into the different phases of allowing places to start opening.

We actually need a lot of testing done and we need a good testing strategy. So we definitely support and are happy to see that testing has been opened up.

I would say that the most important people who really need to get tested are anyone who have symptoms. So if you have even one symptom, a cost or throat itch, you’ve lost your sense of taste or smell, you have a fever — even if you think it might be for other reasons — it’s important for you to get tested so that we know who has COVID-19.

We can then be able to do contact tracing as well. If you’re a contact of someone, if you’ve been exposed to someone, you’ve gotten a call from public health saying you might have been exposed to the virus. That again, is really good for people in those situations to go and get tested.

Q: how long does it take for the test to be completed and when do you get the results? Will the patient find out whether they are positive or negative no matter what the result?

A: The testing turnaround time is based on the lab capacity. Sometimes it can take a few days because the specimen has to get from wherever you got it done to the lab. But it’s not going to be weeks and weeks, that’s for sure.

There is a website that you can go to to actually look your results up on your own, which is really fantastic.

Click here: COVID-19 results website

If you are positive, you need to make sure you stay home and you will get a call from your local public health department depending on where you live.

Public health won’t call you if you got a negative result. However, the lab where you did the test may call you to let you know that you got a negative result.

Q: Not all cleaning products disinfect. What are the ingredients that we should look for on the labels in products used to disinfect our counters and various other surfaces?
A: We have cleaning products and we have disinfection products.

Product cleaning is actually removing the dirt — the visible particles that are on the surface — and for that it’s best to use soap and water. So you’re looking for a detergent type ingredient in the cleaner.

Disinfectant is what actually kills viruses or bacteria. So if you actually look at the label — if it says that it disinfects, usually it will have an alcohol or a bleach component in it to be a disinfectant.

You can look up a product by its Drug Identification Number (DIN) to ensure it is the correct product to use. The Public Health Agency of Canada website actually lists which disinfectants are going to be good to protect you if you’re actually really concerned.
But most household disinfectants, if they say that they are a household disinfectant, will be adequate.

Click here: Public Health Agency of Canada list of disinfectants and sanitizers

Q: Will antibody testing be made available to the public? How accurate is that testing and is it definitive?

A: Right now tt’s not definitive. The Center for Disease Control in the U.S. put up on their website that antibody tests are only about 50 per cent effective. So if you’re using one, you have to make sure that you use one that has been validated, meaning that you know that the results that you get will actually be meaningful.

So right now we don’t have the test. The one test that has been approved in Canada — they’re doing studies on it to see actually how much you can rely on those test results.

But there isn’t a good test right now that’s available for everyone. So we’re waiting and seeing just like the rest of you.

Watch the full interview with web writer Dilshad Burman in conversation with Dr. Vinita Dubey in the video above.


Scroll through the questions submitted to this session below.

Note: questions were moderated before appearing in the chat window