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Coronavirus public health Q&A with Dr. Vinita Dubey (June 10)

Last Updated Jun 15, 2020 at 6:58 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 public health questions in a LIVE video interview on Wednesday, June 10, on our Facebook page as well as here on our website.

Here are a few questions Dr. Dubey addressed:

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

Q: Child-care centres will be allowed to reopen on June 12. Do you think it’s too early to open them up seeing how schools are closed for the rest of the year and COVID-19 case numbers are still going up?
A: Child-care centres are going to be operating in a new space. It’s not going to be, as it was before.

There are going to be new protocols that will be in place for childcare centers and there are definitely going to be additional precautions that will be taken for the children and the staff.

There will be some restrictions on numbers – groups of 10 per room. There will be increased cleaning and there’s going to be screening.

In fact, parents won’t even be able to go in and drop their kids off. They’ll drop them off on the outside and fill a screening form to make sure that everyone is healthy, that no one has symptoms. If someone gets sick, they will be moved aside so that they cannot perhaps infect others. So there will be a lot of interventions in place.

I can say with the emergency child-care centres that were in place, they were run very safely and there was only one that ended up with COVID, but the rest of them actually were free of this infection.

So it’s up to each parent to decide whether they’re ready to send their child there and you’ll also have to think about your own child’s needs. If they have existing medical conditions, you might be a bit more cautious.

Q: If there is a vaccine found, will we all be required to take it?
A: Right now, we don’t have a mandatory vaccine in Canada. So to think that this vaccine will be mandatory is not in line with current practices.

Firstly, in order for it to be mandatory, we have to make sure that we have 35 million doses of the vaccine to be able to provide it to everyone in the country. And in the end they just won’t have that much vaccine available.

So what we’re going to have to do is try and figure out who is at highest risk, who will have the best response to the vaccine and we have to be able to provide the vaccine to those people.

But it will be with informed consent so that you’re aware — these are the risks that we know of for the vaccine, these are the expected side effects and these are the expected benefits — before you receive the vaccine.

That is our current standard in Canada and I don’t have any reason to believe that it will be any different for this vaccine.

Q: What happened to the early reports that taking Advil or other anti-inflammatories was having a negative effect on people who had the coronavirus?Is that still an issue?
A: Those reports are still present.

I think it was seen that for some other viral infections that aspirin can sometimes not be a good choice and sometimes Advil as well. It can especially impact the kidneys because it’s an anti-inflammatory drugs.

So what I would say is if you have a fever, you’re not feeling well, and you have COVID — start with a different medication, like an acetaminophen or Tylenol, if you can tolerate that. And if that’s safe for you, that might be a better choice.

The best thing actually is to really talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about this.

Q: Is it okay to drive in the same car with friends if everyone is wearing a mask?
A: If everyone’s wearing a mask, you’re reducing your risk. When you wear a mask, you’re actually keeping your germs to yourself.

If you really want to go in a car with your friends I would say make sure that no one has symptoms.

We actually have a screening guidelines our website for eight symptoms — check that to make sure everyone is healthy.

If you have a tickle in your throat, don’t go. Wash your hands before you go. If you can have the driver in the front and someone sitting in the back that’s best. Keep the windows open. Those are precautions that you can take.

But again driving in a car with someone is close contact. You’re typically driving for more than 15 minutes which increases risk. So you really should only be driving in a car with your household members, or you can expect that you could get infected.

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