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Coronavirus public health Q&A with Dr. Vinita Dubey (July 29)

Last Updated Sep 20, 2020 at 2:11 pm EST

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, July 29, at 12:30 p.m. 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: My mom is 73 years old and is coming back home from the Philippines where she had to stay for almost six months. She’s going to be staying with us in our home. Do those living in the home with her have to self-isolate as well and does that include not going to work for two weeks?
A: The answer is no. As long as your mom who returned has no symptoms, she can self isolate by herself and it is better to do it in a separate room with a separate bathroom.

The rest of you who are living in the house can carry on with your regular activities. It’s only if your mom gets symptoms that then, you would have to stop and wait until she gets tested and you’re clear on what’s going on. But in the meanwhile you can carry on with your activities. But I do recommend that she self-isolate in a separate room if possible.

Q: In regards to starting school, what protocols are being put into place for young kids with disabilities or those who have autism or sensory or other issues who can’t, or won’t wear masks?
A: I want to assure you that no one will force your child to wear a mask if your child can’t wear a mask. There are exemptions – just like we have in our mandatory mask bylaw – those who can’t wear a mask for medical reasons are not forced or required to wear a mask.

They may want to consider not going to restore, for example, if they can’t wear a mask. But when we’re talking about school, there are other precautions that can be put in place.

If the child himself can’t wear a mask, the teacher can wear a mask for example, maybe the other students around them can wear a mask, keeping that six foot distance as much as possible, making sure that they’re not sick when they come to school — all of those other measures can be put in place to help protect your child and those who are around your child.

Masks are only one public health measure, but there are other ones as well — it’s not just about the mask. It’s about all the other things as well to keep school safe.

Q: Should a person with Type-2 diabetes get tested for COVID-19 even if they are asymptomatic?
A: There’s no requirement that you be tested.

If you have no symptoms, you’re certainly able to get tested — no one will deny you testing. But when you get tested, your results are only as good as that one point in time.

What I definitely say though, is if you have a new symptom — you’ve had a sore throat for a couple of days and you’re not sure about it — then I would definitely say. go and get tested.

But without any symptoms, even if you have diabetes, it’s not necessary to routinely get tested.

Q: What can the average person do to help mitigate the threat of vaccine hesitancy in Toronto?
A: There’s a lot that you can do actually and thank you for asking that.

Public Health gives guidance, but actually when you can share that information with your colleagues, with your family members, you will have actually more of an impact than I will.

The reverse, unfortunately, can also be the case where if you have a friend who says something that’s actually very incorrect, you might be more likely to believe them because it’s coming from your friend.

So I think questioning people when they have opinions that may come from sources that are not scientifically valid, not evidence-based is very, very helpful because you have a trusted relationship with your family, with your friend and you can have that conversation.

And so I think that we should recognize the influence we’re having and that the information that we have and share actually plays a very significant role in furthering both positive messages and incorrect messages.

Talk to your friends and your coworkers and your family members about it to make sure that the correct messages and not misinformation is what is being talked about.

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