Our guidance to landlords and building managers is to disinfect commonly touched surfaces twice a day (door handles, elevator buttons, light switches, handrails, etc.) in order to minimize the risk to their tenants.
Our guidance to all residents, including tenants in apartment buildings, is to wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and to avoid touching your face (particularly your eyes, nose and mouth) except with freshly washed hands. This is particularly important if you have been out of your home/unit and/or if have been in contact with commonly touched surfaces – whether that’s at work, in a store, at the park or in common areas of your apartment building.
If a resident tests positive for COVID-19, that person will be instructed to self-isolate within their home/unit and to remain there except for essential purposes (ex. a medical appointment). They will also be instructed that if they do leave their home/unit for essential purposes, they are to wear a mask or scarf to prevent spreading droplets through coughing or sneezing.
I can assure you that all levels of public health agencies in Canada, and indeed all levels of government, are monitoring the situation closely, working collaboratively, and regularly updating guidelines and protocols based on the currently available scientific evidence, data and expert opinion – including travel advisories, screening protocols, and guidelines for self-isolation and/or quarantine.
It is important to understand that coronavirus is NOT airborne. It is spread through droplets from coughs and sneezes, which travel a limited distance before falling to the ground. Every resident can minimize his or her risks by:
- Washing their hands often with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available;
- Avoiding hand-to-face contact – particularly contact with their eyes, nose, and mouth – unless they have just washed their hands;
- Covering their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their sleeves, NOT their hands;
- Staying home if they are ill; and
- Maintaining a distance of 2 meters or more if they encounter someone who is ill or who appears to be ill.
Landlords and tenants may also be interested in OPH’s guidelines for workplaces, which include information about cleaning and sanitizing public spaces, particularly the importance of sanitizing commonly touched surfaces.
We continue to encourage residents to visit and refer people to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for factual, credible and up-to-date information.