April 4, 2003
For immediate release
Chief Health Officer Issues Update on SARS
Health and Social Services
"There are no new suspect cases and the symptoms of the four people who became ill have not worsened," said Dr. Sweet.
"People are concerned about this disease because there are so many unanswered questions," Dr. Sweet continued. "We are trying to keep Islanders as well informed as possible."
On Monday evening, Queens Region Public Health Nursing established a phone line to answer questions about SARS. Calls to the line have been steady with about 30 calls coming in throughout the day. Islanders with concerns or questions about SARS can call their regional Public Health Nursing office, or the toll-free SARS inquiry line at 1-877-368-4532. An answering machine will record messages after hours, and Public Health Nursing staff will return the calls the next morning. Health Canada also has a toll-free information line at 1-800-454-8302.
People considered at risk of SARS are those who have recently traveled to China (including Taiwan), Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Singapore or who have had contact in any country with a person with a known case of SARS.
Symptoms of SARS begin with a temperature of above 38 C, and either a cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Initial symptoms may be followed by more severe respiratory distress.
"If people are at risk of SARS and are feeling ill, I remind them to please call their local emergency room or health centre before going in to be examined," Dr. Sweet stressed. "If people are at risk of SARS, precautions must be taken before they are seen."