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

Last Updated Jul 12, 2020 at 7:30 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 Monday, June 29 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: If a person has chronic sinus issues, can they have a saliva or mouth swab instead of a nasal swab?
A: There are two swabs that are available right now in Ontario – the nose swab and sometimes they also have a throat swab.

There is no saliva testing that’s being done right now in Canada. It’s not clear that the saliva tests are actually a better test. But you can ask for a throat swab if you feel that the nasal swab is not going to be effective for you.

But the nasal swab is the best swab. So even if you have a sinus condition, maybe that’s why you should get the nasal swab, because it will pick up if there’s any virus at the back of your nose.

Q: Is COVID-19 a disease that just everyone is going to get at least once in their lifetime like chickenpox or measles?
A:That’s what we don’t know about that yet.

With measles, actually, not everyone gets measles now. I didn’t get it because I got the vaccine.

So I think that’s where we’re going — that if we actually have a vaccine, that means that not everyone will ultimately get this infection.

I think it’s a good point in that — is this going to stay with us now forever? We don’t know that answer either. We know that we’ve had it since sometime in December and it’s almost July now and we still have it.

But we think that this might be a virus that might hang around and that’s why if we have a vaccine, we can actually offer some broader protection.

But we know something like SARS, when it came, we were able to actually stop the spread and then it went away. So if that’s the case for this virus as well, then we won’t actually even need a vaccine as urgently.

So again, more to come, we’re following this very closely.

Q: How are COVID-19 protocols for patios and salons being enforced now that they are open in Toronto?
A: There’s two things that I will say about this — one is the requirements are there. Toronto public health has put out bylaws which are really requirements for barbershops, nail salons, tattoo salons and restaurants that they need to follow.

Some of the requirements actually come from the provincial legislation — it says that a restaurant, for example, can only offer services in patios or through takeout or delivery services. Some of it is through Toronto Public Health requirements.

If however, you find that there is a business operator, that’s not following requirements, or it seems to you that it’s not a safe, they’re not taking COVID precautions, you can actually call 3-1-1. We do have enforcement officers who are going to these places. We also have public health inspectors who do inspections, especially for the personal service settings like barber shops and nail salons to be able to make sure that they are run in safe ways.

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

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