Message from the UTIHP Executive Regarding COVID-19

RE: UTIHP’s Response on the COVID-19 Pandemic

To all members of the UTIHP Community:

 

The University of Toronto International Health Program (UTIHP) has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation that has rapidly emerged to become a global pandemic. We would like to send our deepest sympathies and wishes to all those affected during these mentally and physically challenging times.

As a result of this pandemic, UTIHP has decided to cancel all of our remaining in-person events as of Wednesday, March 11th, 2020. We greatly apologize for the inconvenience endured as a result, however, we take this stance in the hopes that it may placate the risk of COVID-19 spreading to especially vulnerable populations and individuals. These closures have affected a number of initiatives that make up UTIHP, including our Health & Human Rights (HHR) Conference, our Take Action Conference (HSPP), our Earthtones Benefit Gala, and our panel on Communicable Climate Crises {GHE). Although months of preparation have gone toward carefully crafting these events, it is our duty to recognize the risks that would be placed on attendees (and society) by continuing to hold these gatherings. Our Discovery Fund Research Scholarship as well as our Community Engagement Program Fund will continue to remain open for applications until March 27th, 2020 @ 11:59 PM (pending extension). 

It is imperative that we make attempts to adhere to safety measures called upon us by officials from Toronto Public Health, Public Health Canada, and the World Health Organization (WHO). We would like to encourage everyone to practice safety precautions for the time being in order to protect your own health as well as the health of others around you. 

 

Prevention measures include (but are not limited to):

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill

  • Stay home when you are ill

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands

  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with alcohol-based disinfectants

  • Practice Social Distancing:

    • Keep 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others

    • Avoid mass gatherings or crowds with more than 50 people

If you have recently returned from travelling anywhere outside Canada, please:

  • Self-isolate for a total of 14 days.

  • If symptoms arise, please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office if symptoms of COVID-19 are experienced (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing).

  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about travel history and symptoms so that they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measure

 

UTIHP will continue to serve our local and global communities as best we can. We have set up an emergency fund in order to better help effected populations during these times. This fund aims to serve local agencies that provide housing, food, and medical services for those community members most in need during these stressful times. More details to come. If you would like further information about our next steps, please do not hesitate to contact us at codirectors@utihp.ca

 

For more information on the COVID-19 situation and response within Toronto, you may visit: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/

For more information on the COVID-19 situation and response within Canada, you may visit:

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html

For more information on the COVID-19 situation and response globally, you may visit:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

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