The Coronavirus and What Do We Do Now?

Should we head back to Canada today? Some Canadian retirees are being told to return home before their emergency medical coverage expires. In ten days. Here:

A number of Canadian retirees are now being told that they have until March 23 to return home to Canada before their emergency medical coverage for COVID-19 will no longer be valid.

Jeff Adams, a 66-year-old retiree from Calgary, and his wife, Helen, received an e-mail from their travel insurer on Friday evening stating that medical expenses related to the novel coronavirus would no longer be active 10 days from March 13 – the day the Canadian government issued a new global travel advisory.

I went through our policy, from Medipac, and I could only find one exclusion related to government travel advisories:

29. Travel in a country or specific area for which, prior to Your Effective Date of Insurance or Your Trip Start Date, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada has issued a travel warning advising Canadian residents not to travel to that country or specific area.

The advisory from the Canadian government:

Avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.

And that advisory includes travel to the United States.

The Canadian government issues two levels of advisories when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country may be compromised. Several travel insurance companies contain exclusions which allows them to withdraw coverage if the Canadian government issues a level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) or a level 4 (avoid all travel) advisory. The Canadian government is urgently recommending that all Canadians outside the country return home while they still can.

This morning I will have to confirm with our insurer that we remain covered while we are in the United States as per the original term in our policy.

Coverage is only one concern.

The Canadian government requires all returning travellers, including those returning from the United States, to self-isolate for 14-days.

Here are the instructions to self-isolate:

Instructions:

  • If you need to return home from the airport via taxi or ride-share, be sure to keep the windows down.
  • If you were out of country when the latest travel guidelines went into effect and need to get supplies for your household, try to go during off-peak hours and do your best to remain 1-2 metres (3-6 feet) away from others.

Stay home:

  • Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.
  • Do not go to work, school or other public places.
  • Your health care provider will tell you when you no longer need to self-isolate.

Limit the number of visitors in your home:

  • Only have visitors who you must see and keep visits short.
  • Keep away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, lung problems, weakened immune system)

Avoid contact with others:

  • Stay in a separate room away from other people in your home as much as possible and use a separate bathroom if you have one.
  • Make sure that any shared rooms have good airflow (e.g., open windows).

Keep distance:

  • If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two meters from others and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • If you cannot wear a mask, people should wear a mask when they are in the same room as you.

Cover your coughs and sneezes:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.
  • Throw used tissues in a lined wastebasket and wash your hands. Lining the wastebasket with a plastic bag makes waste disposal easier and safer.
  • Wash your hands after emptying the wastebasket .

Wash your hands:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Dry your hands with a paper towel, or with your own cloth towel that no one else shares.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Wear a mask over your nose and mouth:

  • Wear a mask if you must leave your house to see a health care provider.
  • Wear a mask when you are within two metres of other people.
  • Household cleaning and disinfection

Clean all “high-touch” areas such as counters, toilets, sink tap handles, tabletops, doorknobs, TV remotes, phones, and bedside tables daily using regular household cleaners.

Clean more often if surfaces become visibly soiled.

Clean any surfaces than may have blood, body fluids and/or secretions on them.

Wear disposable gloves when cleaning surfaces.

Use a diluted bleach solution (2 teaspoons of bleach to 4 cups of water) or household disinfectant.

Dishes and eating utensils should be cleaned with dish soap and hot water after each use.

Use of a dishwasher with a drying cycle also provides a sufficient level of cleaning.

Laundry:

  • Clothing and bedclothes can be cleaned using regular laundry soap and water and do not require separation from other household laundry.
  • If clothing or bedding have blood, body fluids and/or secretions, wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items, remove gloves and wash hands immediately afterwards.

Waste management:

  • All waste generated can be bagged in a regular plastic bag and disposed of in regular household waste.

Full-timing in our coach makes it a bit of a challenge to find a place to self-isolate while it is still winter in Canada.

Will we be able to return to Canada as originally planned on April 26th? Will the roads remain open until then? Will we continue to have medical insurance?

Back to the question that we need to answer today.

Should we leave Florida now?

7 replies
  1. Rw
    Rw says:

    Your Canadian brothers and sisters at Aztec RV are grabbing first flights back and leaving their coaches in FL for another time. They are generally older than you and more at risk. Since you’re fulltiming, I would start working your way north at least to get closer to the border. Best of luck and good health.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      We are seeing a number of our Canadian friends and family heading home early. We are working through our options and I suspect new developments later today may influence our decision.

      Reply
  2. Judy Dalgleish Hampton
    Judy Dalgleish Hampton says:

    It’s sure a very different time in this world, Richard. I guess the big question is whether or not your insurance will continue covering you with the Canadian travel bans and warnings in place and possibly border closings.
    Keep us posted on your decision.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      I confirmed with Medipac that we are still covered however new developments could force an early departure regardless of coverage. Trudeau is set to address the nation at 1pm EST.

      Reply
  3. Marg
    Marg says:

    Hi Richard – Mike and I made the decision to head north yesterday after much discussion. We did not make the decision because of health insurance but rather we wanted to ensure we could get back before travel potentially becomes more difficult with closures of facilities, etc. along the way. We are concerned that this will happen in an attempt to flatten the curve. Already we are seeing mandatory closures of restaurants, etc in certain states and we think it may only be the beginning.
    Based on all our reading and discussions and what our gut is telling us, we made the decision to go while we still can. We leave tomorrow morning – bright and early,

    Btw – I have a friend snowbirding in Ecuador – she could not get a seat on the last flight out yesterday and now will have. To remain there for at least 21 days as the government has stopped all travel in or out for that period. Seems unlikely to happen in the US but who knows.

    It’s a crazy world and we live in crazy times.

    Let us know your decision.

    Marg

    Reply
  4. Chris
    Chris says:

    Hope you both stay safe Richard! It seems Canada is tightening the rules and borders, and Trudeau’s remark of ‘now is the time to come home’ rang out clearly. Wish you safe travels whatever your decision is.

    Reply
    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Thanks Chris. We are keeping a close watch on the pandemic and we will take appropriate measures based on the risk and changes in government policy.

      Reply

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