Update: COVID-19 Statement

by Whitney

March 9th, 2020

Update: CIPO Statement on COVID-19


CIPO has received many inquiries related to COVID-19 (the current coronavirus), most of which are related to patient specific travel or medical care. For specific medical inquiries, please contact your healthcare provider, or treating specialist. 

COVID-19 in Canada:

As of today, there are 76 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 1 death. 

The risk to Canada is still considered low. If you are concerned please contact your local public health.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), COVID-19 is spread through the following ways:

  • Respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
  • Close personal contact with an infected person (such as shaking hands, or touching)
  • Touching something with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands



Since there is currently no vaccine or antibiotics to protect against COVID-19, it is important for immunodeficiency patients to protect themselves against the virus. The current recommended measures are:

  • Frequent and effecient hand washing of at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose) with unwashed hands
  • Staying at home if you are feeling unwell
  • Staying at least 1 metre (3 feet) from someone who is coughing or sneezing

Masks will not offer any protection against COVID-19, and should only be worn when you are ill to protect people from your germs.


As of today, the Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended that Canadians avoid all cruise travel. 

CIPO recommends limiting non-essential travel when possible. If you must travel, we recommend the following:

  • Wipe down seats, armrests, trays, etc. with sanitizing wipes
  • Wash and/or sanitize hands throughly and regularly 
  • Avoid touching your face
  • If necessary, wear an N95 mask. Ensure proper fit before, as improper fit will lead to face touching while adjusting.

If you are planning to travel outside of Canada, we recommend reading the current Government of Canada travel advisories. https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories


If you feel ill, or think you may have the virus:

  • Do NOT go to the hopsital or walk-in clinic (unless instructed to by your doctor OR you cannot manage your symptoms at home)
  • Self-isolate and call your doctor 
  • Use inhalers (if prescribed) and medications to managed symptoms

CIPO is hearing concern from patients regarding testing for the virus and lack of fever response in some PI disease states. Please know that COVID-19 testing in Canada is not under the same conditions as testing in the US (where testing has been limited). 

Plasma Products:

The PPTA has issued a statement that there is no risk of transmission of COVID-19 into plasma products. 


CIPO will continue to update on this virus as necessary. 

For more information, please see the following:

COVID-19 map – https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Canadian Blood Services 

WHO https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Public Health Agency of Canada https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html


CIPO will continue to update on this virus as necessary. 

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