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How to Prepare for a Pandemic Situation

What is a Pandemic?

Pandemic occurs when an infectious disease spreads throughout the global population. It is different than an epidemic, which is usually contained within a region or country.

There are things you can do to prepare for a pandemic, and ensure you are prepared in case you or someone in your house becomes ill.

Get ready

Should you become ill, you would likely need to stay home to limit the spread.

  1. Gradually stock up on supplies and non-perishable foods over the next few weeks. Be considerate of how much you actually need to buy.

  2. Make plans for your children or other dependents in case you become ill.

  3. Make preparations with your employer and discuss work-from-home arrangements.

  4. Stock up on cleaning supplies, hand soap, hand sanitizer, bleach and nitrate/latex gloves.

  5. Stock up on supplies for your pets.

Fill Prescriptions

Fill prescriptions and stock up over-the-counter medications. Be considerate of how much you actually need to buy.

  1. Don’t wait to fill essential prescriptions.

  2. Fill prescriptions for an extra month, if you’re able. (See here for NIHB information on refilling medications)

  3. Purchase pain and fever medicine (Ibuprofen and acetaminophen).

Limit the Spread of Germs

Adopt good personal hygiene, and avoid others if you become sick.

  1. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

  2. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

  3. Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands.

  4. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your arm, not your hand.

  5. Stay home if you are sick. Do not visit people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick.

  6. Get your flu shot. By protecting yourself from the flu, you can ease the burden on the healthcare system and protect others.

List of essential supplies

In the event that you become ill or have been exposed to COVID-19, you may be required to stay home for 14 days. We put together a list of essentials for you to prepare and adapt to your needs. It is important to have extra food at home that provides adequate nutrients and energy. You don’t need to rush and “stockpile” supplies. The goal is to be prepared and purchase items gradually. The next time you’re at the store, pick up extra supplies. Do this gradually.


  1. Fresh veggies with a longer shelf life like beets, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, potatoes, yams, cabbage, squash, onions;

  2. Fresh fruit with a longer shelf life: apples, melon, oranges, grapefruit;

  3. Frozen vegetables and fruit, canned vegetables and fruit, dried fruit, applesauce, tomato sauce, 100% vegetable and fruit juice

  4. Grains like rice, couscous, quinoa, bread (with a longer shelf life), tortillas, pasta, cold dry and hot cereals, bread rusks, crackers;

  5. Frozen and canned meat and fish, soup, stews

  6. Yogurt, eggs, hard cheese, non-refrigerated milk and plant-based beverages, milk powder, evaporated milk;

  7. Canned and dried beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, nut butters;

  8. Flour, oil, butter or margarine, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, jam/honey, sugar, granola bars, cookies, bouillon cubes, spices, condiments;

  9. Infant formula (if applicable);

  10. Meal replacements (if taken for specific medical conditions);

  11. Pet food and supplies.


  1. Pain and fever medicine (Ibuprofen and acetaminophen)

  2. If possible, fill your prescriptions for an extra month

  3. Vitamin and mineral supplements (if applicable)

Sanitary/Hygiene Supplies

  1. Hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, bleach

  2. Toilet paper, diapers, female hygiene products, tissues, wipes, toothpaste

  3. Laundry detergent, dish soap, garbage bags, nitrate/latex gloves

  4. Surgical masks (facemask) for those who are infected or taking care of the ill

  5. Floor cleaner, mop and bucket, toilet cleaner

Should I Wear a Mask?

There is no reason to wear a mask if you are well. Masks should be limited to those who are sick or those who are taking care of someone who is ill. There is little evidence that wearing a mask in public prevents a healthy person from becoming ill. Masks may increase risk, as people continually check their masks and touch their faces without first having washed their hands.

The situation is changing rapidly. Please continue to visit the Chiefs of Ontario Blog or visit the follow links for the most up-to-date information:

  1. Government of Canada COVID-19Includes current status of cases in Canada and other related resources:

  2. Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19Includes current status of cases in Ontario and other related resources:

  3. Ontario COVID-19 Self-AssessmentInformation to conduct a self-assessment for COVID-19 and recommended next steps:

  4. Public Health UnitsContact information for Public Health Units in Ontario:

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