Province urges extra caution when buying or selling items online
Whether they are looking to clear out their closets, or hoping to make some extra income during this pandemic, many are turning to Facebook Marketplace.
Jenna Morin says she’s been using Marketplace for a long time, but she said she’s taking extra precautions now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Even before this all happened, I often had people just picking up off my doorstep and e-transferring me, which now is essential. So, that's what you do and you have to make sure that you're letting everyone know you're from a symptom-free home,” Morin said.
On the Facebook Marketplace Help Page, it encourages people to follow the World Health Organization’s Guidelines for how to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while buying and selling items.
It also said people should check out and follow local laws and directives that may be in place.
Morin said she’s carefully cleaning items before selling them.
"I definitely would just ensure that the buyer knows that I have cleaned the item, maybe you know, letting them know I've taken Lysol wipes, disinfected the item in whatever way I can.”
She said she’s also being mindful about buying things during this time.
“I did contact somebody about something they were selling and I said that I did want it but I didn’t want to pick it up until all of this has kind of settled down just to do my job and limit unnecessary interactions,” Morin said.
Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer, said there have been no cases of COVID-19 linked to buying and handling items purchased online.
However, he said people should still take extra precautions.
"If you want to be extra cautious, you should wipe down whatever you have bought, if it can be wiped down or if it can be laundered or washed. Do that or let it sit out for a few hours in the garage or two to three days,” Shahab said.
The province said one way the infection is transmitted is through coughing and sneezing.
It can also be spread by touching surfaces with the virus on it then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.
Shahab said washing your hands frequently is key to avoiding infection.
“When we go out even, if you open the door that's at a grocery store, or other settings, an apartment block. You open the door, come in, you wash your hands. You don't open the door and touch your eyes, nose, mouth,” he said.
It is unknown exactly how long COVID-19 lives on surfaces, but some evidence suggests it can survive for a few hours to several days.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the virus lives on different surfaces for different amounts of time.
COVID-19 survived for four hours on Copper, 24 hours on cardboard and three days on plastic, according to the study.
"I think we just have to apply our judgment. We have closed many places like restaurants and gyms, exactly for that purpose that you know, if you touch a surface, and then someone touches that surface again, there is a risk, it may be low but there is a risk,” Shahab said.