Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

There are many simple ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Whether it’s through handwashing, keeping two metres (six feet) apart from others, staying home as much as possible, or wearing gloves and masks when appropriate, you can make a difference! Read further to learn how.

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Frequently Asked Questions  



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Fake news with young man using a smartphone
Providing factual information about COVID-19 is important to fight fears about the virus19. Spreading lies and misinformation hurts people who read and believe it. Do your part by sharing factual, accurate COVID-19 information with family and friends. Credible Sources of COVID-19 Information: Ontario Government Public Health Ontario Government of Canada ...
Read More
Self-Isolation
You MUST self-isolate in certain cases to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This helps protect you if you don’t have the virus. If you have the virus, self-isolating reduces the risk of you passing it on to others. Please Note: On April 14, 2020, the local Medical Officer of Health ...
Read More
Senior blowing her nose while outside
Health is in our hands! Let's prevent the spread of COVID-19 by using simple, but effective steps to protect our health: Cover Your Cough Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in the waste basket Sneeze in Your Sleeve If ...
Read More
Safety First, message on note paper, computer and coffee on table, 3D rendering
Home is the best place to be during COVID-19, especially with directives to self-isolate, practise physical distancing and limit non-essential trips. With most injuries to young children already occurring at home, the risk can increase for everyone due to the change in daily routine during COVID-19. Consider: Overwhelmed parents/caregivers juggling ...
Read More
Physical Distancing
NEW – Fact Sheet: Physical Distancing – Public Health Ontario You are strongly urged to practise physical distancing as much as possible anytime you're outdoors or in the community. This is essential to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means limiting the number of people with whom you come in ...
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Handmade patterned and cat patterned fabric face masks for virus contagion protection - stock photo
Face masks have become the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to know when and how to wear a mask properly. Medical masks (like surgical and N-95): close up White protective hygenic mask isolated backgrounds for doctors and patient from virus biological infection and PM2.5 dust, pandemic news ...
Read More
How to Self-Monitor
It's important to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially to those most vulnerable. That's why it's essential to watch for symptoms. Here's how to self-monitor if you are asked by your health care provider or public health unit to watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Monitor for symptoms ...
Read More
Hand Hygiene
Washing your hands is on of the best ways to keep yourself safe from the novel coronavirus. Click here to download a printable poster. Step 1 Wet hands with warm running water. Step 2 Apply soap, any type will clean your hand effectively. Step 3 Rub hands palm to palm ...
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Image of different home cleaning products sitting on the floor in a row
It is essential to clean and disinfect common surfaces to reduce the spread of illnesses like COVID-19. Here's what to do: What you should know Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19. Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated. Check the expiry date of products you ...
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Follow us for COVID-19 Updates

You can find and follow updates on COVID-19 in your local community via the following HKPR resources:

Subscribe by email to receive updates

If you have questions about COVID-19, you can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020 or email at info@hkpr.on.ca

Preventing Injuries During COVID-19

Home is the best place to be during COVID-19, especially with directives to self-isolate, practise physical distancing and limit non-essential trips. 

With most injuries to young children already occurring at home, the risk can increase for everyone due to the change in daily routine during COVID-19. Consider: 

  • Overwhelmed parents/caregivers juggling work-at-home and child-care duties may not see the risks around them.  
  • Children who are curious, bored and full of energy may be tempted to try new and unsafe activities.  
  • Homeowners anxious to use down time to do renovations may take on projects without proper tools or know-how.  

Add substances like alcohol or marijuana use to the mix, and there’s a recipe for disaster – and injury!  

The key to avoiding injuries is prediction and prevention. Slow down, consider the risks and make a plan. Could you temporarily move your home office to the backyard so the kids can play and be supervised?  Instead of rushing into it into yourself, could you put off doing a home-reno project until after the pandemic is over so you can hire an expert or order the proper tools?   

Additional Resources 

Despite your best efforts, injuries can still happen and may require medical treatment. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, call your family doctor, go to the hospital ER or call 9-1-1. If you are self-isolating or have COVID-19 symptoms, please let responders know in advance. 

Mask Use during COVID-19

Face masks have become the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important to know when and how to wear a mask properly.

Medical masks (like surgical and N-95):
close up White protective hygenic mask isolated backgrounds for doctors and patient from virus biological infection and PM2.5 dust, pandemic news

These must be kept for health care providers and for those providing direct care for someone with COVID-19.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and need to seek medical care, wear a mask. Your health provider may also recommend you wear a mask while you’re seeking or waiting for care. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading around you when you cough or sneeze.

Masks MUST be put on, taken off and thrown out properly. If you need to wear a mask, be sure to clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. When wearing a mask, follow this Public Health Ontario fact sheet  on how to properly wear and throw away one.

Homemade (Cloth) Masks:

Non-medical masks (like homemade cloth masks and facial coverings) are NOT medical devices, are unregulated and are NOT proven to protect the person wearing them from getting COVID-19. The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 remains washing your hands with soap and water, staying home and avoiding close contact with others outside your household.

If worn properly, non-medical masks can help to cover your mouth and nose to prevent your respiratory droplets from contaminating other people or landing on common surfaces. However, wearing cloth masks can also give you a false sense of security and may in fact cause you to touch your face more often when adjusting the mask. 

Despite this, some people may choose to wear a mask when leaving their homes for essential trips (grocery store, pharmacy). The Ontario government is also recommending people use face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when physical distancing and keeping two metres’ distance from others may be challenging. This includes wearing face coverings on public transit, smaller grocery stores/pharmacies, or when receiving essential services. The Public Health Agency of Canada advises that putting on a homemade mask can possibly help protect others around you if you’re ill with COVID-19 and do not yet know it.

It’s good to wear a homemade mask or facial covering if it makes you feel safer and stops you from touching your face and mouth. But remember: do not touch your face with unwashed hands. You need to also continue practising physical distancing. 

Homemade masks or facial coverings should not be worn/put on by:

  • Children under age 2
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing
  • Someone who is unconscious, incapacitated or unable to remove the mask without help. 
How to Properly Use a Homemade Mask/Face Covering:  
  • Wash your hands immediately before putting it on and immediately after taking it off (use good hand hygiene while wearing it too)
  • Masks should fit snugly, but comfortably against your face (non-gaping) allowing you to breathe without restriction. Masks should be secured with ties or ear loops and have multiple fabric layers
  • Do not share cloth masks with others
  • Remember not to touch or rub your eyes while wearing it
  • Avoid moving, adjusting or touching your mask while using it, as it could become contaminated on the outside. 
  • Change face coverings if they get slightly wet or dirty
  • Wash the cloth mask after each use as it can get damp or dirty:
    • Put it directly into the washing machine or a bag that can be emptied into the washing machine and then disposed of
    • Cloth masks can be laundered with other items using a hot cycle, and then dried thoroughly.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after putting the mask into the laundry.
  • Homemade masks that cannot be washed should be thrown out in a properly lined garbage bin as soon as they get damp, dirty or crumpled. Do not throw used masks on the ground or in a shopping cart. Immediately after wash your hands with soap and water.

Summary Do’s and Don’ts for Using Homemade Masks/Face Coverings

Do:

  • Wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask
  • Practise good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering
  • Make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • Avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • Avoid touching the covering while using it
  • Change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do Not:

  • Share face coverings or face masks with others
  • Place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing
  • Use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask

Separating Fact From Fiction

Providing factual information about COVID-19 is important to fight fears about the virus19. Spreading lies and misinformation hurts people who read and believe it. Do your part by sharing factual, accurate COVID-19 information with family and friends.

Credible Sources of COVID-19 Information:

Find the Facts

Compiled from: World Health Organization (www.who.int), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), and John Hopkins Medicine (www.hopkinsmedicine.org )


I’ve heard a rumour that taking supplements can help treat COVID-19. 

FACT:  There is no evidence that any natural health product or supplement can prevent or treat COVID-19. These types of false and misleading claims put your health at risk. If you have purchased health products that claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19, stop using them immediately. Consult a health care provider if you have concerns. You should also report any false/misleading advertising or sale of products in Canada to federal regulators.   

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible, practise physical distancing when out on essential errands, and frequently wash your hands with soap and water. 


I read somewhere on the Internet that using cannabis helps treat COVID-19

FACT:  There is NO scientific evidence to show cannabis is effective in preventing or treating COVID-19. In fact, research shows inhaling cannabis smoke can have negative effects on your respiratory system.


It’s been said that sun, hot weather and hot temperatures will stop you from catching COVID-19.

FACT:  There is no evidence that temperature or weather conditions will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. Around the world, countries with different kinds of weather, climates and temperatures are reporting COVID-19 cases.


I’ve heard hot baths can prevent COVID-19.

FACT:  There is nothing to show taking a hot bath prevents COVID-19, although it can be a good way to relax. 


A friend said once you have COVID-19, you have it for life. 

FACT:  Research shows most people who get COVID-19 will recover and show no effects from it.


On social media, I saw a post that states holding your breath for 10 seconds without coughing or feeling pain means you don’t have COVID-19 

FACT:  Breathing exercises, like holding your breath for 10 seconds without coughing or feeling pain, tell you nothing about COVID-19. The best way to determine if you have the virus is through a lab test or doctor’s assessment.  


A drinking buddy told me drinking alcohol protects you from COVID-19.

FACT:  Drinking alcohol does not protect you from COVID-19. In fact, drinking alcohol frequently and in large amounts can lead to other health problems and injuries.   


My neighbour says mosquitoes spread COVID-19.

FACT:  COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, and there is no evidence mosquitoes spread the virus.


I saw somewhere how thermal scanners can detect COVID-19. 

FACT:  Thermal scanners are good at detecting people who have developed a fever, which is a symptom of COVID-19.  However, scanners cannot detect people who have COVID-19 without a fever.


What’s with this rumour that spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body will kill COVID-19. 

FACT:  Spraying alcohol or chlorine over your body is harmful to you. It will not kill a virus that is already inside your body. Those substances are most effective for disinfecting surfaces, when used properly.


Someone suggested I rinse my nose with saline to prevent infection from COVID-19.

FACT:  Rinsing your nose with saline does not protects people from COVID-19. However, there is some limited evidence that flushing your nose with saline rinse can help you recover more quickly from the common cold and help ease sinus symptoms.


There’s a person I know who eats lots of garlic and says it helps prevent COVID-19.

FACT:  Garlic has some important antimicrobial properties but eating it does not protect you from COVID-19.  


My teenaged son thinks he’s invincible from COVID-19 since he’s young.

FACT:  People of all ages can get sick from COVID-19. Older adults and people with medical conditions are more at risk, but anyone can get sick with the virus.


I thought I read somewhere how antibiotics can prevent and treat COVID-19.

FACT:  Antibiotics works against bacteria, not viruses like COVID-19. Sometimes antibiotics are used in hospital to treat patients with COVD-19, but this is done to prevent a bacterial infection.


Thank goodness there is a medicine to treat COVID-19.

FACT:  To date, no specific medicine is recommended to prevent or treat COVID-19. Symptoms can be treated, but nothing specific for COVID-19 has yet been developed.


I’ve heard from a Facebook friend that there is a vaccine to fight COVID-19.

FACT:  Currently, there is no vaccine for COVID-19, although work is underway to develop one. Finding a vaccine that is safe and effective for humans will take many months. 


My sister is a conspiracy theorist who believes COVID-19 was created by people. 

FACT:  COVID-19 was not created or released by people, nor is it tied to 5G mobile networks. Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is the likely cause of COVID-19.


My partner swears that taking lots of Vitamin C reduces the risk of COVID-19.

FACT:  Extra amounts of Vitamin C will not prevent infection. The body can only absorb a certain amount of Vitamin C. It then passes through the body as waste. 


My neighbour recommends an herbal remedy to fight COVID-19.

FACT:  There is no specific herbal remedy to prevent or treat the COVID-19 virus.


I’ve heard from friends that in all cases, you must stay indoors during COVID-19.

FACT:  Everyone is urged to stay close to home, but that does not mean staying inside for most people. You MUST stay indoors if isolating for 14 days under the federal Quarantine Act with symptoms present.

If you are self-isolating for 14 days because you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or have returned from travel with no symptoms, you must stay at home – on your property – until that period has ended.

You can go outdoors if the above do not apply to you (and you’re not sick) to get groceries/medication, walk the dog and get daily exercise. Anytime you go out, you need to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres from others..

Cleaning and Disinfecting During COVID-19

It is essential to clean and disinfect common surfaces to reduce the spread of illnesses like COVID-19. Here’s what to do:


What you should know
  • Commonly used cleaners and disinfectants are effective against COVID-19.
  • Frequently touched surfaces are most likely to be contaminated.
  • Check the expiry date of products you use and always follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Icon image of a tub of cleaning supplies
Clean frequently touched surfaces often
  • In addition to routine cleaning, surfaces that have frequent contact with hands should be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Examples include doorknobs, kitchens, light switches, toilet handles, counters, remotes, touch screen surfaces and keypads.
Icon image of a finger touching a surface

Select products

Cleaners
  • Break down grease and remove organic material from the surface.
  • Used separately before using disinfectants.
  • Can be purchased with cleaner and disinfectant combined in a single product
Icon of a sponge filled with bubbles
Disinfectants
  • Have chemicals that kill most germs.
  • Applied after the surfaces have been cleaned.
  • Have a drug identification number (DIN).
Icon of a spray bottle of disinfectant
Disinfectant Wipes
  • Have combined cleaners and disinfectants in one solution.
  • May become dry due to fast drying properties. Should be discarded if they become dry.
  • Not recommended for heavily soiled surfaces.
Prepare products for use
  • Where possible, use pre-mixed solution.
  • Read and follow manufacturer’s instructions to:
    • properly prepare solution
    • allow adequate contact time for disinfectant to kill germs (see product label)
    • wear gloves, if you have sensitive skin, when handling cleaning products including wipes or wash your hands after use
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings”

If you have questions about COVID-19, contact your health care provider, Telehealth 1-866-797-0000 or the HKPR District Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 x5020.

Self-Isolation

You MUST self-isolate in certain cases to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This helps protect you if you don’t have the virus. If you have the virus, self-isolating reduces the risk of you passing it on to others. 

Please Note: On April 14, 2020, the local Medical Officer of Health issued the following Class Order under Section 22 (5.01.1)  under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This order is designed to protect the health of local residents by reducing the spread of COVID-19 in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes. 

When to Self-Isolate
  1. If you’ve travelled outside of Canada and have just returned
  2. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or provide care to someone with symptoms
  3. If you do NOT have COVID-19 symptoms, but have been advised to self-isolate (strongly recommended if you are over age 70 and/or have existing medical conditions).

How to Self-Isolate
Stay home

Do not use public transportation, taxis or rideshares.

Do not go to work, school or other public places.


Avoid contact with others

No visitors unless essential (e.g. care providers)

Stay away from seniors and people with chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, lung problems, immune deficiency).

As much as possible, stay in a separate room away from other people in your home and use a separate bathroom if you have one.

Make sure that shared rooms have good airflow (e.g. open windows).

If these steps are not possible, keep a distance of at least two metres from others at all times.


Keep your distance

If you are in a room with other people, keep a distance of at least two metres 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.


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 will share.

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


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 safer.

Clean your hands after emptying the wastebasket.


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, or stay in a separate room.


What should I do if I develop symptoms?
  • Complete the COVID-19 Self-Assessment.
  • Contact Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) or your health care provider.
  • Anyone with whom you had close physical contact (e.g., in your household) in the two days before your symptoms started or after symptoms started should also self-isolate. If you have questions about this, call your local public health unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2050.
  • Isolate for 14 days beginning when your symptoms started.
  • After 14 days, you can stop isolating if you:
    • No longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved
    • Did not develop any symptoms. You MUST continue with physical distancing measures.
  • If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider for further direction.

Self-Isolating with NO COVID-19 Symptoms (Older Adults and people with existing medical conditions)

After 14 Days

If you do not develop symptoms after 14 days OR If you no longer have a fever and your symptoms have improved:

  • You can stop self-isolating, but for your protection, stay home except for essential trips (e.g. groceries and medication)
  • You MUST practise physical distancing measures when in public
  • Continue with frequent handwashing and avoid touching your face

If you are still unwell at 14 days, contact Telehealth or your health care provider for further direction.

Additional Resources
Watch our video on YouTube

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) How to self-isolate”

211 Community Support – Easily find/search government and community-based services during COVID-19.  Call or text 2-1-1 day or night to find support for all of life’s challenges. Live Chat also available Monday to Friday from 7 am to 9 pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities CAN I do outside? 

Download and print resources below:

Physical Distancing

NEW – Fact Sheet:  Physical Distancing – Public Health Ontario

You are strongly urged to practise physical distancing as much as possible anytime you’re outdoors or in the community. This is essential to slow the spread of COVID-19. This means limiting the number of people with whom you come in contact. To do this:

  • Keep a minimum two-metre (six-foot) distance between yourself and others. That’s roughly the length of a hockey stick.
  • Limit trips from home if possible. If you are going out, practise physical distancing every step of the way!
  • Get outside to exercise and be active, but do not do so in a group. Be sure to maintain a physical distance of at last 2 metres (6-feet) from others. Stay close to home if possible. As more parks and outdoor recreational amenities reopen, ensure you keep your distance in these places as well.
  • Avoid others by keeping a safe distance. Greet people with a wave, bow or nod, instead of handshake or hug. After being outside, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Limit, postpone or cancel small gatherings. If you can, connect with family and friends by phone or online.
  • Work from home if possible. Talk to your supervisor, manager, or employer about options. Cancel in-person business meetings. Instead, look at teleconferencing or video chat options.
  • Keep children at home as much as possible. Do not send children to daycare and avoid any ‘child play dates’ with other families until further notice.
  • Avoid visits to care facilities like long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing, and hospices.
  • For essential trips (like getting groceries), sanitize/wash your hands when entering or exiting building. Avoid long lineups. Use tap to pay instead of handling money.
  • If you have to go out for an essential trip via taxi or rideshare, be sure to keep the windows down.
  • Do NOT use public transit if you are sick. Self-isolate at home right away.
  • If you must use public transit, wash hands often, keep a two-metre distance between other passengers and aim to travel in non-peak hours.
  • Avoid large gatherings of more than five people. This is also now a requirement, as Ontario is banning groups of five or more people. The only exceptions are families with more than five people and child care centres supporting frontline health care workers and first responders (so long as each centre does not exceed 50 people). Funerals are permitted, but only with up to 10 people at a time.

Remember: While you may not feel sick, and while these measures may seem inconvenient, they are important to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to those who are more vulnerable, including seniors and people with compromised immune systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities CAN I do outside? 

Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

How to Self-Monitor

It’s important to take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially to those most vulnerable. That’s why it’s essential to watch for symptoms.

Here’s how to self-monitor if you are asked by your health care provider or public health unit to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.

Monitor for symptoms for 14 days after exposure for fever, cough or difficulty breathing

Image of three characters representing someone having a fever, another with a cough and a third with difficulty breathing
Avoid Public Spaces

Avoid crowded public spaces and places where you cannot easily separate yourself from others if you become ill.

What to do if you develop these or any other symptoms?
  • Self-isolate immediately and contact your public health unit at 1-866-888-4577 extension 5020, your health care provider or take a self-assessment online.
  • To self-isolate you will need:
    • Soap, water and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands
  • If you visit your health care provider, avoid using public transportation such as subways, taxis and shared rides. If unavoidable, wear a mask and keep a two-metre distance from others or use the back seat if in a car.

This information is from the Public Health Ontario fact sheet “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) How to self-monitor

Additional Resource:

211 Community Support – Easily find/search government and community-based services during COVID-19.  Call or text 2-1-1 day or night to find support for all of life’s challenges. Live Chat also available Monday to Friday from 7 am to 9 pm.

Download and print resources below:

Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download
Image of Are You Sick? AODA compliant poster – click to download

Are You Sick?
Poster

Respiratory Etiquette

Health is in our hands! Let’s prevent the spread of COVID-19 by using simple, but effective steps to protect our health:

Cover Your Cough

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in the waste basket

Young girl blowing her nose into a tissue
Sneeze in Your Sleeve

If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.

Mask

You may be asked to put on a facemask to protect others.

Wash Hands

Wash hands often with soap and warm water for 15 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Woman washing hands.
Watch our video on YouTube
Additional Resources

How to Cover Your Cough – Public Health Ontario

Download and print resources below:

Hand Hygiene

Washing your hands is on of the best ways to keep yourself safe from the novel coronavirus. Click here to download a printable poster.

Step 1

Wet hands with warm running water.

Step 2

Apply soap, any type will clean your hand effectively.

Step 3

Rub hands palm to palm

Step 4

Lather the backs of your hands

Step 5

Clean thumbs

Step 6

Wash fingernails and fingertips

Step 7

Rinse hands

Step 8

Dry with a single use towel

Step 9

Use the towel to turn off the faucet

Watch our YouTube video
Additional Resources:

Download and print resources below:

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