Today, as part of the Grey Bruce Health Unit’s ongoing response to COVID-19, Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Grey Bruce, Dr. Ian Arra is asserting the federal requirement under the Quarantine Act for all individuals returning from international travel to immediately self-isolate for fourteen days from the date of their return to Canada.
Self-isolation means that you should not leave your home or have others visit you. You should seek services over the phone or internet or ask for help from friends, family or neighbours for essential errands.
Dr. Arra warned individuals or groups of persons who fail to comply with the requirement, and owners/managers of multi-unit dwellings who fail to ensure compliance in their buildings/properties will be subject to an order issued by the Medical Officer of Health under Sections 13 or 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
13 (1) A medical officer of health or a public health inspector, in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (2), by a written order may require a person to take or to refrain from taking any action that is specified in the order in respect of a health hazard. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, s. 13 (1).
22 (1) A medical officer of health, in the circumstances mentioned in subsection (2), by a written order may require a person to take or to refrain from taking any action that is specified in the order in respect of a communicable disease. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, s. 22 (1).
(2) A medical officer of health may make an order under this section where he or she is of the opinion, upon reasonable and probable grounds,
(b) that the communicable disease presents a risk to the health of persons in the health unit served by the medical officer of health; and
(4) An order under this section may include, but is not limited to,
(a) requiring the owner or occupier of premises to close the premises or a specific part of the premises;
(c) requiring any person that the order states has or may have a communicable disease or is or may be infected with an agent of a communicable disease to isolate himself or herself and remain in isolation from other persons;
(h) requiring the person to whom the order is directed to conduct himself or herself in such a manner as not to expose another person to infection. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, s. 22 (4); 1997, c. 30, Sched. D, s. 3 (2).
As there is a provincial Declaration of Emergency and several municipalities in Bruce and Grey Counties, have also declared an emergency. The MOH, Dr. Arra, is strongly recommending against all non-essential travel to and from Bruce and Grey Counties.
All of us must respect social distancing and physical isolation requirements. Community-wide efforts are at the forefront of curbing the transmission of COVID-19:
- Maintain social and physical distancing, at least two metres, or six feet away from others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve or elbow
- Avoid touching your face and cleaning hands before touching eyes, nose or mouth.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces, especially those that are high-touch areas.
- If you are ill, stay at home and keep yourself away from others.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness
- Avoid all non-essential activity as recommended and declared by the province of Ontario
Dr. Arra is recommending this to protect the health and safety of all Grey Bruce residents and visitors. Every social interaction that does not take place will help in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 and in turn prevent spreading the virus to vulnerable groups, including older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions.
If you think you may have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, first self-isolate and then use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to seek further care. If you or someone you know is experiencing severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. If you need further assistance, call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your health care provider.