The number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow across the globe and in Canada. Canada now has just over 1400 cases and over 20 deaths. Ontario now has 489 confirmed cases.
Every person is being asked to practice social distancing to prevent spread of COVID-19 and to protect the lives of vulnerable people and health care professionals. This means staying home as much as possible and maintaining a 2-meter (6 foot) distance from any person that you are not currently living with. Do not leave the house for anything that is not essential. Limit or combine essential tripe (ie. grocery store and essential medical appointments) as much as possible.
It is possible to spread the virus without exhibiting symptoms. There is no person or age group that is immune to the virus. If you do not practice social distancing, you are putting vulnerable people and the health care systems at risk.
All persons over 70 years of age and all individuals who are immunocompromised (including those with chronic illness or multimorbidity) are advised to self-isolate. This means not leaving your home or seeing other people that you do not live with. Wherever possible, you should seek services over the phone or internet and ask for help/delivery from friends, family, or neighbours for essential errands.
Anyone returning from travel outside of Canada is expected to self-isolate for 14 days immediately upon return. Any person who exhibits any symptoms is expected to immediately self-isolate and use the Ontario online-self assessment tool to determine the best course of action. This tool is available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-self-assessment
The Canadian Government has closed borders for all non-Canadian or non-permanent residents. The U.S.-Canada border is closed for all non-essential travel, but will remain open for trade, commerce, and service purposes.
Ontario has declared a state of emergency and requested closure of non-essential businesses and applied prohibitions and restrictions to public gatherings. (See Ontario website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-1)
Grocery stores and pharmacies are to remain open. Please do not panic buy. Limit your trips out as much as possible and offer to help those who are self-isolating. Use caution when you must go out. When in store, maintain distance from others, wear gloves if possible (throw out or wash as soon as you get home), practice proper sneeze & cough etiquette, never touch your face, and wash your hands as soon as you get home.
Though there are currently no enforcement measures in Ontario for these public health measures, this is a possibility. Other regions are already implementing enforcement measures that include measures such as fines and jail time.
Public Health Unit Contact: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system/services/phu/locations.aspx
Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000
How to self-isolate: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-10
Symptoms and Treatment: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-8
State of Emergency: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-1
How to protect yourself: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-9
Ontario COVID website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus