COVID-19 Update as Province begins reopening

As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) asks residents to follow updated public health recommendations.

As workplaces, services and public locations prepare to accept more people, the province is recommending that individuals wear a face covering where physical distancing is not possible. The province has released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible.

“I support the latest provincial direction,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health. “It is also incredibly important that we all continue to wash our hands often, stay at home if we feel ill, and practise physical distancing by staying at least two metres apart from anyone outside our household.”

Although more than two weeks had passed in Huron and Perth without a new case of COVID-19, HPPH has learned that a resident of Maitland Manor long-term care home in Goderich has tested positive. The resident was tested after showing symptoms of the virus. The resident is in stable condition and contact tracing is ongoing.

This case is a reminder that despite the downward trend in number of cases, the virus is still circulating in our communities and we cannot become complacent. We all still need to maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and stay home when sick.

With the warmer weather upon us and outdoor recreation areas opening up, Huron Perth Public Health has received many inquiries around gatherings. Here is what you need to know:

  • Outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, are now permitted to be open. BUT playgrounds, fitness equipment, swimming pools, splash pads are still closed.
  • Remember, you cannot gather in groups of more than 5 people, unless they are all from the same household. It’s still important that people not share food and drinks with people who are outside of their household and not invite new people into your household.
  • If you are outside, maintain a two-metre distance from people who are not in your household.
  • While the order restricting gatherings of more than 5 people will remain in place until May 29, it is under review and the province is examining how to expand that number. An announcement is expected this week or next.

“As places start to re-open, I ask that everyone be patient and considerate as businesses, services and public locations put measures in place to keep everyone safe,” adds Dr. Klassen.

Testing to monitor for COVID-19 cases and identify any outbreaks will be important during these reopening stages. The testing capacity in Ontario has increased, and as a result we can test more symptomatic people in our communities beyond the priority populations.

Testing is available every day of the week at testing collection sites across Huron-Perth (by appointment). If you have symptoms, contact your family doctor who will provide an assessment over the phone to see if you should be tested. For people without a family doctor, call Huron Perth Public Health.

 

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