Have a different celebration this year: stay safe and stop the spread

As the world continues to try and stop the spread of COVID-19, the province of Ontario, including Huron and Perth counties, are under emergency orders that prohibit gatherings of more than 5 people. For residents of Huron and Perth marking upcoming religious events such as Easter, Passover or Ramadan, or family birthdays, celebrations will look different this spring.

“I am confident that residents can mark religious events or celebrate birthdays or family events while respecting physical distancing,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health. “It’s very important that we connect with each other through different ways, such as telephone, internet or outside from a safe distance. Do not host people (inside or outside) who do not already live in your home.”

Even if you are heading outside in the upcoming weeks, with less than 5 people in your group, think carefully about whether you can actually keep two metres between everyone. “We know it can be difficult to remember to not pass around food or show someone your phone,” says Dr. Klassen. “Children may understandably struggle with understanding the 2-metre rule and keeping the right amount of distance.”

Residents should also keep in mind that the restrictions on gatherings to under 5 people have been made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. While our local police services prefer education, awareness and compliance, penalties can be imposed on people who choose to go against the Emergency Order. Charges can also be laid under the Quarantine Act at the request of a screening officer or quarantine officer.

 

Current Cases in Huron Perth

As of April 8, there are 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Huron and Perth. One person remains in hospital in London and the rest are self-isolating at home. Currently, two long-term care homes have confirmed cases of COVID-19: Hillside Manor (1 case) and Greenwood Court (8 cases). Huron Perth Public Health continues to work closely with the long-term care homes to contain the outbreak and protect the residents and staff.

The HPPH website is updated daily with confirmed case counts received within the last 24 hours. “Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Dr. Klassen.

 

Weekend Hours for Huron Perth Public Health

Public Health work will continue over the weekend, with public health staff following up on any new cases of COVID-19, helping to manage outbreaks in long-term care homes, and continuing surveillance of ongoing cases and contacts. The website with confirmed case numbers will be updated daily over the weekend. As well, the Health Line phone intake line will be open daily from Friday, April 10 to Monday, April 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“These are critical weeks ahead as we all try to flatten the curve as much as possible,” says Dr. Klassen. “We owe it to our frontline and essential workers, to our family, friends and neighbours to practice good hygiene, practice physical distancing and limit our outings and gatherings. This is the only way we can minimize the risk to people, stop the spread and ease the strain on our healthcare system.”

 

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