As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across Simcoe, Muskoka, and Ontario as a whole, the local medical officer of health is putting his foot down.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Dr. Charles Gardner has issued a class order to enforce self-isolation requirements. The order took effect Tuesday.
Under this order from the medical officer of health, anyone in Simcoe or Muskoka who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, have signs or symptoms of the disease or are awaiting test results, have come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or otherwise has grounds to suspect they have contracted the virus are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
“Cases of COVID-19 are sharply on the rise in our communities and we need to make every effort to protect residents of Simcoe Muskoka from potential exposure to COVID-19,” said Dr. Gardner. “This order enables us to enforce existing self-isolation requirements for all individuals who have been advised to do so in a quick and efficient manner, reducing delays that could significantly increase the risk to the health of our residents.”
Those who fail to comply with this order may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 a day. This order falls under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Gardner said by-law and police officers have no authority to enforce the order and it will fall on the health unit to ensure there is compliance.
“We felt we needed to have this in place because we were not getting compliance on a fairly regular basis. We wanted to take this additional step to see if it would help us with compliance.”