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The chief medical health officer for Eastern Ontario welcomes the enact- ment of the Quarantine Act as part of federal action to contain the COVID-19 pandemic but would like more informa- tion on how the plan will work. i8FSFXBJUJOHGPSNPSFEFUBJMT uTBJE Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, chief medical health officer for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), during his March 25 daily media teleconference. Earlier that day federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced a Quarantine Act emergency order, which demands that anyone entering Canada by land, sea, or air, must go into automatic self-isolation for 14 days. The mandatory quarantine ap- plies whether or not a person shows any symptoms of COVID-19. The emergency order is the latest phase of the federal strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) began enforcing the mandatory quarantine order at all airports, sea ports, and also Canada-U.S. border crossing stations at midnight March 25. Penalties for violating the quarantine order can be as much as $750,000 in fines and/or six months in jail. Anyone who cre- ates a risk of death or serious bodily harm to another person because they chose to break quarantine could end up paying up to $1000 in fines, or spend up to three years in jail, or receive both a fine and a jail term. The emergency order will give law-enforcement and health authorities the power to do spot Public awareness about the need to pay attention and follow pandemic preven- tion rules is one of the main reasons behind the state of emergency declara- tion for the Eastern Ontario region. “Some folks are still not getting it,” said Stéphane Parisien, chief administrator for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), during a telephone interview on Friday, March 27. On March 26 Mayor Bernadette Clement BOE8BSEFOT1JFSSF-FSPVYPGUIF6$13BOE Frank Prevost of the United Counties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (SDG) declared a region-wide state of emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration had the support of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU), which has confirmed four cases of COVID-19 in the region and anticipates more cases may occur either through community transmis- sion between individuals or as residents of Cornwall and the Five Counties areas return home from vacations abroad. The EOHU has concerns that new cases for the region may result from Canadians returning home from winter sojourns in Florida, a popular semiretirement location for “snowbirds,” PSXIPNBEFTUPQTJO/FX:PSL$JUZXIJMF driving towards the border. Both Florida and /FX:PSL$JUZBSFiIPUTQPUTuGPS$07*% in the U.S.


Mandatory quarantine is in effect now for any Canadians still returning home from abroad as part of the federal plan to combat the COVID-19 epidemic. Canadians who ignore the federal government’s demand that they isolate themselves for 14-days risk severe financial penalties and even imprisonment. Health authorities for the Eastern Ontario region welcome the mandatory quarantine order but want more details on how it will be enforced at Canada-U.S. border crossings to deal with Canadians returning home by car or RV. —supplied photo


East Hawkesbury Township Mayor Robert Kirby has declared an official state of emergency to “better man- age” the COVID-19 pandemic for his municipality. “I hope everyone is trying to follow the (pandemic) guidelines that exist because this is a serious situation,” Mayor Kirby said during a phone interview today (March 27). The township’s state of emergency or- der follows in the wake of the joint decla- ration March 26 by the mayor of Cornwall and the wardens for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell and the United Coun- ties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry of an official state of emergency for their areas regarding the pandemic. There are no confirmed cases of CO- VID-19 in East Hawkesbury Township but Mayor Kirby noted that the state of emer- gency declaration is a “precautionary move” to make sure the municipality has access to any form of senior government funding assistance that may become available to help Ontario communities during the pandemic. “If there is any available aid,” he said, “we want to be there ready.” Other municipalities, like Toronto and Guelph, have declared states of emergency for their areas due to the pandemic. The federal government and all of the provincial and territorial governments have also declared states of emergency as part of their COVID-19 pandemic strategies.

checks to make sure people under quaran- tine are staying in self-isolation. The main focus of the emergency quar- antine order is to deal with Canadians still returning home from abroad. Outside of those in the City of Ottawa, there are nearly 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Eastern Ontario region. Dr. Roumeliotis is concerned about any cases arriving in the region via the Canada-U.S. border crossings. His main concern is that Canadian “snow- birds” from Florida, and others driving back to Ontario from trips elsewhere in the U.S., NBZQBTTUISPVHI/FX:PSL$JUZPOUIFJSXBZ IPNF#PUI'MPSJEBBOE/FX:PSL$JUZBSF

COVID-19 “hot spots” in the U.S. Canadians who did not have the disease when they started for home may be at risk of getting JUJGUIFZIBWFUPTUPQJO/FX:PSL$JUZGPS any reason. “That’s one of the things that worries NF uTBJE%S3PVNFMJPUJTi8FEPFYQFDU to get more cases.” Dr. Roumeliotis wonders if the CBSA will set up a preliminary screening procedure at checkpoints to determine if some Canadians have COVID-19 or not, or if they will just tell everyone who arrives about the mandatory quarantine and assume those people will honour the emergency order.

GREGG CHAMBERLAIN EMERGENCY STATE ORDER HIGHLIGHTS PANDEMIC PREPARATION “This (emergency declaration) is to get folks to recognize that we are in a pandemic,” said Parisien, adding that there are still reports of people congregating in groups while out grocery shopping or doing other activities. “They need to practice social distancing.” Pandemic prevention penalties, including both fines and jail terms, for individuals who break quarantine rules aimed at fighting the pandemic.

COVID-19 prevention strategies for the public include staying at home as much as possible and avoiding any unnecessary USBWFM8IFOHPJOHPVUUPCVZHSPDFSJFT NFEJ - cations, or dealing with necessary errands, people are urged to maintain at least a two-metre distance between themselves and others. Proper hygiene, including thorough washing of the hands with soap and water, is also emphasized.

Both Canada and all the provincial and territorial governments have declared states of emergency as part of their strategies for dealing with the pandemic. The Ontario government has amended its health protec- tion regulations to include financial penalties for individuals and businesses which create public health risks during the pandemic. The federal government has also invoked the Quarantine Act, with a mandatory 14-day quarantine period now for any Canadian returning home from abroad, regardless whether or not they show symptoms of CO- VID-19. The Quarantine Act provides severe ONLINE NEWSPAPERS




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