School closures and recommended crowd-size limit will fight spread of COVID-19, EOHU emphasizes

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health.

CORNWALL — The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is emphasizing that the Ontario government’s closure of all publicly-funded schools until April 5 and recommended cancellation of all gatherings over 250 people are important measures to prevent and control spread of COVID-19.

“The school closures and limit on gatherings are important containment measures that can help prevent or limit spread into the community,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health, in a press release issued last night.

The goal is to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect vulnerable individuals and to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system, as has happened in Italy.

“It’s important to understand that the mandatory closures do not mean that COVID-19 is spreading uncontrollably in Ontario. It isn’t,” adds the doctor. “In fact, all cases to date in Ontario have been linked to travel — not community spread. This is good news.”

Roumeliotis also points out that, to date, there have been no confirmed cases in the EOHU’s jurisdiction (which covers Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties, along with the City of Cornwall and Prescott and Russell counties).

He underlines that individuals and families should also take personal steps to help avoid the spread of infection. “Evidence shows that these are very effective precautions for protecting yourself and others.”

The EOHU recommends:

• Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Sneeze and coughing into your sleeve.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick.
• Where possible, practise social distancing such as keeping two metres from other individuals and avoiding crowded spaces. This is especially important for seniors or individuals with underlying health problems.

The EOHU is also reiterating the government’s recommendation to avoid or postpone non-essential travel outside of Canada for the time being.

Official online Canadian and local COVID-19 information (along with recommendations for travellers) include www.Canada.ca/coronavirus, www.Ontario.ca/coronavirus and www.EOHU.ca/coronavirus.

 

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