Those over 70 ‘should not leave their home unless absolutely necessary,’ says Medical Officer of Health

EASTERN ONTARIO — Individuals over 70 years old “should” stay home now and not leave “unless absolutely necessary,” says Eastern Ontario Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, in a local directive issued yesterday that’s on top of the provincial state-of-emergency restrictions imposed by the premier of Ontario.

Listen to Dr. Roumeliotis’s March 17 media briefing, below.

Beyond the stay-at-home recommendation specifically aimed at the over-70 crowd, Dr. Roumeliotis has also directed that in his jurisdiction:

• Everyone should stay/work at home as much as possible and avoid non-essential outings;

• Churches and places of worship should close;

• Everyone should avoid non-essential international travel, and that residents who have travelled outside of Canada, including to the United States, must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

The local directives are on top of the legally binding rules put in place as a result of Premier Ford’s declaration of a state of emergency yesterday. Those mandated closures include:

• All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
• All gyms;
• All public libraries;
• All private schools;
• All licensed childcare centres;
• All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as
well as cinemas that show movies;
• All concert venues;
• All bars and nightclubs;
• All dine-in restaurants, with an exception for take-out business.

The provincial order also prohibits all organized public events of more than 50 people, including parades and communal services within places of worship.

Public transit, shopping malls, grocery stores and pharmacies remain exempt from the mandated closures.

The EOHU advises residents to be ready for the possibility that such orders may expand, depending on the circumstances.

“We’re encouraging everyone to stay home, and stay safe, wherever possible,” says Dr. Roumeliotis. He adds that such measures will help protect all residents, including those who are most vulnerable, while also helping to ensure that healthcare professionals can focus their efforts on those who need it most.

The doctor says the EOHU continues to plan for the establishment of five or six COVID-19 testing centres near local hospitals in the five eastern counties. Should community spread become established, those centres will convert into “assessment centres” where the medical professionals on site will assume anyone showing symptoms is infected.


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