EASTERN ONTARIO — The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) is reminding the public that in order to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19, it’s important to keep practising physical distancing, and to stay at home as much as possible. With COVID-19 circulating within the community, it also means self-isolating for anyone feeling unwell.
“After more than a month of physical distancing and staying home, it’s not unusual to be experiencing some restlessness,” acknowledges Dr. Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health. “I understand that it’s difficult on everyone – kids, adults, businesses and communities. But physical distancing and staying at home are working. The spread of COVID-19 is finally beginning to slow.”
Because most Ontarians have been following public health advice, the province is starting to see the benefits of the closures and restrictions that have been in place. There are signs the curve of COVID-19 infection in Ontario may be flattening. This is true in the EOHU region as well. But to continue the trend and avoid a surge in new infections, it is critical to continue following public health advice.
“We’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. But what we do today will impact how long we have to keep public health measures in place, including staying at home, event cancellations, and closures of schools, facilities and businesses,” says Dr. Roumeliotis. “Every day that we follow these measures gets us closer to being able to relax restrictions.” He warns that lifting restrictions too soon will likely result in an increase in COVID-19 spread and a return to strict measures to bring it back under control.
To continue slowing the spread of COVID-19, the EOHU is urging residents to do the following:
- Stay at home as much as possible. Every time you leave your home, you increase your risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
- Practise good infection prevention: clean your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue (not your hand).
- Do not invite others to your home or property. Garage sales and yard sales are prohibited.
- If you must leave home to shop for or pick up essentials: limit to once a week or less, shop alone, avoid going to multiple stores, and make sure to respect physical distancing and other shopping etiquette.
- Do not gather with other people outside stores or drive-through restaurants, in parking lots or other areas.
- If you’re not feeling well, do not leave your home unless it’s for medical reasons. Do not go out to shop or to work. If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed, you must isolate at home as required by public health Order.
- Employers must protect clients and employees by ensuring they’re meeting infection prevention requirements in the public health Order for essential businesses serving customers.
Dr. Roumeliotis adds that both shoppers and retailers have a responsibility to ensure that essential service stores (such as grocery stores or pharmacies) can operate safely. This means that shoppers should limit trips to stores, respect physical distancing and follow store instructions. For essential retailers, it means that store management and employees must adhere to infection prevention requirements, including screening staff for illness and ensuring that employees who are unwell stay home. Guidelines and tools for essential retailers and workplaces are available on the EOHU’s website.
For more recommendations on how to stay safe and avoid getting or spreading COVID-19, visit the EOHU’s website at www.EOHU.ca/coronavirus. Information and a COVID-19 self-assessment tool are also available on the Ontario government’s website at www.Ontaro.ca/coronavirus.