I have seen many posts over the past week about people witnessing those who should be in self-isolation out and about in the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to take this time to share some information to clear this up for our readers
This pandemic is evolving rapidly, with sometimes contradicting information and new developments happening hourly.
Here is the latest as far as self-isolation and social distancing goes.
If you just returned from a trip abroad, even to the state of New York, stay home, you are legally required self-isolate. Individuals in this situation should not being going to any stores or public gatherings of any kind. People cannot come over to your house to visit, you cannot go to other people’s houses, you cannot go to work, and your family has to self-isolate with you even if they did not travel.
Going out for a walk with your dog is fine, as long as you remain two meters from other individuals.
Make sure that you have enough medical supplies and groceries on hand so that you are prepared to remain in self-isolation for two weeks. If there are any supplies that you need, a family member or friend who is not in self-isolation can go and get that for you and drop it off at your door.
Finally, if you should outright ignore your need to self-isolate after travelling or coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) can enforce an order of quarantine on you and your family, which means that you will not have the choice to self-isolate, and likely would not even be allowed outdoors. Any orders of quarantine issued by the Health Unit will be enforced by the police. Those violating the orders could face fines and other legal repercussions.
I have also seen people out and about while wearing N-95 protective masks. If you do not have COVID-19, wearing a mask will not prevent you from getting it. If you do have COVID-19 a mask might prevent you from spreading the disease, for a couple of hours, then it would need to be changed. However, if you have COVID-19, mask or not, you should not be out in public at all.
Now, self-isolation and social distancing, whether we like it or not, is becoming much easier to practice, because there is not much else left to do.
Most events have been cancelled. All schools are closed. All non-essential businesses in the province have been closed for two weeks by the order of the Premier. Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. The City of Cornwall has placed blockers on Cornwall Transit buses to enforce social distancing. There are still a few places where we can travel where there might be large crowds.
Grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals for example, all will remain open. Only go to one of these places if you absolutely have to, and if you do, try to remain at least two meters from everyone else.
My dad is in his 70s and has always done the family grocery shopping for as long as I can remember. Every grocery store in town now has senior only shopping hours in the early mornings, usually around 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. and he takes advantage of these. He also washes his hands frequently, and cleans his clothes when he gets home. For a member of a demographic that is especially vulnerable to COVID-19, my dad is taking the right steps. Way to go.
This is without a doubt a troubling time. It is not only our physical health that is at risk, but our mental health as well and the health of our community. Let’s not underplay the seriousness of this situation. People can, and will die from this. We need to each to do our part to weather this pandemic the best as we can. Self-isolating after returning from a trip, working from home, avoiding public places accept when necessary, these are small prices to pay when weighed against someone’s life; someone who might not survive COVID-19, even if you are young and healthy. Please think about your actions, everyone, and do your part in this unprecedented crisis.
That being said, Seaway News continues to be here for our readers every week. We want to keep you well informed with all kinds of news. Do you have a story to share? Email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org