I’m writing this column on Day 67 of the COVID-19 Emergency and as Cornwall adjusts to its new reality, so does the Cornwall Police Service. Trends are emerging and I will be reporting on them in detail to the Cornwall Police Services Board on June 4th.
In my role as Chief of Police I think it’s important to acknowledge that during this historically unprecedented time, the citizens of Cornwall have displayed tremendous fortitude and courage in the manner in which they’ve conducted themselves.
Cornwall’s general adherence to the Public Health Guidelines and to the Emergency Orders issued by the Province of Ontario have,in my opinion, played a major role in the relatively low numbers of COVID positive cases seen in Cornwall to date. I refer to it as general adherence because CPS officers have responded to 214 complaints under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and the Emergency Orders associated to it in 67 days. Though our officers have emphasized public education, 7 charges have been laid for failing to comply with the EMCPA Orders.
Cornwall’s relatively low numbers of COVID positive cases may be a mixed blessing as some people in our Community may be tempted to dismiss the pandemic as someone else’s problem and ignore physical distancing measures put in place to reduce the spread of the virus. For the sake of everyone, but especially for our Seniors, please don’t discard the hard work that brought us to this point in our recovery.
Mirroring the Province, the Cornwall Police Service has entered its own Phase One of recovery. For the most part this has included catching up on some very important tasks which were set aside to deal with pandemic planning and operations.
The majority of CPS Support Staff and some Operational Resources continue to work remotely. Preparations to ensure CPS workspaces comply with Provincial Health and Safety guidelines are well underway and upon completion, more CPS staff will return to the workplace. I anticipate this occurring as Ontario enters its second phase of the reopening process.
In order to continue with public health safety precautions, CPS Headquarters remains closed to the public and non-emergency calls for service are being handled by telephone. I anticipate these measures to continue until much later in the reopening phase as we try to conserve our Personal Protection Equipment and keep our police officers, their families and members of the public safe from coming into contact with the COVID-19 virus.
As warmer weather has arrived I know we are all anxious to get outside and do something. When outside your home please remember to practice physical distancing and to wear a cloth mask in situations where 6 feet distance cannot be maintained. Please continue to wash your hands frequently with soap and water and don’t touch your face. If you have questions about COVID-19 and how to keep yourself and your family safe, visit eohu.ca/en/covid.
Stay healthy and stay safe.