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No new coronavirus cases Friday as City of Peterborough considers declaring state of emergency

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien speaks during a media conference at Peterborough Public Health on Friday, March 20. Jessica Nyznik/Global News Peterborough

No new cases of COVID-19 were reported Friday as Peterborough city and county officials encouraged unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Peterborough Public Health’s medical officer of health Dr. Rosana Salvaterra was joined by Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien and Peterborough County Warden J. Murray Jones for the daily media conference.

READ MORE: Peterborough Public Health launches in-home screening program for COVID-19

To date there have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 200 people tested under the health unit’s jurisdiction (Peterborough, Peterborough County, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation):

  • Case 1: A man who had travelled to Europe. He is associated with Trent University’s Peterborough campus.
  • Case 2: One of 12 people considered a “close contact” of the first case.
  • Case 3: A woman in her 70s who had recently travelled to Florida. There are five “close contacts” in this case.

Other statistics:

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  • Confirmed negative: 99
  • Under investigation: 103
  • Deceased: 0
  • Hospitalized cases: 0
  • Current status of hospitalized cases and unusual cases: n/a

“Please stay home if you have any symptoms,” said Salvaterra. “It’s just common sense.”

“Stay at home for at least 24 hours after your symptoms are gone,” she added.

Salvaterra noted the health unit received about 70 additional test swabs on Thursday after earlier in the week reporting a shortage.

She also thanked businesses that have already closed in an effort to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus or have implemented measures to encourage social distancing and reduce crowds.

Meanwhile Therrien said the pandemic is having a “huge economic” impact on the community and across the province.

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She says the city has discussed declaring a state of emergency but no decision has been made yet. Further discussion will be held later Friday, she said.

The mayor also noted the city is not considering any additional building for a COVID-19 assessment centre. Peterborough Regional Health Centre is operating a centre inside its emergency department.

Therrien encouraged teamwork for all residents to continue to practise vigilant social distancing and refrain from bulk buying food and other items such as toilet paper.

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“We are all in this together,” she said. “Stay home. Be kind. Use common sense. And take care of each other.”

She noted transit services are now free with a number of changes for passengers; however, she said to only use transit if required.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Peterborough offering free transit, closes household hazardous waste depot

Therrien also addressed concerns from the public about businesses such as Lansdowne Place mall remaining open.

“That is not up to the city, that comes from the province,” she noted.

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She also addressed inquiries about the city’s marginalized people after the One Roof Community Centre closed and reduced its meals — which are now being served outside the building at 1 p.m. — from twice daily to once a day.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 and Peterborough’s marginalized'
COVID-19 and Peterborough’s marginalized

“Staff have been working to find additional space and have more room,” said Therrien. “We have been working with the YES Shelter and Brock Mission and are possibly looking for hotel or motel space for people.”

The city’s social services is working with One Roof to attempt to resume two meals daily, however, a challenge is a lack of volunteers. The city has also offered to provide more funding to assist with purchasing prepared food that can be distributed through One Roof to help return to providing two meals a day.

Jones said the county office and the offices of its eight municipalities are closed but staff continue to work from home and are meeting by phone calls.

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“One of the biggest concerns is people not taking this serious enough,” said Jones, who praised paramedics who are now offering home COVID-19 assessments.

– With files from Jessica Nyznik and Tricia Mason – Global News Peterborough

More to come.

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