The City of Peterborough and Peterborough County have declared states of emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a press conference at city hall on Monday afternoon, Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien said the declaration reinforces to residents the seriousness and urgency of the pandemic.
“We really need to convey that that is an emergency and people need to treat it as such,” she said.
To date, there have been three confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in the jurisdiction of Peterborough Public Health, which includes the city and county’s municipalities. One of the cases was confirmed to be associated with Trent University’s Peterborough campus.
The mayor continued to ask residents to practise self-isolation if showing symptoms of COVID-19 and to continue social distancing and remain home as much as possible to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“No one — whether you recently travelled or not — should be having family over or inviting a friend over for coffee is not self-isolating,” she said. “Hosting a family birthday party is not self-isolating.
“This can be a life-or-death situation and we must treat it as such.”
Peterborough County warden J. Murray Jones joined the press conference via telephone to say the county was also declaring a state of emergency.
“We work hand-in-hand with the city because we indeed we are all in this together,” he said. “Drastic times call for drastic measures and we are pushing a button as hard as we can get to people to understand how serious this issue is.”
Jones says he continues to hear anecdotal information about people in the county not staying home.
“People in cottage country who come from Toronto – having just got back from Florida – and they’re out and about walking around and this has got to stop,” he said.
“We have to get ugly over this issue and we are going to do just that.”
Both municipal leaders said the declaration may provide access to provincial funding for actions related to the emergency and relief, should funding become available.
Therrien thanked everyone who has been practising social distancing, residents posting encouraging messages, businesses who have contributed to the food bank, first responders and health-care officials and media who have helped deliver the city’s urgent messages.
“Be safe, be well and stay the heck home,” Therrien concluded.
Peterborough Public Health urges people to use the self-assessment tool if you believe you are showing signs of COVID-19.