Ontario encourages local health units to enforce isolation of coronavirus cases, contacts: memo

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Coronavirus outbreak: Health official says surge of cases in Ontario expected
Ontario chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams spoke Tuesday about where the province was in terms of "flattening the curve" of the COVID-19 outbreak in Ontario – Mar 31, 2020

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health is “strongly recommending” that local health officials use their power to enforce isolation among positive novel coronavirus cases and contacts, according to a memo obtained by Global News.

“We must do more given the ongoing and increasing incidence of community transmission across the province,” David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said in the memo.

“Given the increasing number of cases, all public health units should implement more aggressive contact tracing and management as we work collectively to flatten the curve.”

READ MORE: Ontario reports 426 new coronavirus cases, total at 2,392 and 37 deaths

In the memo, Williams encourages local health officials to ensure isolation under Section 22 of the province’s Health Protection and Promotion Act, which states that through a written order, a local medical officer of health may mandate a person to refrain from or take any action in respect of a communicable disease.

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Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, an order may include:

  • Requiring a person who owns or occupies a property to close it or a part of it.
  • Mandating the placarding of a property to give notice of an order of required closure.
  • Mandating someone who is or may be infected with a communicable disease or an agent of it to isolate themselves from other people.
  • Requiring the cleaning or disinfecting of the property or object specified in the order.
  • Mandating the destruction of the matter or object specified in the order.
  • Requiring a person to be examined by a physician and to provide the medical officer of health with a doctor’s report as to whether that person has a communicable disease or is infected with an agent of it.
  • In respect of a communicable disease that is virulent, mandating a person to get care and treatment from a physician.
  • Requiring a person to conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t expose others to infection.

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On Wednesday, Ontario reported 426 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the largest single-day spike in the province so far. In total, Ontario has reported 2,392 cases of COVID-19, including 37 deaths.

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