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Guelph’s top doc urges residents to stop visiting homes of extended family, friends

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Guelph’s public health unit says people visiting homes of friends and family has become the number one cause of spreading COVID-19.

As a result, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health’s medical officer of health is urging residents to not visit homes or allow visitors into their homes.

Read more: Ontario government considering extending winter break in schools amid coronavirus pandemic

“It is now clear that people acquire COVID-19 from their friends and family in a home setting,” Dr. Nicola Mercer said in a statement on Tuesday.

The disease is then taken into schools, workplaces, places of worship and long-term care homes or hospitals, Mercer said.

“The reality of this disease is then seen in classroom closures, loss of income for many and, sadly, death for some,” she said.

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As of Tuesday, there are 36 cases active cases in Guelph and 51 in Wellington County. The region was placed into the orange alert level in Ontario’s coronavirus response framework on Monday.

Read more: Guelph facilities enhance screening as city moves into orange alert level

Mercer recommends avoiding occasions like birthday parties, sleepovers, playdates, coffee dates, game nights and dinner parties.

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While it’s not mandated by a law or an order within her power, Mercer said everyone should comply as fully as possible to stop the spread.

“I know it will be difficult for everyone,” she said.

Mercer added some more recommendations if it’s absolutely necessary to have a visitor come into their home.

“If someone you love has to come into your home for mental or physical health reasons, wear masks at all times and keep apart as much as possible, wash hands and get tested if symptoms develop,” she said.

Everyone should wear a mask if anyone comes over to do repairs, maintenance or provide personal support. Mercer recommends everyone also keep two metres apart or stay in separate rooms if possible.

Residents can still go to work or school, volunteer, get groceries and essentials, walk pets and be outside with a friend, but everyone should still keep six feet apart and wear a mask.

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Mercer added that residents have already done a great job acting responsibly during the pandemic, pointing to the fact that Guelph, along with Wellington and Dufferin counties, were the first to wear masks.

“It did make a difference,” she said. “Now, not allowing people into your homes will help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Mercer reminded residents that COVID-19 will not last forever and there has been some good news about vaccines.

Read more: Canada’s coronavirus vaccine rollout — Who will get it first?

“Until everyone is safe from COVID-19, we all need to avoid the number one cause of its spread,” she said.

“You have done so much already. But this what is required now, so we have all our friends and family with us when this is over.”

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