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COVID-19

COVID-19

Think you might have COVID-19 (coronavirus), or been exposed to it, or may be at risk of being exposed to it through your employment? Visit an assessment centre to get a COVID-19 test. If you are unsure if you should get a test, take the online self-assessment to help decide. If you have been tested you can check your lab results here

If this is a medical emergency, call 911. Advise them of your symptoms and if you have recently travelled.

Actions to protect yourself and others

Each of us can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and across the region. There are actions we should all take, described below, to protect ourselves and others whether we are connecting with friends, visiting our cottage, taking care of someone with COVID-19, shopping in our community or playing outdoors with our family.

  • Always
  • wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer 
  • sneeze and cough into your sleeve 
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth 
  • avoid contact with people who are sick 
  • stay home if you are sick 
  • Practise physical distancing to reduce exposure to other people — this means staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from anyone outside your household or social circle (see the next section for more information on this).
  • Wear a face covering in all indoor public spaces such as businesses, organizations, or riding on public transit. Also wear a face covering when physical distancing is not possible. Make sure it fits. Learn how to wear it properly  and follow the do’s and don’ts
  • Self-isolate if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, have a chronic medical condition, or are over 65.

As of Monday, July 13, 2020, when you enter into a public indoor space a (e.g. grocery store, community centre, shopping mall, hair salon, library, place of worship, etc.), or use a public transit service in Simcoe Muskoka, you will be required to wear a face covering.

A face covering means a medical or non-medical mask or other face covering such as a bandana or scarf that covers the mouth and nose.

Children under the age of 2 or those under 5 who cannot be persuaded, are not required to wear a face covering, as well as individuals whose health or ability, or cultural or religious reasons would prevent them from doing so. No proof of exemption is required.

These additional public health measures remain in effect in all settings:

  • Maintain physical distancing of two metres from others
  • Stay home if ill and get tested for COVID-19
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  •  

    What you need to know about wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces- FAQ

    Public Signage for Printing & Displaying: STOP You must wear a face covering at this site

    Make sure your mask fits. Learn how to wear it properly and follow the do’s and don’ts.

  • Video: how to wear your non-medical mask properly.
  • Sew and no-sew instructions for how to make a cloth mask
  •  

    Evidence-based Information on Face Coverings

      Social Gatherings - Guidance on social gatherings and public events has changed and now allows social gatherings of up to 10 people (including members of your household). 
    • Do not gather if you have COVID-19, are unwell, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. 
    • Always maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) while socializing (with no more than 10 people) who are not part of your household or social circle (see below for more information on social circles). 
    • Outdoor gatherings continue to provide the safest means of socializing.
    • If you participate in activities like having an outdoor BBQ, reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by:
      • Sticking to the gathering size limit of 10 people. 
      • Setting out physical distancing guidelines before guests arrive (i.e. plan the seating arrangements ahead of time to ensure there is an appropriate amount of space between guests). 
      • Asking guests to bring their own supplies including cutlery, glassware, food and drinks. 
      • Not sharing food or drinks with others.
      • Providing disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer for guests to use when entering the home or outdoor area. 
      • Putting out individual towelettes so that everyone uses their own personal piece of paper towel to dry their hands after they've washed them.

    Social Circles - The province has updated its recommendations on who you can maintain close contact with during COVID-19, without having to practice physical distancing. Since the start of COVID-19 only household members have been allowed to have close contact. Households (of under 10 people) can now expand their social circle to include other family members or friends of no more than 10 people.

    Social circles are a way to safely expand the number of people with whom you can come in close contact. Think of your social circle as the people you can hug and touch, or those who can become part of your daily and weekly routines without physical distancing. All members of your social circle should continue to practice physical distancing with others (outside of your social circle), wash hands frequently, wear a non-surgical mask or face covering when physical distancing outside of your social circle is not possible, and self-isolate if they become ill.

    For more information on why social circles are important and how to create a safe social circle, visit the Ministry of Health’s Create a social circle during COVID-19 webpage.

    Large outdoor events, such as concerts, large festivals, parades and amusement fairs, are NOT permitted.

    Small outdoor events

    Non-essential in-person gatherings of any size continue to be strongly discouraged. Small outdoor events, such as cultural celebrations, animal shows and fundraisers will be permitted in line with gathering-size restrictions, subject to local public health requirements. 

    Event organizers should have in place measures to enable physical distancing for people when in the event space and while waiting to enter, such as one-way traffic, marked lineup areas, and timed entry and length of stay.  

     

    Weddings, funerals and similar gatherings

    Ceremonies 

    • Indoor wedding or funeral ceremonies are limited to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue. 
    • Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. 
    • For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.

    Receptions 

    • Events will be required to comply with limits for social gatherings of up to 10 people. 
    • Dine-in and bar services must be in-line with the related guidelines and restrictions. 
    • Indoor and outdoor venues may open for weddings, funerals and similar gatherings, with limited access to facilities. 
    • Guests that are not part of the same household should follow physical distancing guidelines.

     

    Places of worship

    All places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

    With provincial regulation now permitting cottage rentals as of June 5, and with most regions of Ontario (including Simcoe Muskoka) moving into Stage 2 of reopening, many people will be coming to our area to visit their cottage or seasonal residence. Many may be coming from areas of higher COVID-19 transmission (e.g. the GTA) than what we are currently experiencing in Simcoe Muskoka.

    COVID-19 continues to be a threat, therefore we must all continue to be vigilant and protect ourselves and others from spreading COVID-19.

    If you are a cottager or visitor to Simcoe Muskoka, please ensure that you continue to practice the following public health measures, both here and at home.

    • Practise physical distancing to reduce exposure to other people — this means staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from anyone outside your household. 
    • Social gatherings and public events of up to 10 people (including members of your household) are allowed, while maintaining physical distance. See Stop the Spread section above for more detailed information on how to safely socialize. 
    • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing is not possible.
    • Stay at your cottage as much as possible.
    • If you are coming from a region of high COVID transmission (e.g. GTA) purchase food, supplies and medications in your own community before arriving at your cottage and limit visits to the local community for essential shopping only. A face covering must be used when shopping indoors.
    • Practice proper and frequent handwashing and cough hygiene, and self-isolate if you develop symptoms.
    If you are caring for a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, follow this advice to protect yourself and others in the home, as well as those in your community.

    It is important to get outside and enjoy public spaces, however there is a risk of people congregating close together and spreading COVID-19. The following are recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when visiting outdoor public spaces (i.e. municipal or public parks, community gardens, hiking paths and trails, dog parks, playgrounds, skate parks, outdoor pools, splash pads, beaches, piers and campgrounds):

    • Use the outdoor public spaces within your own community, when possible. 
    • If you are feeling ill or displaying symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, difficulty breathing, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose) or if you have come into contact with someone who has shown symptoms or has tested positive, you are not to visit the outdoor public space. 
    • Read all posted signs including screening signs at all entrances and ensure everyone self-screens before entering the outdoor public space. 
    • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others at all times and especially while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads and scenic overlooks.
    • Avoid close contact with people outside your household, such as shaking hands, hugging, high-fives, or games involving shared items.
    • Wash or sanitize your hands as you arrive. 
    • Do not share equipment such as balls, bicycles and helmets, etc. outside of one’s household members. 
    • If physical distancing is difficult to maintain in the outdoor space, consider wearing a non-medical mask or face covering.

    It is important to know that there is currently no evidence of food or food packaging being linked to the spread of COVID-19. You’re more likely to be infected by your fellow shoppers than anything you purchase. There are things you can do to reduce your risks when shopping.

    Decide on who goes shopping:

    Choose a person in your household who is in good health to be the main grocery shopper. Shop only if you feel well and can be reasonably sure that you have not been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 or is showing symptoms. Shop alone, only one person per household and no children if possible.

    Do not go out and shop if you are:

    • Sick or living with someone who is sick 
    • Just home from travelling 
    • Over 70 years of age
    • Have a weakened immune system or chronic health condition

    Plan your shopping list carefully so that you can buy enough food and other supplies to last at least a week or two. Buy more and aim for only one trip a week.

    When you are shopping: 

    • You must wear a non-medical mask or face covering when shopping indoors, and if shopping outdoors (i.e. farmers' market) and physical distancing is not possible.
    • Shop at a less busy time. Be cautious about store hours set aside for “‘seniors-only” shopping. They can be busier than if you went at an off-peak hour on a different day. 
    • Be respectful of store employees. They are doing their best in a difficult situation. 
    • Clean the handle of your cart. 
    • Bring your own wipes and hand sanitizer; although the stores have been trying hard to keep a public stock, the supplies are short. 
    • Wash or sanitize your hands as you enter and after to get into your car. 
    • Keep your distance from others while in the store. Staying 2 metres or roughly 2 arms-length (6 feet) apart is an easy way to measure your distance. 
    • Handle only the items you intend to buy. 
    • Use a credit or debit card to avoid handling money or receiving change. 
    • Avoid touching your face. 
    • Know that gloves are not necessary and offer no added protection. Frequent handwashing is key.

    Back at home:

    • Follow the drop-off or pick-up instructions given by the restaurant or grocery store.
    • Ask for the food to be left on the doorstep.
    • Minimize contact with employees. Stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from the delivery person.
    • If picking up food or groceries, consider opening the car door or trunk latch yourself so the person loading does not touch your car handles.
    • Use touch-free or cashless payments.
    • Prepay via the internet or telephone for your delivery order.
    • Remove your food from the external packaging and dispose of it in the garbage or recycling right away.
    • Avoid touching your face.
    • Wash your hands well for 15 seconds after touching packaging and before eating.

    Shopping for second-hand products is a good way to save money, recycle and reuse during COVID-19. Shopping may occur either online or in person (such as garage/yard sales). If you participate in handling or purchasing second-hand products here are some actions you can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

    Garage/Yard Sales

    Garage/yard sales are allowed, however there is a limit on the number of people allowed at public gatherings and events, which applies to garage/yard sales. Public gatherings and events are currently limited to 10 people.

    Some Ontario Municipalities have approved bylaws that may restrict garage or yard sales due to COVID-19. If you want to host a garage/yard sale, contact your local municipal office for more information.

    If you are organizing a yard sale at your home, limit gathering on the retail space (driveway, yard) to 10 people. Post signs to indicate the 10 person limit, have hand sanitizer available, and do not attend/host yard/garage sales if you have COVID-19, are unwell, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

    Managing or buying second-hand items during COVD-19: 

    The main way that COVID-19 is transmitted is directly from person-to-person, rather than through objects. Therefore, the following recommendations are to help prevent person-to-person spread.

    • Avoid all close contact with people outside of your household and practice physical distancing (e.g. stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others at all times). 
    • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing is not possible. Make sure it fits. Learn how to wear it properly and follow the do’s and don’ts.
    • Avoid meeting in person if possible (e.g. leave items out for porch pick-up ) 
    • Use digital/electronic or contactless payment services rather than cash. 
    • Refrain from trying on any clothing while shopping, and limit touching items where possible.

    Cleaning and Disinfecting Goods and Surfaces

    It is also possible that COVID-19 can be transmitted through objects, as the COVID -19 virus may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on different conditions, such as: temperature, type of surface and humidity of the environment.

    • After purchasing an item, thoroughly clean and disinfect it. Avoid buying items that are difficult to clean. 
    • When possible, clean and disinfect all surfaces of the merchandise; Launder items where possible and dry on the hottest setting possible. 
    • If items cannot be cleaned and disinfected (e.g. books, paper, fabric) they should be stored for a period of time in a dedicated area or room for at least 72 hours before use. 
    • Wash your hands after handling items.

    How is COVID-19 affecting you and your family?

    In these difficult times, when everyone's lives are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can do something important for your family, friends, neighbours and community. Please consider participating in the following surveys / questionnaires.

    The COHESION study, led by a team of researchers across Canada, evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on individuals like you, across the country. With data you provide by completing online surveys and installing a smartphone app, you help understand how daily activities, social interactions, and the mental health of Canadians are being affected throughout, and following, the pandemic. To participate visit www.cohesionstudy.ca

    Please participate in Statistics Canada data collection on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians. 

    The information will be used by various government departments to evaluate the need for health and social services, as well as economic support, during and after the pandemic. In order to collect information on specific topics related to the impacts of the pandemic, the questionnaire will change on a regular basis so please check back often to participate in as many as you can.

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