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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 work, at school or other communal settings? Book an appointment to 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.

We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of COVID-19

As local cases of COVID-19 sharply rise to numbers not seen since the spring, in addition to the provincial restrictions on social gatherings and social circles we are asking you to be cautious and reduce your exposure within the community. For more information on how to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID 19 click here.

class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act has been issued by Simcoe Muskoka’s Medical Officer of Health (MOH) to enforce COVID-19 self-isolation requirements. The order takes effect October 6, 2020 and remains in effect until the MOH declares it is no longer needed.

The order applies to any person living or present in the County of Simcoe and District of Muskoka who:

  • is identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • has the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, has been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting the results of their test;
  • otherwise has reasonable grounds to believe they have one or more symptoms of COVID-19; or
  • is a close contact of a person identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

If you think you have any symptoms of COVID-19, use the provincial COVID self-assessment tool, and if indicated by the tool, get tested and self-isolate at home for 10 days (the period of time you are contagious) or until your test result is negative for COVID-19.

If you have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, which means being within two metres (6 feet) of that infected person for at least 15 minutes without adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), you must self-isolate for 14 days even though you don’t have symptoms. This is because the COVID-19 incubation period (the period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms) can be up to 14 days. Adequate PPE is using both medical grade surgical/procedural mask and protective eyewear. Cloth face coverings are not adequate PPE.

Individuals who fail to comply with the order may be liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Inform us if you require any help or resources to properly self-isolate or while you are self-isolating such as food, medication, water, accommodation, clothing, appropriate medical treatment and family or other religious arrangements. To do so, call (705) 721-7520

For more information see Fact Sheet for Class Order for Self-Isolation.

COVID-19 is spread through close contact with an infected person. Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit uses contact tracing as an effective tool to slow and control the spread of COVID-19. There are a variety of situations in which you may be exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. If you have been identified as a close contact, and have been informed by public health or by someone in your life who has tested positive it is very important that you take the following steps to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home and self-isolate for 14 days after your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Only leave the house to get tested. For testing centre locations visit our assessment centres and testing page.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If you do get tested you must still self-isolate while you wait for your results. Even if your test result is negative you must continue to self-isolate for the full 14 days.

    For full information on what to do if you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 read this fact sheet.

The following are recommendations to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when hunting.

Before You Go

  • When possible, plan to hunt within your own community. If going to a hunt camp, follow any travel advisories and consider COVID-19 transmission rates in the area where you plan to hunt.
  • Pack supplies that help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (e.g. hand soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, face coverings/masks, cleaning/disinfectant supplies).
  • If you are feeling ill or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have come into contact with someone who has shown symptoms or has tested positive, do not go hunting. Use the provincial COVID self-assessment tool, and if indicated by the tool, get tested and self-isolate at home.

When Travelling to the Hunting Site/Hunt Camp

  • Consider traveling in your own vehicle to the hunt camp.
  • If you plan to travel with someone outside of your household in the same vehicle you should follow these recommendations:
  • Limit of two people per vehicle. The second person should sit in the back, passenger-side seat to ensure proper distance from the driver.
  • Face coverings/masks should be worn while in the vehicle for the duration of the trip.
  • The only exception to this two-person limit is if travelling in the same vehicle with people from your own household.

At Your Hunting Site/Hunt Camp

  • Keep groups at one camp to 10 people or less (to comply with Ontario’s indoor gathering limits).
  • If the group is larger and divides into groups of 10 or less, each with separate accommodations (tents, trailers, buildings), each of these accommodations would have its own indoor gathering limit. In this case, the maximum number of people allowed on the entire camp property would be up to 25 people (as per Ontario’s limit on outdoor gatherings).
  • Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) of space from other hunters who are outside your household.
  • If physical distancing is not possible, wear a face covering/mask. This applies at camp or in hunting blinds (especially if enclosed).
  • Bring your own tent/trailer to reduce your exposure to others.
  • Do not share hunting gear/equipment or personal items (e.g. cutlery, cooking utensils).
  • Socialize outdoors rather than inside tents, trailers or buildings.
  • Avoid buffet-style meals. Have people prepare/cook their own meals while maintaining physical distancing. If eating a meal together, have one person make/serve the meal while wearing a face covering.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
  • Clean and disinfect common and high-touch surfaces (e.g. door handles, taps, etc.).
  • Track the names and contact information of people in your hunting party, just in case contact tracing is needed should someone get COVID-19.
  • NOTE: Conservation Officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have the power to enforce and issue fines for breaches of COVID-19 gathering limits and other rules.

If Someone Develops Symptoms of COVID-19 While Hunting

If someone develops one or more symptoms of COVID-19, have a plan to communicate with the group and have the individual self-isolate immediately.

  • If it is a medical emergency, call 911.
  • Self-isolation should continue when travelling home (if possible, otherwise physical distancing should be maintained as described above and face coverings worn).
  • Upon returning home, individual(s) with symptoms should continue to self-isolate (including ideally from members of their household). Use the provincial COVID self-assessment tool, and if indicated by the tool, get tested and continue to self-isolate at home for 10 days (the period of time you are contagious) or until your test result is negative for COVID-19.

When you Arrive Home from Hunting

  • Assess yourself for one or more symptoms of COVID-19 daily for a full 14 days following the hunt.
  • If you develop symptoms self-isolate, seek testing and notify the members of your hunting party.

 

October 14, 2020
Adapted with permission from the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

The importance of honouring our fallen heroes in service of their country and the courage of those who still serve is vital to each family and community in Simcoe Muskoka.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and significant risks posed by events and gatherings, the health unit recommends taking part in online or broadcast services to best protect the health of veterans, and community members. Virtual options are the preferred approach to allow everyone in our communities to participate from the safety of their own home.

For Remembrance Day ceremony organizers:

Filming the ceremony with a small film crew and limited speakers allows you to control many of the risks of public gatherings while allowing members of your community to participate.

Proceeding with an in-person ceremony risks community transmission of COVID-19 as well as exceeding the provincial gathering limits of 25 people in an outdoor public setting. If proceeding with an in-person event, the following should be considered to reduce the risks:

  • Limit attendees to a token number to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 and potential non-compliance with O.Reg 364/20 due to involvement of spectators and passersby.
  • Maintain physical distance of no less than 2 metres (6 feet) by all participants at all times .
  • Face coverings should be worn at all times.
  • SMDHU and the Province of Ontario are experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. In light of this, it is possible that public gatherings may be further restricted so please check this page to monitor your legal compliance and public health precautions going forward.
    For information on the SMDHU public health recommendations for the 2020 Poppy Campaign, please see letter to the Ontario Provincial Command.

As you prepare for Halloween this year, we would like you to take extra precautions to ensure you are keeping yourself and your families safe.

Families that want to be most cautious can choose no trick or treating, or handing out candy, and instead can celebrate with special activities in your own household such as a virtual costume contest, candy scavenger hunt, pumpkin carving, watching a scary movie or decorating your home.

If you choose to participate in trick or treating and handing out candy you should follow some simple steps:

  • Avoid gatherings with people outside of your household.
  • Stay home if feeling ill even if you have mild symptom, or if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19
  • Only go out with members of your direct household.
  • Only trick or treat outside.
  • Both trick or treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering. A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering as it may make it difficult to breathe.
  • Consider building your face covering into your, or your child’s, costume.
  • Do not congregate or linger at doorsteps. Line up two metres (six feet) apart if waiting.
  • Avoid high-touch surfaces and objects.
  • Whether collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
  • Do not leave treats in a bucket or bowl for children to grab.
  • Consider using tongs, or other similar tools to hand out treats.
  • Consider printing one of these posters as a tool to help let your neighbours know whether you are handing out treats.
    .

There are a variety of multicultural holidays and festivities that bring family and friends together to share common traditions and celebrations. We recognize the importance of observing these traditions and more importantly connecting with others. This year, because of COVID-19; the provincial pause of social circle; advice to keep contacts to only members of your own household and avoid gatherings with others, we will have to think of new and different ways to celebrate and connect with each other.

Build new traditions:

  • Connect with friends and family outside of your household by calling or video chatting, holding an online dinner party, joining a religious service online or on television, or writing letters or sending a card.
  • Talk with family members about the traditions you are able to continue, like sharing a recipe online, making a video of you singing a traditional song or reading a passage.
  • Get creative with members of your household to start new traditions.

If you choose to host an in-person gathering:

  • Determine how many people can easily maintain physical distancing in the space,without exceeding the gathering limit of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • You should keep your gathering as small as possible and use outdoor spaces whenever possible.
  • Promote physical distancing, including by arranging seating in advance to appropriately space household groups.
  • Provide all the necessary supplies, including hand sanitizer, soap and water.
  • Provide disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer for guests to use when entering the home or outdoor area and clean and disinfect any shared items.
  • Plan for how guests will use the washroom to limit people touching the same objects and ensuring it is clean.
  • Put out individual towelettes so that everyone uses their own personal piece of paper towel to dry their hands after they've washed them.
  • Open windows, if possible.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Ask guests to not attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild or they recently had a negative COVID-19 test.
  • Make a list of guests attending in case public health needs it for contact tracing.
  • Remind people of public health advice to follow during the event, including physical distancing and wearing a face covering indoors and wearing one outdoors if physical distancing.

 If you choose to serve food or drinks at your gathering:

  • Wash your hands before and frequently during preparation.
  • Avoid buffet-style food service and make a plan for how you will physically distance while distributing and cleaning up food.
  • Serve food on individual plates to prevent your guests from passing and touching the same objects, OR ask guests to bring their own supplies including cutlery, glassware, food and drinks.
  • Have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.

If you choose to attend an in-person gathering:

  • Outdoor gatherings continue to provide the safest means of socializing.
  • You should not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild or you recently had a negative COVID-19 test, or if you are in quarantine or self-isolating.
  • Limit close contact to the people you live with. Always maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else.
  • Wear a face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing may not be maintained.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the event.
  • Ask in advance what the plan is for using washrooms and providing food or drinks. You should ensure that people are not touching the same objects.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the event if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including if you are 70 years or older, are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions.

On September 19th the Government of Ontario announced the new limit on the number of people allowed to attend unmonitored private social gatherings* across the province:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50);
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100)

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.

*Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The new limits do not apply to events or gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities because they must already follow specific public health and safety guidelines to minimize risk and limit the spread of COVID-19. These include places such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect. People at their place of work, including performers and crews, do not count towards gathering limits.

People gathering indoors for religious services, rites or ceremonies, and wedding ceremonies or funeral services, can continue to fill up to 30 per cent of the capacity of the particular room, as introduced in Stage 2.

COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Indoor and Outdoor Events and Gatherings - Revised September 29, 2020

Local example of COVID-19 Spread - Diagram

Diagram of a COVID-19 outbreak

Some important messages to remember:

  • People who are in close contact with others, for example who live in the same household, or who work together in the same workplace or gather with friends to visit without physical distancing and/or use of a face covering, can all be at risk of getting COVID-19 from someone who has the virus.
  • You may be considered a high risk contact if you have been within 2 metres (6 feet) of a positive case for at least 15 minutes. High risk contacts need to isolate for 14 days (from last exposure to case).
  • Public health follows up with all COVID-19 cases, as well as with anybody considered a high risk contact. In large workplaces, schools or gatherings, this could potentially be many people.
  • To avoid getting COVID-19, it is important to stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others outside of your household when possible, clean hands frequently, and wear a face covering. If you are sick, stay home and if you have symptoms of COVID-19 get tested.

When you enter into a public indoor space a (e.g. grocery store, community centre, shopping mall, hair salon, library, place of worship, etc.), a workplace, even those not open to the public,  or use a public transit (e.g. bus, taxis or ride share) in Simcoe Muskoka, you are required to wear a face covering.

NEW: Effective October 3, 2020, the common areas of multi-unit dwellings, including the common areas of residences that are apartment buildings, condominium buildings, and student residences, require that all people that cannot maintain two (2) metres physical distancing must wear a face covering.

Due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province of Ontario has mandated the wearing of mask or face coverings in certain indoor spaces including the common areas of apartment buildings, condominium buildings, and student residences. See section 2. of Ontario Regulation 364/20.

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering. Click here

for the full list.

FAQ - Wearing masks or face coverings within enclosed public spaces - (revised October 22, 2020)

 

How is COVID-19 affecting you and your family?

Since March, our lives have been affected in many different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. The health unit recently conducted a situational assessment to understand the impacts that some public health measures have had on us. The first section below includes the reports and findings of this assessment. The second section includes a report on an evaluation of and lessons learned by the public health system from the first peak of COVID-19

Our health unit, along with several other public health agencies, completed a situational assessment from April to July 2020 to determine how community-based public health measures are negatively affecting the health and well-being of the general population and sub-populations, and to identify ways to help reduce these effects.

The situational assessment includes several parts, which together inform the overall report findings and considerations for further action. The final report and each of its component reports are linked below.

Final Report:
• Mitigating Harms of COVID-19 Public Health Measures: Situational Assessment Report (July 2020)

Environmental Scan: 
• Mitigating Negative Effects of COVID-19 Public Health Measures – Environmental Scan: Key Informant Interviews

Epidemiological Data:
• Epidemiological Data on Potential Impacts of the COVID-19 Community-Based Public Health Measures

Literature Reviews:

• Mitigating Unintended Harms of COVID-19 Public Health Measures (SMDHU) 

• Negative impacts of community-based public health measures during a pandemic (e.g. COVID-19) on children and families (Public Health Ontario)

• Substance Use-Related Harms and Risk Factors during Periods of Disruption (Public Health Ontario) 

• Mitigating Unintended Harms of COVID-19 Public Health Measures among Low Income Populations Rapid Review (Timiskaming Health Unit)

Additional literature review recently completed but not included in the final report: 
• Impacts of Community-Based Public Health Measures During Respiratory Outbreaks or Pandemics on Adolescents and Young Adults (Southwestern Public Health)

The Public Health System Evaluation and Lessons from the First Peak of COVID-19 , by the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health (COMOH), describes the role of the local public health system during the first COVID-19 peak and provides lessons learned and identified opportunities that collectively form foundations to build upon in preparation for the next phase as we wait for an effective vaccine.
At present, you can also do something important for your family, friends, neighbours and community by helping researchers understand how the pandemic is affecting people. This information will assist policy makers to understand our community’s health, social service and economic needs. 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
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