Preparing for COVID-19 Community Spread—Response Planning Session

How would we respond if COVID-19 was spreading in our community, overwhelming the health care system and disabling critical infrastructure? This was among the scenarios faced by almost 60 agencies from across Greater Sudbury, the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts, and area First Nations on Monday, March 9, during a hands-on workshop to prepare for local spread of COVID-19.

Organized by Public Health Sudbury & Districts and hosted by the City of Greater Sudbury, the workshop was designed to move participants beyond their comfort zones to consider difficult, yet realistic scenarios related to COVID-19 spread. In meeting together, participants critically assessed their readiness and their response plans. Participants included, for example, representatives from diverse sectors such as municipal, emergency services (fire and EMS), public health, police, community-based organizations, business, social services, health care, and education.

“Today we rolled up our sleeves and acted on the World Health Organization’s end of February warning—that COVID-19 is a reality check for every government on the planet and that we have a duty to wake up and be ready,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury & Districts Medical Officer of Health. “All participants understand that how severe or deadly this virus will be depends not only on the virus itself, but also on how we respond to it. Local preparedness is essential,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.

“We understand that infectious diseases know no borders and we have to work together seamlessly, so Greater Sudbury is pleased to host stakeholders from across the City and the surrounding districts,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor, Brian Bigger. “I know some may be worried and that’s normal in these circumstances. Our hope is people will be reassured by having accurate information and by knowing that our communities are working hard together to be ready,” said Mayor Bigger.

The goals of an effective community response to potential community spread of COVID-19 include decreasing health impacts, maintaining health system capacity, minimizing societal disruptions (infrastructure and economy), and keeping the public informed. Public Health has a central role in linking and coordinating with the many sectors whose combined efforts achieve these goals.

Everyone has a responsibility to reduce the spread of COVID-19. There are practical steps that you and your family can take to prepare if COVID-19 starts to circulate in the community. It’s important to assess your own personal situation and plan accordingly.

Visit for information about how you can prepare for the potential spread of COVID-19, how to monitor your health, and what to do if you think you are sick. For additional information, please call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on March 9, 2020