Provincial emergency declaration and public health guidance for COVID-19Issued: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Today at 8:30 a.m., the Government of Ontario declared a province-wide state of emergency to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus).
“Today’s declaration of a provincial state of emergency to support COVID-19 protection efforts underscores how seriously we all must take this virus. Under a state of emergency, the province has the power to legally enforce important social distancing measures, many of which are already in place. There are also financial provisions that will support these efforts,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Sudbury & Districts Medical Officer of Health. “Let me be very clear for our local circumstances: today’s declaration does not signal a greater risk today compared with yesterday of COVID-19 infection. What it means is that there are now more powerful tools and additional measures to prevent the spread and delay and reduce infections,” said Sutcliffe.
To protect its essential services and comply with the declaration, Public Health Sudbury & Districts has reduced programs and services and changed how it engages with the public. In general, any essential client interactions will require phone pre-screening or on-site screening for clients arriving. The agency’s facilities incorporate processes to ensure two-metre separation between clients and staff where possible.
Clients are asked to check the Public Health website at phsd.ca for an up-to-date listing of service status. Regular business hours for all Public Health office locations will be maintained: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Orders immediately in effect
As a result of state of emergency, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:
- all facilities providing indoor recreational programs
- all public libraries
- all private schools as defined in the Education Act
- all licensed child care centres
- all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery
- all theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies
- concert venues
- All organized public events of over fifty people are prohibited. (Organizers who have questions about smaller gatherings should call Public Health.)
Additional enhanced measures
- Social distancing must be practised to limit the community spread of infection.
- All travellers outside of Canada in the last 14 days are asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The exception is for workers who are part of workplaces that are essential to daily living. These individuals are asked to self-monitor for 14 days.
- All persons over 70 and individuals who are immunocompromised are advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Anyone who begins to feel unwell (fever, new cough, or difficulty breathing) is asked to return home, self-isolate and seek clinical assessment over the phone.
The current circumstances, which for many include significant disruption to their daily lives, can be very stressful and can impact our mental health. There are a number of strategies that you can consider to support your mental health.
- Be mindful of your mental health and the mental health of others.
- Minimize watching, reading, or listening to news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones.
- Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice, from trusted sources.
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines.
- Check-in on your friends and neighbours. Our social networks, even if virtual, can be of great support as we navigate these uncertain times.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the online self-assessment tool (Ontario) to help determine if you need to seek further care. If you have difficulty breathing or experience other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.
Find important COVID-19 information at www.phsd.ca/COVID-19: social distancing; monitoring your health; self-assessment; self-isolation; caring for someone who is ill; preparation; and, guidance for travellers, employers, and health care providers.
COVID-19 Assessment Centre: Health Sciences North
For clients who require further in-person assessment and testing.
- Health Sciences North (HSN) is running a COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
- Clients MUST call 705.671.7373 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 7 days per week and are directed to NOT present at HSN’s Emergency Department.
- The Assessment Centre is by appointment only. Walk-ins will not be seen.
- Not everyone who attends the clinic will be tested.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts call centre – for general information about COVID-19
- Call 705.522.9200, toll-free 1.866.522.9200.
- Availability: during regular business hours, and extended hours on evenings and weekends (subject to change based on call volumes).
- Callers can leave messages and Public Health staff will call back within 24 hours, unless extenuating circumstances. At times, call volumes are high, and your patience is appreciated.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing (shortness of breath). Complications from the COVID-19 can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or kidney failure, and in some cases, death.
IMPORTANT: If you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19, call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200). Be sure to mention your symptoms and your travel history, including the countries you visited.
If you are ill and must visit a health care professional, call ahead and tell them if you have a respiratory illness. If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 and mention your travel history and symptoms.
At this time, the virus is not circulating locally. However, this is a rapidly changing situation requiring that our agency, community, and individuals be prepared for the potential wider spread of the infection in the community.
Public Health has a strong commitment to interpret and communicate local, provincial, and federal guidance.
Visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 for information about social distancing, how you can prepare for the spread of COVID-19, how to monitor your health, how to self-isolate, 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). The Public Health COVID-19 website has personal preparedness information, specific guidance for employers, guidance for schools and childcare programs, travel information, guidance for health care providers, and additional COVID-19 resources.