Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) –
Under what authority did Peterborough Public Health issue a class order related to the COVID-19 outbreak to require persons to self-isolate?
The Health Protection and Promotion Act authorizes the Medical Officer of Health to make a class order to address the risks presented by the potential spread of COVID-19 to residents of the City and County of Peterborough, and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations.
Why did the Medical Officer of Health issue this class order?
Based on the continuing increase in the number of people contracting COVID-19 in Ontario, and experiences in similar regions around the world, this is a targeted mandatory measure that will strengthen our ability to reduce the loss of life from COVID-19 and preserve and protect the capacity of our health care system to respond and to provide care for those who need it. While most people who have or may have COVID-19, as well as their close contacts, have been compliant with instructions from public health authorities to self-isolate, there may be individuals who do not take these measures seriously enough. This class order is a legal tool to help us ensure that everyone who needs to, complies with the direction to self-isolate.
Who is required to self-isolate under this order?
The following individual are required to self-isolate:
- people who have been diagnosed with or are awaiting test results for COVID-19
- people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
- people who have been in close contact with a person with COVID-19
A close contact is a person who is caring for or living in the same household with someone who has COVID-19 or is otherwise identified as a close contact by Peterborough Public Health.
When is the order effective? How long must people self-isolate?
The order is effective from 12 p.m. (noon) on April 20, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required. Self-isolation is generally for a period of 14 days from the first onset of symptoms. In some cases, public health officials may direct an individual to extend the period of isolation, depending upon symptoms and test results.
Are there any exceptions?
Close contacts who are asymptomatic and provide an essential service may continue to provide that essential service. In addition, the order does not restrict a person from receiving essential medical services or treatments, whether or not related to COVID-19. Other exceptions may be made in compelling circumstances, for example, individuals that do not have suitable housing to self-isolate, or who are fleeing domestic violence.
What does it mean to self-isolate under the order?
Individuals who are affected by the order are required to stay at home and not have visitors, except as permitted by Peterborough Public Health (for example, where a health care worker is visiting the home). If a person with COVID-19 is homeless, or where their home is otherwise unsuitable or unsafe for isolation purposes, assistance with accommodations will be provided. People in self-isolation should arrange to have groceries and other necessities delivered to them. If you need assistance, please see our list of resources under Support for Basic Needs.
How do I self-isolate at home?
Individuals who are asymptomatic may refer to this information.
Individuals who are symptomatic may refer to this guidance from Public Health Ontario.
Individuals must take extra precautions to keep away from vulnerable people, including the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and people living in long-term care or other close collective living arrangements.
How could the order be enforced if a person fails to self-isolate?
Individuals who are required to self-isolate, as identified under this order, and who do not do so can be charged and fined up to $5,000 per day. Police assistance can be ordered for individuals who do not willingly comply. Complaints regarding those not self-isolating can also be reported here.
Can a person challenge the order?
Individuals identified in the class may challenge the order by appealing to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. Contact information for the Health Services Appeal and Review Board can be found at: www.hsarb.on.ca/scripts/english/contact.asp
How does the Medical Officer of Health’s class order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act differ from the federal order under the Quarantine Act?
The federal government’s quarantine order was aimed at all travellers entering Canada, effective March 25, 2020. That order also imposes a 14-day home quarantine on travellers regardless of whether they have symptoms of COVID-19. The federal order also provides some limited exceptions to self-quarantine, including individuals providing essential services, such as health care workers. Federal Public Health Officers can also detain and isolate persons who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 when they first enter the country. In some cases, individuals subject to home quarantine or isolation measures under the federal quarantine order, may also be subject to the Class Order issued by Peterborough Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health (for example, individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also recently returned from travel).
If you have questions about the class order, please call Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000. If you require a health care assessment, call your doctor or nurse practitioner’s office or Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.