COVID-19 – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SELF-ISOLATE?
I have had many calls this past week-end, with people looking for more definitive direction on what behaviour is allowed when self-isolating. As I was typing this blog, the PM made his COVID-19 update.
PM Trudeau said today (March 23) in his announcement: “Enough is enough. Some people think they are invincible. They are not. Go home and stay home. This is what we all need to do.”
Trudeau also stated that he will be discussing the Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act, with the Provincial Ministers later today, and it would give the federal government wide powers. This is how serious the federal government is about controlling COVID-19 and will give you a better idea on what appropriate behaviour should be.
First, you need to consider that the purpose of self-isolating is to slow or stop the spread of the virus and allow the health system to cope with those affected. COVID-19 is so contagious that we need to be proactive. To wait until there is an outbreak in the Village is simply too late. The data coming out of China is that 4 out 5 people who were infected in Wuhan, China were infected by people who had no visible symptoms. That is 80%.
To respond to the questions about appropriate behaviour for self-isolation, I contacted the Medical Officer of Health for Leeds, Grenville & Lanark, Dr Paula Stewart. She has provided the following:
This pamphlet outlines the specifics of self-isolation https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate.pdf?la=en
You must ensure you have no contact with others who live outside your home, and restricted contact with those in your home.
You can go outside in your own yard as long as no-one else is there.
You cannot walk around town in case you meet other people.
If you live in a multi-unit building, then you must use a mask if you leave your unit to use any of the facilities in the building.
Defer medical and other appointments unless they are critical. Let the care provider know ahead of time that you are in self-isolation and wear a mask at the visit and do not use taxi or public transportation.
This applies to people who:
Are being tested for COVID-19 until the lab results come back
Have traveled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America) for 14 days after arrival Canada
Live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19