The medical officer of health for this region is getting tough on people sent into COVID-19 isolation.

The Porcupine Health Unit’s Dr. Lianne Catton is invoking a law that lets her enforce isolation orders.  She can send in police or bylaw officers to ensure that if you’re supposed to be isolated, you are.  Fines range from $880.00 to $5,000.00 for every day you fail to comply.

Catton says it’s an important move to stave off variants of the virus from spreading.

Here’s the text putting the move in place:

CLASS ORDER  made pursuant to Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.H.7 

To: All persons residing or present in the area served by the Porcupine  Health Unit who:  

  1. a) Are a confirmed case or probable case of COVID-19;  
  2. b) Have new symptoms (even mild symptoms) or worsening symptoms of  COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of  their test;  
  3. c) Otherwise have reasonable grounds to believe they now have symptoms  (even mild symptoms) of COVID-19, or have had such symptoms within the  past 10 days; and have not had a COVID test since developing those  symptoms;  
  4. d) Are a close contacti of a person identified in (a) even if they do not  themselves have any symptoms of COVID-19; or  
  5. e) Are a parent, or person with responsibilities of a parent, of a person under  16 years of age in (a), (b), (c), or (d) who resides or is present in the  Porcupine Health Unit jurisdiction. 

I, Dr. Lianne Catton, Medical Officer of Health for the Porcupine Health Unit,  order you to comply with the following actions:  

  1. Isolate yourself immediately in accordance with instructions provided by the  Porcupine Health Unit. This includes remaining in your home (in a private room  if sharing with roommates) or isolation facility. Do not go outside, unless on to a  private balcony or enclosed yard where you can avoid close encounters with  others. You must not have any visitors into your home except as permitted by  the Porcupine Health Unit.  
  2. For (a), (b), and (c) above, remain in isolation until the expiry of the 10-day  isolation period of communicability (infectiousness) that begins on the day on  which you first show symptoms, are tested, or are diagnosed with COVID-19,  as directed by the Porcupine Health Unit or other health unit.
  3. For (d), remain in isolation even when not displaying any symptoms until the expiry of a 14-day period  that begins on the day you were last in close contact with a person identified in (a) above, unless  otherwise instructed by the Porcupine Health Unit. However, if you develop symptoms during this 14-day  period, the following apply:  
  1. a) If tested, and you receive a positive result, you are then subject to the Order as a person  described in (a) above and remain in isolation for a new 10-day period that begins on the day on  which you first show symptoms.  
  2. b) If tested, and you receive a negative test result, complete the remaining 14-day period of  isolation.  
  3. c) If not tested, you are then subject to the Order as person described in (c) and assume that you  may be infected with COVID-19, and remain in self-isolation for a new 10-day period that begins  on the day on which you first show symptoms.  
  4. For (e) above, you are to ensure that the child in (a), (b), (c), or (d) above, for whom you have  responsibilities as a parent, follows the directions in this Order which apply to them.  
  5. During the self-isolation period, conduct yourself in such a manner as not to expose another person to  infection of COVID-19 by following infection control instructions on the Public Health Ontario website  located at https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-and-conditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory diseases/novel-coronavirus/public-resources, or given to you by the Porcupine Health Unit, or any other  staff of a healthcare facility to which you may seek or receive treatment.  
  6. During self-isolation, you must remain reachable for monitoring by the Porcupine Health Unit and/or other  public health staff.  
  7. Inform the Porcupine Health Unit if you require any help or resources to properly self-isolate or while you  are self-isolating such as food, mediation, water, accommodation, clothing, appropriate medical  treatment, and family or other religious arrangements. To do so, call (705) 267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818. 
  8. Provide the Porcupine Health Unit with the names and contact information of individuals that you came  into close contact with during relevant dates immediately upon request.  
  9. Follow any further instructions provided by the Porcupine Health Unit pertaining to COVID-19 and the  terms and conditions of this Order.  
  10. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g. difficulty breathing) by calling 911 and  report your COVID-19-related diagnosis, exposure, and/or symptoms.  
  11. The requirements of this Order are subject to necessary modifications for persons or a class or persons,  such as:  
  12. a) A person or class of persons who, in the opinion of the Porcupine Health Unit, is asymptomatic and is  required to provide an essential serviceii, using mandated PPE for the limited purpose of providing  that essential service;  
  13. b) A person or class of person whose isolation, in the opinion of the Porcupine Health Unit, would not be  in the public interest; or  
  14. c) A person or class of persons who, for other reasons, as authorized by the Medical Officer of Health or  designate, require modifications or this Order. 

THE REASONS FOR THE ORDER ARE THAT:  

  1. COVID-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus, is designated as a disease of public health significance  and a communicable disease pursuant to Ontario Regulation 135/18 under the Health Protection and  Promotion Act. COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The Province of  Ontario has enacted emergency orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, and  subsequently under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, as a result of the  pandemic.  
  2. COVID-19 is present in the Porcupine Health Unit jurisdiction and therefore poses a risk to the health of the  residents of Porcupine Health Unit through community transmission. The COVID-19 virus is spread from an  infected person to an uninfected person by direct contact or from a close encounter where respiratory  secretions from the infected person are transmitted to the uninfected person.  
  3. The COVID-19 period of communicability or infectiousness is understood to be up to 10 days for most people. 
  4. 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.  
  5. The number of cases and/or deaths continues to rise in the Porcupine Health Unit jurisdiction and Ontario.  
  6. To contain the spread of COVID-19, individuals experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or who are  infected with COVID-19, as well as close contact of individuals infected with COVID-19, are required to isolate  themselves from other people until they are no longer deemed infectious or potentially infectious. Isolation is  necessary to decrease the risk of spreading their infection to others.  

AND I AM OF THE OPINION, UPON REASONABLE AND PROBABLE GROUNDS:  

  1. A communicable disease exists or may exist or there is an immediate risk of an outbreak of a  communicable disease within the Health Unit served by me;  
  2. The communicable disease presents a risk to the health of persons in the Health Unit served by me; and  
  3. The requirements specified in this Order are necessary to decrease or eliminate the risk to health  presented by the communicable disease. 

I am also of the opinion that the delivery of notice of this Order to each and every member of this class to whom it  is directed is likely to cause a delay that could significantly increase the risk to the health of any person residing in  the jurisdiction of the Porcupine Health Unit. Therefore, notice shall be provided through the public media and the  internet via posting at: www.porcupinehu.on.ca.

TAKE NOTICE THAT, each member of the class to whom this Order is directed is entitled to a hearing by the  Health Services Appeal and Review Board if the member has delivered notice in writing to me and to the Health  Services Appeal and Review Board (Health Board Secretariat, 151 Bloor Street West, 9th Floor, Toronto, ON,  M5S 2T5), requesting a hearing within 15 days after publication of this Order.  

AND TAKE FURTHER NOTICE THAT, although a hearing may be requested this Order takes effect when it is  delivered to a member of the class or brought to the attention of a member of the class.  

FAILURE to comply with this Order is an offence for which you may be liable to a set fine of $880.00 (ticket), or  not more than $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues to occur, on  conviction.  

Lianne Catton, MD, CCFP-EM, MPH 

Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer 

___________________________________________ 

i Close Contact means a person who, within the past 14 days, has had a high-risk exposure to a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case. For example, a person who:  

  • Lived with or otherwise had close, unprotected and prolonged contact, e.g. within 2 metres (6 feet) for  more than 15 minutes, with a confirmed case of COVID-19 during their period of communicability  (infectiousness);  

Unprotected means without appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate  PPE is using both medical-grade surgical/procedural mask and protective eyewear. A non medical mask or face covering is not PPE.  

  • Has been identified by the Porcupine Health Unit or another public health unit as a close contact, having  high risk exposure.  

ii Essential Service means clinical health care that would, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health, be  severely compromised without the availability of the person or class of persons to provide the service.

-Source: Porcupine Health Unit