Dr. John Guilfoyle – Provincial Lockdown

On Tuesday January 12,2021, the Ontario government had announced a provincial stay-at-home order and new restrictions. The order is effective Thursday January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The order will require everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, like going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.
Premier Doug Ford has warned that updated modelling, which is expected to be released early next week, will show “this is the most serious situation we’ve been in…since the beginning of the pandemic” and that “our province is in crisis.”
The recent decisions made by the province of Ontario, in light of increasing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, underscore that we need to exercise ongoing vigilance and continue efforts to keep the virus our of our communities. As your public health physician, I would like to make the following recommendations:
• Maintain perimeter security around communities to ensure all coming from high-risk areas are screened and subject to the public health measures the community has in place.
• Allow travel by community members in and out of the community for only essential reasons, eg. medical, educational, work, etc.
• Allow non-community members who are carrying out essential tasks into community provided there is adequate screening, isolation and observance of public health measures.
• Postpone discretionary visits from community members who live off-reserve.
• Test all returning community members, on entry and 5-7 days later, as surveillance for asymptomatic individuals.
• Encourage all who have symptoms compatible with COVID-19 to contact nursing stations for urgent assessment.
• Continue current in-community workplace and school practices
• Continue observance of current public health measures and adherence to social bubbles.
• Avoid close contact, enclosed and crowded spaces, as much as possible.
Your continued adherence to public health guidance and the care and caution you have implemented in the communities is very impressive. You have maintained the firewall that is keeping the virus out. We encourage that communities keep doing what you have been doing so successfully.
We would like to also emphasize the importance of deciding to get the influenza shot. This will help to avoid getting the flu and protect vulnerable members in the communities. We will now be looking at having the Moderna vaccine rollout in early February 2021. We will keep you updated as this matter develops.