KENORA – COVID-19 Update – Northwestern Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health has made the important decision to issue a Class Section 22 Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The Order is effective February 17, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines the Order is no longer required. The Order enables Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) to enforce self-isolation requirements for the group of individuals to whom it applies.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been a small number of incidents across the region of people not following self-isolation requirements for COVID-19. For some of those people, NWHU issued an individual Section 22 Order to self-isolate when other options did not work. Now, with the concerns of variants of the virus and with the provincial shutdown being lifted, it is more important than ever that anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms, who has COVID-19, or who is a high risk contact of someone with COVID-19 self-isolates.
“If the variants of concern spread in our region – the impacts could be devastating. These viruses spread more rapidly, affect more people, and may overwhelm our health care system. One of the variants also increases the risk of death,” explains Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health. “Today the province-wide shutdown is being lifted. When gathering with others, please continue to stay 2 metres away from others who are not within your household; avoid indoor gatherings; and wear face masks when coming with 2 metres of others. Anyone who has symptoms, or who has been in contact with a positive case, should self-isolate immediately and get tested as soon as possible”.
The Class Section 22 Order applies to all persons residing in or present in the Northwestern Health Unit region who are required by public health to self-isolate, including cases of COVID-19, close contacts of COVID-19 cases, and people who have symptoms that could be COVID-19.
Northwestern Health Unit and other enforcement officers can enforce the Class Section 22 Order. Dr. Young Hoon notes, “Our focus with this step is on people who have tested positive for COVID-19, those who have been told by NWHU that they are close contacts, and those who have symptoms of COVID 19 that cannot be explained by another condition. Our enforcement activities will focus on people who are already in contact with Northwestern Health Unit or other COVID-19 service providers”.
Failure to comply with this Order is an offence for which you may be charged, or liable for a fine of $750 (ticket) to a maximum of $5,000 or it can lead to an Order for Confinement under the court system.