The province’s chief medical officer announced the “immediate suspension” of all large gatherings with over 250 people on Thursday.
As part of the Ontario’s enhanced public health measures for COVID-19, Dr. David Williams said, “I am asking all Ontarians to immediately take a number of enhanced measures over the coming weeks to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to help mitigate its spread in Ontario.”
Dr. Williams encouraged organizers who have questions about smaller gathering to contact their local public health unit and for individuals to practice social distancing as much as possible to mitigate the spread of the illness.
Organizations that can have virtual options as alternatives to in-person events are being asked by the province to do so.
Dr. Williams also emphasized residents to “avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And if individuals decided to travel with children, they will be required to self-isolate for a period of 14 days upon return.
Williams also supported the Ministry of Education’s decision to close all public schools in Ontario for a period of two weeks following the March Break, as confirmed coronavirus cases have been found in children.
The Chief Medical Office is also recommending colleges and universities immediately look at virtual options to provide services — already numerous institutions in the GTA like University of Toronto and York University, have cancelled in-person classes.
In a similar manner to dealing with senior care homes, Williams suggests that all licensed childcare centres to actively screen children, parents, staff and visitors for any symptoms and travel history that may be related to COVID-19.
“It is critical that we keep COVID-19 out of our child care spaces,” he said.
“I recognize that these measures will be a significant adjustment from your regular routine, but they will be critical to managing the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario over the coming weeks and protecting our most vulnerable populations. I am calling on all Ontarians to cooperate with these public health measures over the coming weeks.”
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Toronto also recommended that residents who have recently traveled outside of Canada, including the US, to limit social interactions with large groups of people and avoid contact with all seniors.
On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa also asked for residents and event organizers to conduct thorough risk assessments before going ahead with any planned large events or scheduled public meetings.
As of March 13, there are 79 cases of coronavirus in Ontario.