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'Slow adherence to public health guidelines' leads to new class order in Ottawa

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says residents can be fined $5,000 every day for which an offence occurs.
2020-09-21 dr. vera etches CK2
Ottawa Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches speaks outside of the Chateau Laurier, September 2020. Chris Kurys/ OttawaMatters.com

Ottawa's Chief Medical Officer of Health is invoking a class order, demanding that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, shows signs or symptoms of the virus, is in close contact with a positive case, is awaiting a test result, or otherwise believes they have the illness, must isolate for 14 days.

Anyone who does not follow the class Section 22 order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act could face fines up to $5,000 for every day, or part of a day, on which the offence occurs or continues.

Dr. Vera Etches explains the order is being put into place in light of an increase in community transmission of COVID-19 and recent siutuations where there's been "slow adherence to public health guidance."

The doctor says section 22 orders have been used previously, to facilitate obtaining a list of close contacts from residents. 

"We have not had to take anyone to court," adds Dr. Etches. 

"Because the numbers of people that we're working with has increased so much, a class order will support timely escalation when needed," she notes.

Full details of the class order can be found on Ottawa Public Health's website

"We must once again plank the curve through our actions," says Dr. Etches. "This order is another intervention that targets the increasing non-adherence with the basic prevention measures of staying home when you have symptoms. Self-isolation of ill people ensures that the virus will not be passed onto others."

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