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No more details to be released on movements of Mount Forest COVID-19 case

Do not attend the COVID-19 assessment centre unless you have serious symptoms, says Dr. Nicola Mercer, the local Medical Officer of Health
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Medical Officer of Health Nicola Mercer. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo

The local public health agency says it won’t be informing the public on the comings and goings of a Mount Forest man who was the county's first positive case of COVID-19.

“Every case was different and every case, after my staff talk to the individual involved, we determine a risk based on that, said Dr. Nicola Mercer, the Medical Officer of Health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

“What I have said very clearly is the virus is circulating in our community, so people need to assume and treat every environment as a potential place they might pick up the COVID-19 virus,” she added.

“If you have any risk factors, the safest place for you to be is in your own home, not to leave your home and if others can bring you supplies like groceries and medication, and drop them off for you, that would be the safest place for you, to stay home.”

On Monday, WDG Public Health added area playgrounds, skate parks and dog parks to areas off limits in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Mercer said there is nothing inherently problematic about being outside with your family and using one of these facilities.

“The problem is we tried to ask people to respect social distancing,” said Mercer. “Without people respecting social distancing, the playgrounds and play structures are actually attracting people to them and is causing them to congregate, which is why we had to shut them down.”

Mercer said she supports the decision made Monday by premier Doug Ford to close all non-essential businesses to shut down for at least two weeks.

“I support those recommendations because we are at a critical moment where we need to really help people to stay put so we can stop this virus,” said Mercer. “It is spreading and you will see cases climb and because we have a two week incubation period, everything we do today will show up two weeks from now, so in order to flatten this curve and prevent this spread, we have to encourage people to follow the rules.”

Mercer said public health does not have the available staff to police the restrictions and the agency has even had to bring in some retired staff to help in the COVID-19 response.

“We are relying on some members of the public to obey the rules, because they aren’t there just for their own good, but for the good of those they love who are around them,” she said.

Mercer said the COVID-19 assessment centre on Delhi Street has so far been effective in keeping some people concerned they have the virus away from hospitals and doctors’ offices.

She said only those with serious symptoms should be attending the assessment centre in person.

“If you have mild symptoms, stay home, you will get better. If you have moderate symptoms, again stay home, maybe book a phone appointment with your doctor, that may be all it takes,” said Mercer.

“That frees up our emergency rooms and our assessment centres for patients who are more serious and need care. We all have a part to play in this and we can all do our best if we all follow the rules it will be there for people who really need it.”


Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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