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Mayor declares state of emergency

Cites outbreak of COVID-19 at Guelph General Hospital earlier in the day as the tipping point

A day after saying he didn't see the need to declare a state of emergency in the city, Mayor Cam Guthrie has declared a state of emergency in Guelph.

The city put out a news release at 10 p.m. Thursday with the declaration.

The move was in response to the outbreak ov COVID-19 declared at Guelph General Hospital earlier in the day.

"The Mayor made this decision after Dr. Nicola Mercer, the Medical Officer of Health, declared an outbreak in a ward at Guelph General Hospital earlier today. The state of emergency is effective immediately, and will remain in effect until further notice," said the city release.

"The declaration is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and will ensure the City can continue to act and respond quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic and any other events that arise in the weeks ahead."

“Over the last week and a half, you have often heard me saying that things are changing on an hour by hour basis. This hour is no different. After further weighing information relayed to me today by the Medical Officer of Health and other medical professionals, I have decided to declare a State of Emergency for the City of Guelph," Guthrie said in the release.

"I have not made this decision lightly. We need to take the advice of medical officials seriously and take bold, decisive action to flatten the curve and prevent further spread of COVID-19. With this declaration, I implore all Guelph residents to be diligent about practicing safe physical distancing to protect our community’s health and well-being.”

Dr. Mercer supported the move, as did Guelph General Hospital CEO Marianne Walker.

“We certainly support this declaration. The most important way the community can support us right now is by practicing relentless social distancing," Walker said.

The Mayor has the power to declare a state of emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protections Act.