THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is taking steps to enhance its ability to enforce self-isolation requirements for people diagnosed with COVID-19.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janet DeMille has issued a Class Order under Section 22 of Ontario's Health Protection and Promotion Act.
The legislation permits enforcement of a class order on any members of a class when there is non-compliance, and includes a maximum daily fine of $5,000 for violations.
In a statement Tuesday, the TBDHU said the class order strengthens its opportunity to quickly enforce self-isolation at a time of high case numbers in the Thunder Bay area, and when there are increasing numbers of COVID-19 variants circulating in the province.
"Self-isolation of individuals with COVID-19, anyone who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and anyone who has been in close contact of someone with COVID-19 is an important part of reducing the spread," DeMille said.
She added "While most individuals are compliant with the direction to isolate...unfortunately, there are some people who aren't following public health direction."
DeMille said that to date, the TBDHU has taken an approach of "progressive enforcement."
The class order applies to all persons residing in or present in the District of Thunder Bay who are required to public health to self-isolate, including individuals who:
- are a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
- have new symptoms (even mild) or worsening symptoms, have been tested, and are awaiting the results
- have reasonable grounds to believe they now have symptoms (even mild), or have had such symptoms in the past 10 days, and have not had a COVID test since developing the symptoms
- are a close contact of a person with confirmed or probable COVID-19 even if they do not themselves have symptoms
- are a parent or guardian of a person under 16 who meets any of the above conditions.
The announcement of the order comes one day after local MP Marcus Powlowski called for the use of existing provincial legislation for the enforcement of self-isolation.
The region's other health unit – the Northwestern Health Unit headquartered in Kenora – issued its own COVID-19 Class Section 22 order on Feb. 16.