The president of the North Bay Regional Hospital is pleading with vacationers and snowbirds to self-isolate when they return from out of the country
Paul Heinrich says the issue he most worries about is all the people coming back from spring break and not really understanding the severity of the issue.
"We really have to raise awareness in order to help reduce the risk in that age group, and all travellers returning have to act responsibly and I believe our community will come closer together by staying farther apart."
Heinrich thinks teens might deserve special scrutiny.
"They are all in a happy exuberant mood and some of them haven't got the message, though it's pretty hard to ignore now. This is basically exactly parallel to wartime, so everything is different and we all have to bond together."
The Canadian government has advised all travellers from any destination outside Canada to self-isolate for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms after warning of a “coronavirus petri dish” in Florida and other spring break destinations.
"I want them to take extra precaution to self-isolate. We need to hammer home...snowbirds and March breakers must know that you have to put the health of the population foremost in your mind."
The Health Unit advises that self-isolation is staying home to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues - from possibly getting COVID-19. Self-isolation is an effective measure of prevention.
"We are asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the seasonal flu virus.
"If you are in self-isolation, as much as possible, you should limit your contact with people other than the family members/companions you travelled with. You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food and supplies."
There are still no reported cased of coronavirus in North Bay.
The Health Unit reports 82 people have been tested with 36 of those returning negative and 46 still pending.
The province of Ontario is reporting 78 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 this morning.