Coronavirus: Services, programs that are altered, cancelled in Simcoe County

Simcoe County is making changes to its programs and services amid concerns over the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the first local case of COVID-19 — a man in his 40s who recently travelled to Spain and Germany. The individual was tested at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie on Monday.

Simcoe County officials are advising individuals who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to not enter a long-term care home or senior services facility. All individuals with symptoms are asked to self-isolate and to contact Telehealth, a local health-care provider or the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

If people have travelled to affected areas around the world or have been exposed to a case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, Simcoe County officials are advising them to postpone visiting long-term care homes or seniors service (LTCSS) facilities.

All staff, students, volunteers and visitors at Simcoe County’s LTCSS facilities will be actively screened for COVID-19 by a dedicated person in each home. This will involve questions regarding respiratory symptoms, as well as taking a person’s temperature.

Officials say anyone who fails any part of the screening process will be asked to leave the LTCSS facility and to contact Telehealth or a health-care provider.

All four Simcoe County LTCSS visitor entrances have been secured, allowing entry from only one main door entrance. All public community events in the LTCSS facilities will also be cancelled for the next four weeks.

Main door entrance hours at LTCSS facilities have been reduced between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Doors will be locked for the remaining hours, and visitors will be required to use the call system and wait for staff for access.

Campus residents living next to Simcoe County long-term care homes will not be allowed to attend programs or functions in the homes. A table will also be set up at the dedicated public entrance, and someone will be present to screen all visitors.

Homes have also posted notices at entry doors to advise visitors of the new precautions.

All Simcoe County solid waste management facilities will remain open but have moved to cashless payment transactions.

The county’s administration centre is still accepting all payment types but is asking residents to consider cashless payments when possible.

The Simcoe County Museum will cancel all programming due to concerns over COVID-19 for March and April. The museum will remain open to the general public, and county officials say crowd sizes will be monitored.

The cancellations to programming at the museum affect all room bookings during March and April, March break day camps, March break public programs, and all March and April school groups.

Simcoe County officials say any costs related to county museum programs will be reimbursed.

“We are monitoring services such as paramedics, Ontario Works, waste collections and landfill operations, LINX Transit, children’s services, and the status of county facilities,” officials say.

As of Friday, there are 79 cases of the novel coronavirus reported in Ontario.

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