March 15: Further enhancement of Public Health measures to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region

Posted on Sunday March 15, 2020

In light of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and in line with updated recommendations from the Government of Canada and the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario, Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang is recommending further measures to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the region.




By taking these following measures, we have the opportunity to slow the spread of the virus in our community.


Social distancing and large gathering recommendations:

  • Large gatherings of 250 people or more and all international events should be postponed or cancelled.
    • This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious or social gatherings, festivals, markets or other similar events.
    • This threshold has been selected as it is much easier to maintain social distancing to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
  • In addition to practicing hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, practice social distancing as much as possible.
    • Social distancing means maintaining distance from others (two arms’ length or 2 meters).
  • Organizations should look for ways to take advantage of virtual options to continue providing services.


Travel recommendations:

  • Waterloo Region residents postpone all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States.
  • Saturday March 14th, the Government of Canada recommended that all travelers returning to Canada self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Returning visitors from Hubei Province (China), Iran and Italy should also reach out to their local Public Health unit within 24 hours of return.
  • Returning travelers to Waterloo Region should also refrain from:
    • Visiting patients in hospital
    • Visiting long-term care homes or retirement homes
    • Visiting the elderly or those with chronic health conditions


Long-term care, retirement homes and daycare recommendations:

  • Long-term care homes, retirement homes, supportive housing and hospices should allow only essential visitors into their facilities until further notice.
  • The ministry is identifying essential visitors as those who have a resident who is dying or very ill or a parent/guardian of an ill child or youth in a live-in treatment setting.
  • These visitors must continue to be actively screened into these settings.
    • The Chief Medical Officer of Ontario has also recommended that all licensed child care centres should actively screen children, parents, staff and visitors for any symptoms and travel history that may be related to COVID-19.
  • Children who have travelled outside of Canada should not return to child care settings including daycare and camps for 14 days.




Media Contact:

Julie Kalbfleisch

Manager, Information and Communications

Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services

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