April 9, 2020, Simcoe, ON – Haldimand-Norfolk Medical Officer of Health Shanker Nesathurai issued the following statement today, on the importance of continuing COVID-19 containment measures such as physical distancing as the long weekend approaches:

“These are extraordinary times. Nearly every aspect of our lives has changed and that change has been challenging, to say the least.

The modelling data the Ontario government released last week is sobering, and indicates just how seriously we need to take the COVID-19 pandemic.

While most of us are committed to fighting the spread of this virus, I know that in the coming days it will be tempting to abandon that fight.

The weather is getting warmer and a long weekend is approaching. What harm can a visit to the playground cause? Who will suffer if family members come by for dinner?

The answer, as illustrated by those provincial models, is that these actions will indeed bring harm and suffering to many.

It is absolutely critical that we all continue to stay at home except for absolutely essential trips to places like the grocery store or for medical treatment.

I understand how challenging this will be in the coming days. But I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to continue the fight against COVID-19.

I encourage those celebrating holidays to join extended family at the dinner table via livestream or social media, and to remember that many local churches are hosting online services. Visit virtually, by email or telephone, but not in person.

Our daily lives have undoubtedly changed and these changes have been challenging. But the sacrifices we make now, in the short term, will help lessen the effects of COVID-19 in the long-term.”