Order of the Medical Officer of Health

Link to: COVID-19 Class Order: Self-isolation

Made pursuant to Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7
To further protect our district from COVID-19, the Medical Officer of Health for the Timiskaming Health Unit has issued a Class Order under Section 22 of the Ontario Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Effective December 30, 2020, the Order allows the Timiskaming Health Unit to enforce self-isolation requirements for certain individuals.

Watch this video from Dr. Glenn Corneil, Acting Medical Officer of Health for the Timiskaming Health Unit for the announcement.


What is a class order? 
A class order is a legal order that enables the Timiskaming Health Unit to enforce self-isolation requirements for the group of individuals that it applies to. These efforts are being made to protect the district from potential exposure to COVID-19. Self-isolation and contact tracing to reach those who need to self-isolate are important to protect the community from COVID-19 transmission. 

Who is required to self-isolate under this class order? 
Effective December 30, 2020 the Order applies to all people residing in or present in the Timiskaming Health Unit district who:

  1. Are a confirmed case or probable case of COVID-19; 
  2. Have new symptoms (even mild symptoms) or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test; 
  3. Have symptoms (even mild symptoms) of COVID-19, or have had such symptoms within the past 10 days; 
  4. Are a close contact of a person identified in (a) even if they do not themselves have any symptoms of COVID-19; or 
  5. Are a parent, or person with responsibilities of a parent, of a person under sixteen years of age identified in (a), (b), (c), or (d) who resides or is present in the Timiskaming Health Unit district. 

People in Categories (a), (b), (c) and (d) above must self-isolate and follow other directions in the class order.

The purpose of Category (e) is to require parents and others who have the responsibilities of a parent to ensure compliance with the class order by any person under 16 years of age. 
Parents and others must self-isolate only if they themselves also fall within Category (a), (b), (c), or (d).

Further details on the symptoms of COVID-19 and the definition of “close contact” are included in the class order. 

What does self–isolate mean?
For information on self-isolation visit our self-isolation page. To learn how to self-isolate please review Public Health Ontario’s self-isolation document

What should I do if my symptoms gets worse while I am self-isolating? 
Seek immediate medical attention if your illness is worsening (for example, you have difficulty breathing) by calling 9-1-1. Tell them of your COVID-19 diagnosis or symptom(s) and answer all screening questions accurately (including symptoms and travel history) so that you will receive appropriate care and the right infection prevention and control precautions are taken. 

What does it mean to self-isolate under the class order?
Individuals who are affected by the class order are required to stay at home and not have visitors, except as essential (for example, where a health care worker is visiting the home). The other things you must do while self-isolating are explained in the class order and the Public Health Ontario fact sheet, How to Self-Isolate. 

While self-isolating, people must remain reachable for monitoring by public health. This helps the Timiskaming Health Unit ensure they are doing what is required and to identify if they need support while self-isolating.

People in self-isolation should arrange to have groceries and other necessities delivered to them. If you need assistance, please contact us at 1-866-747-4305 extension 2278 or connect@timiskaminghu.com. 

Under what authority has this class order been issued?
On December 30, 2020, the Timiskaming Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health issued a class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. This Act authorizes a class order to be issued to address the risks presented by the potential spread of COVID-19 to people who reside or are present in the Timiskaming district. 

Why did the Medical Officer of Health issue this class order?
The Timiskaming Health Unit district has experienced an increase in the number of individuals who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19, including individuals who tested positive for COVID-19, probable cases* and individuals who are identified as high risk close contacts. While the majority of individuals who are required to self-isolate do follow the rules, the Timiskaming Health Unit has also received complaints of individuals who are required to self-isolate and are not following the requirements.

This class order is a legal tool to help the Timiskaming Health Unit ensure that everyone who needs to self-isolate complies with that direction. The class order strengthens the Timiskaming Health Unit’s ability to reduce the illness and loss of life from COVID-19, and preserve and protect the capacity of our health care system to respond and provide care for those who need it. 

*A probable case of COVID-19 is a person (who has not had a laboratory test) with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND: 

  1. Traveled to or from an affected area (including inside of Canada) in the 14 days prior to symptom onset; 
  2. OR b. Close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. 
  3. OR c. Lived in or worked in a facility known to be experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 (e.g., long-term care, prison). 
  4. OR d. A person with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 AND In whom laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19 is inconclusive. 
  5. OR e. A person with a preliminary positive result from a Health Canada approved point-of-care assay. 

What is the difference between the provincial shutdown and the class order?
The Order is separate from the provincial shutdown. The provincial shutdown is for everyone in the province and is asking the public to not go out except for essential reasons and to only be in close contact with individuals from your own home (people you live with). The COVID-19 Class Order is for individuals who are required to self-isolate from public health due to being a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 or being identified as a high risk close contact of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19. 

How does the Medical Officer of Health's class order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act differ from the federal order under the Quarantine Act?
The federal government's quarantine order is aimed at all travellers entering Canada, effective March 25, 2020. That order also imposes a 14-day home quarantine (self-isolation) on travellers regardless whether they have symptoms of COVID-19. See the Government of Canada’s instructions for travellers from outside Canada for more information. 

In some cases, individuals subject to home quarantine or isolation measures under the federal quarantine order may also be subject to the class order issued by the Timiskaming Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health (for example, individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also recently returned from travel). 

When is the class order effective? How long must people self-isolate?
The class order is effective December 30, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required. Isolation time is generally 10 days for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and 14 days for individuals who are high risk close contacts. Public health will inform individuals the exact length of isolation.

Are there any exceptions?
Yes, modifications to the class order can be made for the following people:

  • a person who, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health, provides an essential service, for the limited purpose of providing that essential service; 
  • a person receiving essential medical services or treatments, whether related to COVID-19 or not; or 
  • where a person’s isolation, in the opinion of the Medical Officer of Health, would not be in the public interest. 

Please contact the Timiskaming Health Unit at 705-647-4305, Ext. 7 for more information. 

What about students and children in school and child care who have symptoms (even mild symptoms) of COVID-19?
Students and children in school and child care should continue to complete the COVID-19 self-assessment every morning before going to school or child care and follow the recommendations. Recommendations to self-isolate based on responses to the questions still apply. 

The self-assessment questionnaire is available at  https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

How could the class order be enforced if a person does not self-isolate?
As is our general practice with these kinds of orders, the Timiskaming Health Unit will attempt to engage directly with a person failing to self-isolate (or to take other important steps) to make sure that they understand what is required of them, and to see if they need support in an effort to gain voluntary compliance. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the Medial Officer of Health will consider the need for legal action to compel compliance. 

What are the consequences if caught violating the order?
Individuals who are required to self-isolate by this class order but fail to do so can be charged and fined between $880 up to $5,000 per day. The Heath Protection and Promotion Act also allows the Medical Officer of Health to go to court and seek an order to protect the health of the community, e.g., by taking the person into custody to be confined in a hospital or other appropriate facility until the self-isolation period is over, or requiring compliance with other public health directions. 
For more information, contact the Timiskaming Health Unit at 705-647-4305, Ext. 7.

Where do I call to report a suspected violation of the class order?
If you believe someone who is required to self-isolate for COVID-19 is not following the class order you can call the Timiskaming Health Unit at 705-647-4305, Ext. 7.

If you have complaints about COVID-19 that are not part of the class order such as businesses, gatherings, individuals not following the Quarantine Act please call the police or bylaw.

Can a person challenge the class order?
Any person subject to the class order may request a hearing by the Health Services Appeal and Review Board to challenge its requirements. Refer to the class order for details. 

If I test positive for COVID-19 why do I have to provide contact names and other information to public health? How is my privacy protected?
People required to self-isolate must, if asked, share with public health the names and contact information for all people with whom they had contact while likely infectious (and other information that may be requested). Providing this information is crucial. It enables public health to act to prevent disease transmission to others. Our shared ability to keep schools, businesses and other important community activities open in the Timiskaming Health Unit district and across Ontario depends on public health’s ability to do this important work. 

Public health understands that people will have concerns about their privacy. All information collected by public health is protected by Ontario’s privacy legislation for health information, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.