The city of London has declared a state of emergency as officials continue to monitor the increasing impact of the novel coronavirus.
Officials say the declaration will provide the city with all available options to protect the health and safety of individuals and families living in London.
“We want to make sure we’re taking all the actions we can to make sure that all the resources are available in terms of how the city responds to the crisis,” Helmer told Global News Radio 980 CFPL, adding the decision came following consultations Friday afternoon at the city’s Emergency Operations Centre in Byron.
According to the city, such a declaration would provide London access to provincial funding should it become available.
The decision was made in conjunction with Mayor Ed Holder, who went into self-isolation this week and will remain there until the end of March.
“This is the right call, at the right time,” said Holder in a statement.
Helmer said they were also making the declaration to reinforce to residents that COVID-19 is a continued threat to the city, and that the situation is urgent.
“We’re really trying to reinforce the message from the to take all the steps they’re recommending to slow the spread of the virus,” he said.
“It’s something that is going to require all levels of government to act,” Helmer said. “We’re seeing throughout Ontario, a number of municipalities that have made similar declarations of states of emergency. Even in other municipalities in our region.”
The health unit says those who’ve tested positive for the illness are self-isolating and staff will be following up with their close contacts to advise them to self-isolate for the next 14 days.
A City of London news release says emergency services, like police, fire and EMS, will continue to operate, and the city will continue with minimal operations and essential services.
“We implore each and every Londoner to exercise precautions and take every measure possible to help slow the spread of this virus,” said Helmer.
London residents are encouraged to continue to look to health officials for information about COVID-19. Locally, this is www.healthunit.com. Precautionary measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 include:
- Avoid non-essential gatherings and stay home as much as possible.
- Practise adequate physical and social distancing.
- Wash your hands for 15-20 seconds with soap and use hand sanitizer.
- Cough or sneeze into your arm.
- If you have any symptoms, self-monitor and self-isolate, and contact a health-care professional if symptoms persist.
- If you have travelled outside Canada recently, ensure you self-isolate for 14 days.
- If you have or suspect you have COVID-19, visit an assessment centre located at Carling Heights Optimist Community Centre or Oakridge Arena, or contact health-care authorities and do all you can to self-isolate and avoid contact with people.
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