North Bay OPP charge couple travelling from Florida with failing to self-isolate

Ontario Provincial Police say two people travelling from the United States have been charged for failing to self-isolate after entering Canada.

Police say individuals are being monitored during isolation

Police say they were called by the Public Health Agency of Canada for a compliance check under the Quarantine Act. (CBC)

Ontario Provincial Police say two people travelling from the United States have been charged for failing to self-isolate after entering Canada.

On July 9, OPP say they got a call for assistance from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Officers were asked to do a compliance check under the Quarantine Act in East Ferris Township, east of North Bay, Ont.

Police found two people travelling from Florida had entered Canada in Fort Erie to attend a seasonal property on July 3. Officers found "the couple were non-compliant with the mandatory 14-day self-isolation requirement upon entering Canada."

Staff Sgt. William McMullen says a 68-year-old and 70-year-old were charged with failure to comply with Section 58 of the Quarantine Act, which puts limitations and conditions on entrance into Canada. 

They were also each issued a Provincial Offence Notice that includes a fine of $1,000. The maximum penalty if convicted is $750,000 and/or six months in prison.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, police stated both people charged were from Florida. Police later confirmed to CBC News on Wednesday that the couple lives in Florida but one person is a Canadian citizen who lives and works in the United States.

McMullen says police were not called to question where the people were from, rather whether they were following the rules under the Quarantine Act.

He​​​​ says it's concerning to hear of people not following the rules.

"Especially when the people are travelling from very high risk areas," he said. 

"So it's a great concern and we obviously take those concerns very seriously. In this circumstance, we deemed it appropriate to lay the appropriate charges."

Health unit 'in contact'

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is now monitoring the pair's self-isolation. 

"The health unit is in contact with these individuals every day to ensure that they are isolating and to assess them for symptoms until their isolation period is over," said public health nurse Ashley Lengyel. 

Lengyel says the health unit can also make visits if staff feels the need for a "more thorough investigation," but she says the health unit is confident the couple is now complying. 

Lengyel says the health unit did an assessment of where the couple had been, and for how long, and have assessed the risk to the community as low. She says this is the first case the health unit has dealt with where individuals have not self isolated. 

On Sunday, Florida recorded more than 15,000 new coronavirus cases, shattering the record for the highest daily increase in the U.S.

With files from Martha Dillman and Sarah MacMillan


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