Windsor

Chatham-Kent's health unit considers $5,000 fine for people who go out with symptoms

Dr. David Colby told CBC News that the health unit has discovered that a few people have gone to school or work recently while knowingly symptomatic. In response, he said he's looking at a class order that would fine people $5,000 a day if they knowingly violate screening protocols. 

The region has seen an uptick in cases over the last week

Chatham-Kent Public Health is reporting 14 active cases of COVID-19 as of Friday. (CK Public Health/Facebook)

Chatham-Kent's medical officer of health says he is considering implementing a strict order that could see people, who go to school or work with COVID-19 symptoms, fined $5,000. 

On Friday, Dr. David Colby told CBC News that of the region's recent cases, the health unit has discovered that a few people have gone to school or work while knowingly symptomatic. In response, he said he's looking at a class order that would fine people $5,000 a day if they knowingly violate screening protocols. 

"If someone clearly knows that they have respiratory symptoms that could be compatible with COVID-19 and choose to basically attend work or school anyway, knowing that they've got that, then I think we need to take this more seriously during a pandemic time," he said, adding that there would be some discretion before a fine is issued. 

"We've got to be very careful and if there's any doubt that you feel like you're coming down with something, please stay home until it gets clarified."

In the last week, Chatham-Kent has seen a sudden uptick in cases, going from zero active cases on Oct. 16, to 14 as of Friday. Of these cases, three have been linked to the Chatham-Kent school community and others are from a community outbreak at Blenheim's Word of Life Church. 

"It's not alarming, it was expected. All the interviews I gave during the time when we had zero cases I said 'this is not going to last.' We're in the middle of a second wave, with what's happening elsewhere in Ontario, Canada and the world. We will see more cases and it's going to happen," he said. 

In response to the school cases, dozens of students have been sent home to isolate, though Colby said this is a precautionary measure.

He said sending students home is not an indication the school system has an outbreak, but rather so they can stay on top of any further spread.

Colby also said that to ensure the healthcare system doesn't get overwhelmed, he encourages everyone in the region to get flu shots this year.

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