Dr. Sudit Ranade is asking Lambton residents to reconsider their travel plans this March Break.
The medical officer of health is in the middle of the response to COVID-19 in the region. Over the past 24 hours, the response to the flu-like virus has been ramped up. Ontario schools are closing for three weeks to prevent the spread of the virus. All major league sports teams and minor hockey suspending their seasons for the same reason. Ontario’s medical officer of health is recommending large events should be cancelled also. And he’s also asking Ontario residents to think twice before traveling out of the country for March Break.
Ranade agrees. “We want people to really reconsider all of their non-essential travel outside of the country,” he tells The Independent.
Ranade says there is a health risk of traveling to a country where the virus is present but there are also “unknown consequences.
“We can’t guarantee what will happen in terms of your travel plans; so there is a practical side and a medical risk side.”
He adds any family with kids which does travel is being advised to self-isolate their children for 14 days when they return. That’s why Ranade is in full support of the province’s move to close schools for three weeks.
“That decision was taken in order to reduce the potential impact of people coming back from other countries from March Break,” he says noting the decision was “timely.”
Many families travel south to the US during March Break to get some time in the sun. But COVID-19 is having an impact there. The federal government has been widely criticized because COVID-19 testing has not been available. There are now over 1,200 confirmed cases and 36 deaths reported in 43 states. St. Clair, Michigan – directly across the river from Sarnia- Lambton – has its first confirmed case of the virus. Ranade says it shows how rapidly the situation is changing.
“There was a time a few weeks ago we sort of thought the US was less affected by COVID 19; now it is just as much of a country of concern as the European countries.”