Ontario health officials introduce new coronavirus guidelines

The coronavirus is named after its shape which resembles the corona of a star. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

To help contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer is recommending that people avoid gathering in groups of 50 or more.

During the latest update Monday afternoon, Dr. David Williams said the situation surrounding the novel coronavirus is evolving rapidly.

Williams has recommended no gatherings take place with 50 people or more, reducing his previous recommendation of suspending any gatherings with more than 250 people.

“Groups greater than 50, we’re asking those not to be meeting… we’d like that to take place as soon as possible,” he said.

Also among the new recommendations, although not necessary, Williams is suggesting that all private schools, churches, daycares and dine-in portions of restaurants and bars close to decrease the risk of potential spread.

Williams said provincial health officials have been hard at work trying to contain the virus and searching for any risks of community spread.

According to Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, cases in Ontario have been growing at a quick number. As of Monday afternoon, she said there 172 active cases in the province.

“Basically, the numbers are going up very rapidly,” she explained. “It’s a quickly evolving situation now.”

Yaffe said there have been 32 new cases reported in the last 24 hours in Ontario, among those nearly half of the individuals were believed to have been exposed to the virus in the United States. Williams added that over 94,000 people have accessed the province’s online assessment tool.

Both Yaffe and Williams are asking people without any symptoms or travel history to continue practicing social distancing, working from home if possible and only go out for necessities. For anyone who has travelled outside the country, they recommend a more thorough self-monitoring practice.