Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Public Health Measures to Manage the Spread of COVID-19

Communiqué du commissaire des incendies

Public Health Measures to Manage the Spread of COVID-19

Communiqué 2020-08

April 14, 2020

I am writing to advise you that as part of the response to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Ontarians, the government is implementing an enhanced suite of public health measures based on recommendations from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Based on these recommendations, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health will be:

  • Issuing new guidance on the use of cloth (non-medical) masks by members of the public where physical distancing is a challenge or not possible, and ensuring that the use of medical masks is reserved for health care workers, emergency responders (e.g., police, firefighters), and individuals who need to leave
  • their homes for essential reasons;

Note: Please reference current guidance on PPE for first responders including that N95 Respirators are to be used for aerosol generating medical procedures.

  • Considering additional public health measures based on further advice from the Public Health Measures Table (e.g., public gatherings, enhanced protections for essential businesses, urban/rural travel).

Beginning immediately, the Ministry of Health is implementing a new lab testing strategy to utilize testing capacity in the system, support further population testing and contain outbreaks. As part of this work, the Ministry of Health has updated the COVID-19 Provincial Testing Guidance (see attached COVID-19 Testing Guidance Update) to focus on vulnerable populations, health care workers, caregivers, and first responders, in particular:

  • All health care workers, caregivers and care providers, as well as first responders (e.g., police, firefighters), should be tested as soon as is feasible, if they develop any symptom compatible with COVID-19, including atypical symptoms.
  • All facilities conducting testing have also been advised that where there are shortages of testing supplies, symptomatic first responders including fire personnel are included in the group prioritized for testing within 24 hours.

    These guidelines are attached and can also be found on the Ministry of Health’s website accessible through the following link:
    http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_covid_testing_guidance.pdf

We will continue to keep you apprised of actions taken in these key areas and work with you to ensure fire personnel have the tools to do their jobs.

If you have any questions, please reach out through your fire service adviser.

Attachment (PDF)