Durham Region declares state of emergency related to COVID-19 pandemic

Durham Region has declared a state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional chair John Henry issued the following statement around noon Tuesday (March 24).

“Today, based on information collected over the last few days and in consultation with the Chief Administrative Officer, Regional Emergency Control Group, Regional Medical Officer of Health and Durham Emergency Management, I am declaring a State of Emergency in the Region of Durham.

This is a critical time in our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Cases are climbing across Durham Region. We must all do everything we can to keep our community safe and flatten the curve.

In making today’s declaration, this is a message to our entire community: stay home, stay safe and follow the advice of our public health professionals.

I am also ensuring that we, as your Regional Government, can continue to act and respond quickly to the situation we face today, and to any other events that arise in the weeks ahead.

This is not a step we took lightly. It reflects the seriousness of our response to COVID-19 and the tremendous co-ordination and communication that is required from all levels of government.

While I thank our many residents and businesses who are taking every precaution to protect themselves and others, there is still some complacency in our community. I am urging you to do your part: to self-isolate, practise social distancing, and only go outside for essentials. If you are returning from travel, self-isolate in your home for 14 days and ask family, friends or neighbours to drop off supplies for you.

We are all in this together. The Region of Durham is here for you. The health and well-being of our residents is our top priority. We are and will continue to work out of the Emergency Operations Centre to maintain the essential social services, public works and health-care services you rely on.

This is an incredibly tough time in our history, and there will be more difficult days ahead. But we must not lose sight of why we are doing this and why such extreme measures are needed. Only by working together over the coming days and weeks can we change the course of this virus and protect the health and safety of everyone in Durham. I know we can do this. Please help us by doing your part.”

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