The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is looking at legal action as a last resort while enforcing isolation rules under the recently-issued Class Order.

Last week, the Health Unit issued a class order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The order serves as a legal tool to allow the Health Unit to further enforce isolation rules for COVID-19.

The Health Unit says it will work towards helping people understand why they have to isolate before police get involved.

“Taking someone into custody is considered a last resort. When the Health Unit is made aware of violation, the Health Unit will investigate and if needed educate and assist a person to self-isolate,” the Health Unit stated. “If required, the Medical Officer of Health will take the relevant action to the infraction i.e. if refusal to self-isolate, the Medical Officer of Health may order the detention in a secure place for the individual to isolate to limit the spread and may lay fines for the person’s failure to obey the order.”

The Health Unit says the order comes as there have been some instances where people are not properly isolating when they should be.

“The majority of individuals who are required to self-isolate do follow the rules [but] the Health Unit has also received complaints of individuals who are required to self-isolate and are not following the requirements,” the Health Unit said.

Our Health Unit is not the first in the province to implement the class order. Halton Regional Health has had the order in place since May and updated it in October.

Prior to the class order, the only enforcement of isolation came through the Quarantine Act, which requires any international travellers to isolate for 14-days after entering the country.

The Health Unit says the class order allows the enforcement of quarantine for anyone who has or is at risk of testing positive for COVID-19.

“In some cases, individuals subject to home quarantine or isolation measures under the federal quarantine order may also be subject to the class order issued by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s Medical Officer of Health (for example, individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have also recently returned from travel),” the Health Unit says.

As far as what the enforcement of the isolation rules will look like, The class order was issued without an end date, with the Health Unit adding it will be in place “for the foreseeable future.”

Written by Bradley Aubin