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Premier Ford urges cottage-goers to stay home during coronavirus outbreak

Last Updated Mar 28, 2020 at 10:24 am EST

Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions at Queen's Park in Toronto THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Premier Doug Ford has a message for city dwellers hoping to get a reprieve from the coronavirus outbreak by heading north to their cottages this weekend: don’t do it.

Ford says he’s heard from a number of mayors throughout cottage country who are worried that an influx of visitors from the city will put an additional strain on the hospital and healthcare facilities in the region.

Doctors are already warning of a shortage of testing kits and protective equipment as they deal with local cases and an increase in of visitors to the area will further put the public at risk.

“If you have a cottage, please don’t come up to the cottage,” said Ford. “I have a cottage, I’d love to go up there but can’t right now.”

Ford promised that once the worst is over with COVID-19, “we’re going to welcome you with open arms.”

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at a long-term care home in Bobcaygeon. As of March 26, 14 staff members of the Pinecrest Nursing Home have been diagnosed with coronavirus while 33 other people at the home have developed symptoms.

Two residents of the home have died, however, the those two were not tested for coronavirus, according to health officials.

“This outbreak of COVID-19 is currently the largest outbreak in the province and really brings home how devastating and deadly this virus can be for older people in our communities,” said Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, the region’s Medical Officer of Health. “I am asking everyone to do everything they can to stop the spread of this virus – if not to protect yourself but to protect others who need our care.”

Health officials in the region have advised anyone over the age of 70 who are immunocompromised to self-isolate at home.