Failing to comply with a mandatory self-isolation order could cost you $5,000 per day under a new class order issued by Region of Waterloo Public Health.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang issued the order for case and contact management on Tuesday, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
The order covers anyone in Waterloo Region who has a confirmed or probably case of COVID-19, has COVID-19 symptoms and is waiting for a test result, or has been in close contact with someone with a positive COVID-19 test result or symptoms.
Under the order, which came into effect at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, anyone who meets any of those conditions must self-isolate immediately and not expose anyone else to possible infection from COVID-19.
People must also remain in self-isolation for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, as long as you have no fever and improved symptoms on the 10th day, or 10 days from a test date if you have no symptoms.
Anyone who suffers severe illness from COVID-19 must self-isolate for at least 20 days from symptom onset.
Anyone who receives a negative test result needs to self-isolate until they have improving symptoms for 24 hours without a fever.
The order also says anyone who is close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should remain in self-isolation for 14 days from the day of contact, unless symptoms occur.
A full list of guidelines for self-isolation can be found here.
Health officials say anyone who is in self-isolation must be available to speak to anyone contacting them from public health.
The order says Dr. Wang enacted the order because COVID-19 is a communicable disease with no specific treatment or vaccine.
"Isolation ensures that these people will not spread their infection to others," the order reads in part.
Anyone failing to follow the order could face a fine of up to $5,000 per day.
In a statement to the media on Tuesday, Dr. Wang noted that cases have been steadily increasing in the region since September. Officials reported 19 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the region's total to 1,815 cases to date.
"We are in a very precarious time," Dr. Wang said.
She added that mid-size health units like Waterloo Region are starting to follow in the footsteps of larger units facing COVID-19 spikes in the past few weeks.
Dr. Wang also highlighted that more people under the age of 40 are testing positive for COVID-19. However, she said infections don't stay isolated to certain age groups.
The second wave also differs from the first wave because people are having close contact with other groups, resulting in more contacts per case.
"The increased number of contacts per case and the fact that businesses, workplaces, schools, daycares, etc. are open increases the scale and the complexity of case and contact management," Dr. Wang said.
Waterloo Region isn't subject to localized restrictions on restaurants, but Dr. Wang said local businesses are encouraged to lower the volume on music to prevent shouting and sitting close to others. People also need to leave their contact information at all restaurants and bars.