With the nicer weather here, it is tempting to head out to a cottage. It may seem like a great place to retreat to for COVID-19 self-isolation. But before heading out, the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit would like everyone to really think through their decision.
“Consider the impact your decision has on your family and your neighbours,” says Dr. Paula Stewart, Medical Officer of Health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Area. “Consider, as well, the demands on the local community and health care system.”
If deciding to go to your cottage, think about the following:
- If you have to check on your property for insurance purposes, try to make it a day trip.
- Opening a cottage may involve hiring services. Is this essential work right now?
- Going to a cottage may involve a long car ride with multiple stops for gas or food. This could put you in contact with more surfaces and people along the way. Reduce your risk by packing your own snacks and drinks for the trip, and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene at stops.
- If your cottage takes you away from your usual stores, this may create tension on the retail supply in a smaller rural community and make it difficult to maintain a physical distance at the store. Bring enough food from your own grocery store to eliminate the need to shop.
- Determine a plan if you or a family member becomes ill. You may think you can drive to your own hospital or health care provider for care, but COVID-19 symptoms may come on abruptly and you could be severely ill. Is there adequate cell phone service to call for help? Could emergency services access your road and get to you in a timely manner?
- Cottage life may encourage riskier activities like climbing ladders, water sports, and driving ATVs. These may lead to hospital visits or the use of local first responders; services that may already be stretched. Avoid risks or take smart ones. Check out these safety tips.
- Be prepared for ticks; they prefer to live in humid, wooded areas. Bring along insect repellent containing DEET or Icaridin, tweezers to remove a tick, and proper clothing and footwear.
- If you have to access your cottage by boat, ensure this can happen. At this time, marinas are not open to the public and can only let people use their boats to go to their primary place of residence. Check in with your local municipality to see if you can launch your boat there.
- Socializing and cottages often go hand in hand. Remember, gatherings of more than five people are still not permitted.
- Comply with other Provincial orders as well; avoid recreation facilities and amenities that are identified as closed.
Don’t forget to bring along all the public health measures you’ve been doing so far. Limit contact with others, practice physical distancing, and hand hygiene. If you are ill, stay at home and don’t go to the cottage! We are all giving up a lot right now to protect ourselves and others. By staying at your primary residence you could be saving lives, including your own!
The Health Unit has staff answering COVID-19 related questions and concerns for the public from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day at 1-800- 660-5853 extension 2499. Public Health Inspectors are also available to discuss environmental health concerns. You can also get more information about COVID-19 by visiting www.healthunit.org/coronavirus, or by connecting with LGLHealthUnit on Facebook and Twitter.