April 2, 2003

Region's Acting Medical Officer of Health issues two isolation orders

v York Region's Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hanif Kassam, last night issued two mandatory isolation orders to two York Region residents. These two individuals likely had direct contact with someone with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and were putting the public at risk by not complying with the isolation directive from the York Region Health Services Department.

"These orders were necessary to ensure the health and safety of the public," said Dr. Kassam.

More than 2,500 who were likely exposed to SARS have already entered into voluntary isolation for 10 days by remaining at home.

"I appreciate that the majority of residents are displaying civic responsibility by obeying voluntary isolation requests," said Dr. Kassam. "We need continued public co-operation in helping stop the spread of this serious illness."

Anyone who was in Scarborough Hospital - Grace Division between March 16th to 25th or York Central Hospital between March 16th and 28th, and were without respiratory protection (wearing a surgical mask) at any time while in hospital or during their visit, are to be isolated immediately for ten (10) days from their last visit to the hospital.

It is possible that they were exposed to SARS at the hospital and, as a health precaution, they must be isolated for a period of time to prevent exposure of SARS to others.

Those who meet this criteria must call the York Region Health Services Health Connection at

1-800-361-5653 immediately.

The Ontario Health and Protection and Promotion Act states that a Medical Officer of Health may make an isolation order with probable grounds. People who choose to disregard the order may be fined up to $5,000 per day.

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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