Coronavirus: Premier Doug Ford pleads for city residents to avoid rural cottages, properties

WATCH ABOVE: Premier Ford is asking people not to head north to self-isolate. There are concerns the more rural areas don’t have the capacity or resources to deal with COVID-19. Miranda Anthistle reports from Queen’s Park.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is asking residents in urban areas to avoid heading to their cottages and rural properties across the province during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford made the remarks during an update on the provincial government’s response to the pandemic Friday afternoon.

“I’ve been getting a tremendous amount of calls from cottage country mayors, if I can call them that, and residents too,” Ford said.

Coronavirus: 967 active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, province now at 18 deaths

He said rural areas may have more difficulty replenishing essential items if there is an added demand.

“Also the hospitals, they don’t have the capacity we do in urban settings and as they all say, ‘We’re going to welcome you with open arms when we get through this,’ but right now it’s putting a lot of strain on their system out there,” Ford said.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, which oversees part of cottage country, said the region is experiencing community transmission of COVID-19.

“Due to this, public health is unable to monitor how the virus is spreading from person to person and this makes it more difficult to slow its spread,” local health officials said.

There are 33 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Simcoe Muskoka, including five hospitalizations and three deaths.

Ontario confirmed 132 new active cases on Friday morning and three additional deaths, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 967 and 18 deaths.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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