COVID-19: Snowbirds told to go straight home

Recreational vehicles and cars of "snowbirds", a term for people who leave Canada before the snow falls and return in the spring, and other Canadians return after it was announced that the border would close to "non-essential traffic" to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

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The Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership (GPREP) is requesting that all residents returning to the region go “directly and immediately” home without making any stops.

“Snowbirds” returning home from outside of Canada are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

“The biggest risk to the region is the return of residents who have been out of Canada,” said Dan Lemieux, acting director of emergency management for GPREP, in a release.

“It is critical that they return to their homes immediately and not make any stops. Do not stop to visit family, do not stop to pick up any pets, don’t even stop for groceries. And once you are home, please stay there in isolation for two weeks.”

In order to get groceries or other household items, snowbirds can use online shopping tools or ask friends and family to help.

“For the rest of the community, if you know of a snowbird returning home, reach out to them to see if you can help them gather supplies they’ll need and deliver them to their door without making contact,” Lemieux added.

Residents undergoing self-isolation are asked to monitor for symptoms such as cough, fever, fatigue or difficulties breathing. Those experiencing these symptoms should complete the AHS online self-assessment tool to determine if testing or other steps are required.

GPREP consists of six regional municipalities, including the city, county, Beaverlodge, Wembley, Sexsmith and Hythe.

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