Ontario Moving Three Regions to New Levels in the COVID-19 Response Framework
March 12, 2021
TORONTO — On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is moving three public health regions to new levels in the revised and strengthened Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, including moving Lambton Public Health into Grey-Lockdown. Decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions. "The latest modelling suggests we are at a critical stage in our fight against this devastating virus, and that the actions we take now will help ensure people stay safe," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "As we near completion of Phase One and prepare to rollout Phase Two of our vaccine distribution plan next month, we urge everyone to continue following all public health measures and advice to help prevent further transmission and protect our health system capacity." Based on the latest data, the following three public health regions will be moving from their current level in the Framework to the following levels effective Monday, March 15, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.:
Lambton Public Health
Northwestern Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit.
In addition, effective today at 12:01 a.m., the government, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, activated an "emergency brake" in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts region, moving it to the Grey-Lockdown level. The decision was made due to the concerning trends in public health indicators and in consultation with the local medical officer of health. Please visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse for the full list of public health region classifications. On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the province is also adjusting capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies held in regions currently in the Grey-Lockdown level of the Framework. Effective Monday, March 15, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies will be permitted to allow for up to 15 per cent total occupancy indoors, or up to 50 people outdoors. "While the data shows that Ontario's vaccine rollout is helping to save lives, the next few months are critical" said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "We all must remain vigilant and continue following public health advice and measures to prevent transmission, as variants of concern are continuing to become more prevalent throughout the province and threaten to undue all of the positive gains we have all worked so hard to achieve." The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians.
From March 3 to 9, 2021, Lambton Public Health’s case rate increased by 30.9 per cent, to 110.0 cases per 100,000 people, well above the provincial average. During the same period of time, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region have increased by 33.3 per cent.
Based on the latest modelling data, Ontario’s vaccine rollout is making a positive difference and helping to save the lives of some of our most vulnerable, however, the rate of decline in the number of new cases and positivity rates are showing signs of slowing down. As variants of concern continue to spread throughout the province, the number of patients requiring hospitalization and intensive care will likely rise once again if public health measures are not followed by all Ontarians.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard health system capacity, everyone is strongly urged to continue staying at home and limit trips outside their household and to other regions for essential purposes only, and not to gather with individuals outside of their household. In addition, people are required to wear a face covering when within two metres distance of another individual who is not part of their household (both indoor and outdoor), with limited exceptions.
Local medical officers of health continue to have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and municipalities may enact by-laws, to target specific transmission risks in the community.
Healthy people are essential for a healthy economy. On March 24, 2021, the government will release the 2021 Ontario Budget. It will focus on protecting people’s health, with a plan to defeat COVID-19, and provide support for people and jobs.
Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies for advice on the delivery or provision of a religious service, rite or ceremony.
To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People, which has information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.
Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert App. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.
Visit Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine web page to view the latest provincial data and information on COVID-19 vaccines.
Visit Ontario’s COVID-19 information website to learn more about how the province continues to protect the people of Ontario from the virus.
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