Huron-Perth and southwestern public health regions change to orange level to respond to the pandemic

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced major blockades in Toronto and Peel on Friday to try to level the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Postmedia photo)

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the Southwestern and Huron Perth public health regions has led the province to move to the “Orange-restricted” level of its color-coded pandemic response structure.

Part of the same Friday afternoon announcement that blocked Toronto and the Peel region, the move to the new levels will take effect on Monday at 12:01 pm, government officials said.

Southwestern public health officials noted that rising numbers in the St. Thomas, Oxford and Elgin counties region – 61 active cases and a weekly incidence rate of 28.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants – led to the province’s decision.

“Our local cases continue to increase, which puts our community at risk,” said public health official from southwestern Joyce Lock in a statement. “We need to change our behaviors immediately to keep our community healthy and prosperous in the long run.”

On Thursday, Huron Perth health doctor Miriam Klassen said she recommended the province move its region to the most restrictive orange level.

“As the number of cases increases across the province and in our area, we must all follow public health measures,” Klassen said in a statement on Friday. “In order to protect our most vulnerable members and our ability to take care of health, it is essential to prevent the community spread across Huron and Perth. Things can change quickly, so we need to be vigilant now to level the curve for this second wave. “

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Klassen pointed to the ongoing outbreak at the Cedarcroft Place nursing home in Stratford – which saw a total of 43 resident cases, 19 employee cases and nine resident deaths – and a set of Perth East cases as two of the main reasons for increasing restrictions in the region. The number of active cases in Huron-Perth was 48 on Friday, down from 71 earlier in the week – the highest number of active cases the region has seen so far. The region also recorded a weekly incidence rate of 34.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

According to the provincial pandemic structure, a public health region can be moved to the Orange-Restrict level when weekly incidence rates rise to between 25 and 40 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Provincial public health officials also consider the percentage of positivity, the level of transmission from the community, the capacity of the health system and the capacity of public health when considering moving from one region to a new level of restrictions.

The Orange-Restrict level is based on public health measures from the previous Yellow-Protect level.

Although the collection limits remain the same for public and private events, religious services, funerals and weddings, there are additional requirements for restaurants and bars, meeting and event spaces, retail stories, personal care services, cinemas, casinos and entertainment spaces. performing arts.

The orange layer also requires new restrictions on visitors to long-term care homes, as well as more frequent testing for employees and support workers.

In Friday’s announcement, the Chatham-Kent public health region was also moved, changing from the green level to the slightly more restrictive “Yellow Protection” level.

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Public health regions must remain at a new level for a minimum of 28 days or two COVID-19 incubation periods. The Ontario government then assesses the effectiveness of public health measures and decides whether regions should remain at that level or be moved to a different level.

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