The Government of Ontario announced that it is moving three public health regions into new levels within its COVID-19 reopening framework.
In a release, the province said effective on Monday, March 15 at 12:01 am, Lambton Public Health will be moved into the Grey-Lockdown zone.
As well, Northwestern Health Unit will move to the Red-Control level, and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit will transition to the Yellow-Protect zone.
“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, the 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.”
The release notes that the decisions were made in consultation with each region’s medical officer of health, and are based on public health trends and local conditions.
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As well, the province announced that it will be adjusting capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services in the Grey-Lockdown zone.
As of 12:01 am on March 15, the aforementioned events will be permitted with up to 15% occupancy indoors, or up to 50 people outdoors.
Currently, they are limited to 10 people indoors and 10 people outdoors if held somewhere other than a private dwelling.
“While the data shows that Ontario’s vaccine rollout is helping to save lives, the next few months are critical” said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s 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.”
To date, Ontario has seen 314,891 COVID-19 cases and 7,127 virus-related deaths.