The Government of Ontario is moving multiple public health regions into new levels of its COVID-19 reopening framework.
Part of the move includes activating an “emergency brake” in Thunder Bay District Health Unit and Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit.
This moves the regions into the Grey-Lockdown zone in order to interrupt virus transmission, contain community spread, and protect health system capacity, according to the provincial government.
“Due to data and local context and conditions in the Simcoe-Muskoka and Thunder Bay Districts, it was necessary to tighten public health measures in these regions to ensure the health and safety of the region at large and stop the spread of the virus,” said Dr. David Williams, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
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The government said it has made the decision to move Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka into a lockdown due to the “rapid worsening” of key public health indicators in the region.
As well, Simcoe-Muskoka has reported 170 cases of COVID-19 variants – the highest count of virus mutations in the province.
Here’s who else is moving as of March 1:
- Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit; and
- Thunder Bay District Health Unit.
- Niagara Region Public Health.
- Chatham-Kent Public Health;
- Middlesex-London Health Unit; and
- Southwestern Public Health.
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit; and
- Huron Perth Public Health.
- Grey Bruce Health Unit.
The government confirmed that Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health, and North Bay Parry Sound District will remain under Shutdown measures and Stay at Home orders until at least March 8.
Final decisions on when to transition the regions into the reopening framework will be made based on key public health indicators and consultations with local medical officers of health.
All other public health regions will remain at their current level.
“While we continue to see the number of cases and other public health indicators lowering in many regions across the province, the recent modelling shows us that we must be nimble and put in place additional measures to protect Ontarians and stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, the Minister of Health.
“With COVID-19 variants continuing to spread in our communities, it is critically important that everyone continues strictly adhering to all public health and workplace safety measures to help contain the virus and maintain the progress we have made to date.”
To date, Ontario has seen 298,569 COVID-19 cases and 6,944 virus-related deaths.