Dr. Penny Sutcliffe voiced her support for the Ontario government’s announcement of a new stay-at-home order on Wednesday, citing the ongoing outbreaks in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts service area and significant presence of variants of concern.
Premier Doug Ford announced a new stay-at-home order will take effect on Thursday at 12:01 a.m., along with the expansion of vaccination programs in areas identified as hot spots.
In order to reinforce the importance of following public health measures, PHSD announced it will also begin to provide more information on local COVID-19 outbreaks.
“The situation locally is very serious, and I am supportive of the stronger measures being put into place by the province,” Sutcliffe, medical officer of health with PHSD, said in a press release. “Almost 55 percent of recent cases have screened positive for variants of concern and we are seeing the virus spread in many locations including workplaces, daycares, and social settings. Under the current restrictions, it is illegal to gather indoors with people not from your household. I cannot stress how important it is to follow public health measures to buy ourselves time as we continue to work to get vaccine into arms.”
Under the new restrictions announced by the province Wednesday, non-essential retail stores must also close, except for curb-side pickup. Grocery stores and pharmacies are permitted to stay open for customers to shop indoors and big box retail stores are restricted to selling only essential items for in-person shopping.
To help the community understand where outbreaks are occurring, Public Health said it would immediately begin to post information about all outbreaks on its website, when there are no personal privacy concerns related to the situation.
“With this expanded disclosure of COVID-19 outbreaks, Public Health will begin posting details of outbreaks in settings like workplaces, post-secondary institutions, and licensed child care centres,” the health unit said in its release. “This information is in addition to the details already posted related to outbreaks in schools and institutional settings, such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and congregate living settings.”
The new table can be found at www.phsd.ca/COVID-19/data. The information is to be updated as outbreaks are declared or declared over.
PHSD said its staff will continue to work closely with all settings experiencing outbreaks, as well as affected individuals, to ensure that all protocols and enhanced public health measures are in place, and will continue to issue wider public notifications in situation that involve a risk to the public due to an exposure risk or when people need to take specific actions to protect their health. Individual public notices will not be issued for outbreaks when a risk is not identified for the general community, the health unit said, but the outbreak details will be posted online.
On April 1, the province announced a shutdown to help slow the increase in COVID-19 cases. PHSD’s service area, including Greater Sudbury and the districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, remains in a temporary shutdown in addition to the new stay-at-home order announced on Wednesday.
Nineteen new cases
Despite a steady stream of resolved COVID-19 cases from earlier surges, the active total in the PHSD service area continued to rise on Wednesday.
PHSD confirmed 19 new cases, along with 14 resolved, for an active total of 270 in Greater Sudbury, the Sudbury District and Manitoulin District.
One more cased had screened positive for a variant of concern as of Wednesday afternoon, for a total of 457 since screening began.
Sixteen of the new COVID cases were in Greater Sudbury, two in the Sudbury District and one in the Manitoulin District.
Public Health identified seven more cases as associated with outbreaks and 16 as close contacts of confirmed cases, while two had no known epidemiological link and six were still under investigation.
For more information from PHSD’s daily update of case data, visit www.phsd.ca.