Today Ontario transitioned 27 public health regions out of the shutdown and into a revised COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”).
The four remaining public health regions, Toronto Public Health, Peel Public Health, York Region Public Health and North Bay Parry Sound District, will remain in the shutdown, and the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures will continue to apply to these four public health regions.
Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, the following public health units have been moved back to the Framework as of 12:01 a.m. today, and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order:
· Niagara Region
· Region of Waterloo
· Thunder Bay
· Wellington-Dufferin Guelph
· Brant County
· Eastern Ontario
· Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge
· Huron Perth
· Porcupine Health
· Sudbury and Districts
· Grey Bruce
· Leeds, Grenville and Lanark
For North Bay Parry Sound District, Peel Public Health, Toronto Public Health and York Region Public Health, it is proposed that the shutdown measures and the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until at least Monday, February 22, 2021. Please visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse for the full list of public health region classifications.
After returning to the Framework, public health regions will stay in their level for at least two weeks at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health and workplace safety measures to determine if the region should stay where they are or be moved to a different level. Public health regions will move up through the levels, if necessary, based on the set indicators and thresholds outlined in the Framework.
Visitor restrictions for long-term care homes will once again apply to those homes in the public health regions that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher. In addition, long-term care homes must implement enhanced testing requirements.
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province’s pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an “emergency brake” to allow the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, to immediately advise moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission. Local medical officers of health also have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to target specific transmission risks in the community.
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.