In response to rapidly rising COVID-19 case counts in Greater Sudbury, and in consultation with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is issuing stricter measures against COVID-19.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe says instructions have been issued under the provincial Reopening Ontario Act requiring businesses and organizations in Greater Sudbury to reinstate protections recently lifted by the province.
She says the measures, which include reinstating capacity limits and related physical distancing requirements, strengthening masking requirements at organized public events held both indoors and outdoors, as well as requiring proof of vaccination for anyone aged 12 and older actively participating in organized sports, will be reinstated as of 12:01 am tonight.
She says the community is seeing the highest case rates in the province, by far.
Dr. Sutcliffe emphasizes the measures are temporary until the numbers come down and though no one wants to hear this news, we need to turn back the clock to protect people and the health system.
She says last Friday, the health unit reached a milestone of over 3,000 cases of COVID-19 reported since the onset of the pandemic. Public Health reported an additional 27 cases Saturday and 34 on Sunday with 219 cases currently active, the highest we’ve seen since April 2020.
The 14-day rate of new cases is almost double that of the next highest public health unit in Ontario—151.5 per 100 000. The recent surge is in Greater Sudbury, and as no single setting or sector is driving the increase, broad measures are required to reduce the number of contacts people have with each other.
The Health Unit reports transmission is widespread—especially in those aged 18 to 39, where it says vaccination rates are low and case rates are high. This all while Greater Sudbury is experiencing a record number of COVID-19 outbreaks.
“Our current situation is alarming now but could get even worse with winter months and more indoor activities ahead of us. We are in a very different place than the rest of the province. In addition to the current requirements in the regulation, the reinstatement of additional mandatory measures, and the class order I issued recently, I am also asking everyone to work from home where possible, minimize your outings to what’s essential, get tested if you are even mildly unwell, and if you have to or choose to interact face-to-face with others, take all the precautions you can. Consider the number of people and the vaccination status of your potential contacts,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “I am appealing to everyone in Greater Sudbury to ramp up your COVID-19 prevention actions—help us keep kids in school, protect vulnerable individuals, and safeguard our health system capacity.”
The Letter of Instruction issued today will require for Greater Sudbury:
Reinstatement of capacity limits and physical distancing requirements at premises that require proof of vaccination, while preserving their proof of vaccination requirements.
Businesses and organizations to ensure masking at organized public events held indoors and outdoors where participants are within 2 metres of individuals not part of their households.
Anyone 12 years of age and older who actively participates in organized sports (not just coaches, officials, etc.) will be required to provide proof of vaccination unless a medical exemption applies. This additional requirement will also be implemented for the broader Public Health service area.
In addition to the instructions, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is exploring targeted COVID-19 rapid antigen screening in schools for Greater Sudbury, in partnership with boards of education.
For more information visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
Photo: COVID-19 Report