Seven Other Public Health Regions Moving to New Levels in the Framework
TORONTO — The Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is transitioning Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound District public health regions out of the shutdown and into the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”), with the Stay-at-Home order no longer in effect. In addition, seven other public health regions are being moved to new levels in the Framework. All decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the latest trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.
“Our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to returning to the Framework and due to our progress, all regions of the province will soon be out of the provincewide shutdown,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Despite this positive step forward, a return to the Framework is not a return to normal. As we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”
Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, North Bay Parry Sound District will be returning to the Framework at the Red-Control level. Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health are also making progress, but as their case rates still remain high, they will return to the Framework at the Grey-Lockdown level.
In addition, based on the latest data, the following seven public health regions will also be moving to the following levels in the Framework:
Peterborough Public Health;
Public Health Sudbury and Districts; and
Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit.
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit; and
Timiskaming Health Unit.
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; and
Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
All changes will be effective Monday, March 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Please visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse for the full list of public health region classifications.
Based on the latest modelling data, the efforts of Ontarians in following public health measures and advice are working to decrease the number of new cases, deaths and hospitalizations across the province. However, with COVID-19 variants of concern continuing to spread, the actions of everyone over the coming weeks will be critical to maintaining the progress communities have made across the province to date.
“While all regions have returned to the Framework, everyone must remain vigilant to help prevent any further increases in transmission,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “The best defense against the virus and all of its variants of concern remains continuing to stay at home, avoiding social gatherings, only travelling outside of your community for essential purposes, and limiting close contacts to your household or those you live with.”
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.
From the period of February 23 to March 2, 2021, case rates in North Bay Parry Sound District have decreased by 84.6 per cent to 3.1 cases per 100,000 people and the number of hospitalizations has shrunk from 1 to 0.
In Toronto Public Health the case rates have decreased by 15.7 per cent to 66.4 cases per 100,000 people and hospitalizations have seen an 11.2 per cent decrease. During this same period of time, Peel Public Health has seen its case rates increase by 6.6 per cent to 91.4 cases per 100,000 people. Peel Region has also seen the number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care decrease from 26 to 19.
To help stop the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard health system capacity, everyone is strongly urged to continue staying at home and limit trips outside their household and to other regions for essential reasons only, and not to gather with individuals outside of their household. In addition, people are required to wear a face covering when within two metres distance of another individual who is not part of their household (both indoor and outdoor), with limited exceptions.
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province’s pandemic response, Ontario has introduced 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 continue to have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, and municipalities may enact by-laws, to target specific transmission risks in the community.
Emergency orders O.Reg 8/21 (Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures) and O.Reg 55/21 (Compliance Orders for Retirement Homes) currently in force under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) will be extended to March 22, 2021. Emergency orders O.Reg 11/21 (Stay-at-Home Order), O.Reg.89/21 (Stay-at-Home Order Toronto Public Health), O.Reg. 76/21 (Stay-at-Home Order North Bay Parry Sound District), O.Reg. 73/21 (Stay-at-Home Order Peel Public Health) and O.Reg 13/21 (Residential Evictions) will expire and no longer be in effect as of March 8, 2021.