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Media Release: Hastings Prince Edward Region Moves to Yellow – Protect Level

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/November 27, 2020

Today, the Government of Ontario placed Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) region in the The Yellow – Protect level of the Keeping Ontario Safe & Open  COVID response framework. With 27 new cases being reported in the region over the past 7 days, the local incidence rate of COVID-19 cases is 16.0 per 100,000 people. The incidence rate demonstrates how quickly rates of the virus are increasing in the region.

Strengthened public health measures will come into effect in our region on Monday, November 30, at 12:01 a.m. These measures include limited hours of operations for certain settings, reduced recreational program sizes, additional enforcement and fines, and enhanced education in high-risk settings.

“It is crucial that we protect our vulnerable populations and our health care system capacity,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH). “The level of transmission in our region has increased quickly over the past week, requiring additional preventative measures. To avoid further restrictions, I ask all residents to redouble their efforts at this critical time. Please continue to ask yourself: ‘What can I do to reduce my risk of exposure and help limit the spread of COVID-19? What can I do to protect my family, friends and community?’”

HPEPH recommends all residents practice five fundamental actions to protect themselves and others:

  • Stay home when ill, as directed by provincial assessment tools;
  • Always physical distance with those outside your household;
  • Wear a mask or face covering in public spaces, as well as when physical distancing is difficult or not possible;
  • Wash your hands often, and clean frequently touched surfaces;
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.

In addition, HPEPH asks that all individuals respect requests to avoid non-essential travel and stay as close to home as possible. This is especially important when considering travel to and from regions with higher rates of COVID-19 transmission. HPEPH understands that it can be discouraging to witness increased rates of the virus in our region. Be kind to one another as we work together to stop the spread.

HPEPH continues to work closely with area businesses and organizations to provide support and answer questions. For detailed information about key changes that will come into effect when HPEC moves from the Green-Prevent to Yellow-Protect category, please see the attached Fact Sheet or visit Ontario.ca.

-30-

Media Contact:

Emily Tubbs
etubbs@hpeph.ca

FACT SHEET:

MOVING FROM GREEN TO YELLOW IN THE PROVINCE’S COVID-19 RESPONSE FRAMEWORK

General restrictions:

  • All businesses and organizations must have a safety plan in place.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including protection of the nose, eyes, and mouth is required if staff are providing services indoors, within 2 metres of another person who is not wearing a mask or face covering and are not separated by an impermeable barrier (e.g., plexiglass).

Bars, restaurants, and event spaces:

  • Hours of operation are limited, and establishments must close at midnight. Some exceptions apply including takeout and drive-through or delivery service.
  • Hours of liquor sale are limited from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., no consumption allowed between midnight and 9 a.m.
  • Group seating is limited to a maximum of six (6) people.
  • Contact information is required from all seated patrons.
  • Limit volume of music.

Casinos, cinemas, and performing arts facilities:

  • Hours of liquor sale are limited from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., no consumption allowed between midnight and 9 a.m.
  • Contact information is required from all patrons.

Sports and recreational facilities:

  • Patrons must be at least 3m apart in areas with weights/equipment and in exercise/fitness classes
  • Recreational programs are limited to 10 people per room indoors and 25 outdoors, if the facility is not operating under the approved CMOH plan.
  • Contact information is required by everyone in attendance.
  • Reservations are required for entry.

Personal service settings:

  • Contact information is required from all patrons.

Social gatherings and travel:

  • Limits for certain organized public events and social gatherings where physical distancing can be maintained will remain 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
    • This includes functions, parties, dinners, gatherings BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, or parks.50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors for public events
  • Limits for organized public events and social gatherings where physical distancing can be maintained will remain 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
    • These limits apply to events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities.
  • Non-essential travel from areas of high transmission to areas of low transmission continues to be discouraged.

Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Framework:

The Keeping Ontario Safe & Open COVID response framework has been implemented across the province.

The framework categorizes public health unit regions into five levels – Green/Prevent, Yellow/Protect, Orange/Restrict, Red/Control and Grey/Lockdown. Different restrictions come into effect in each level.

Each public health unit will remain in its level for 28 days, unless indicators worsen at which point it may move to the next highest level.

The indicators used to determine a region’s level are:

  • Epidemiology (Weekly incidence rate, % positivity, Rt, repeated outbreaks in multiple sectors/settings, and more)
  • Health System Capacity (Hospital and ICU capacity adequate or occupancy increasing)
  • Public Health System Capacity (Case and contact follow up within 24 hours adequate or at risk of becoming overwhelmed)

Adjustments to the category assigned to each public health region will be decided by the Provincial government using indicators to assess the previous two weeks of information, or sooner if there is a rapidly worsening trend.

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Province of Ontario has Declared a Second Provincial Emergency to Address COVID-19 Crisis and Save Lives.  Read more.

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the provincial government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work.

Owner/operators of a businesses, workplaces and/or other community organizations who are unsure of how to adjust operations for COVID-19 are encouraged to visit sector specific guidance regarding provincial lockdown measures at Ontario.ca or call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659. If you are unable to find an answer to your questions or need further guidance, please fill out this web form.

During the provincewide shutdown, no indoor social gatherings are permitted, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household. Outdoor gatherings must be limited to 5 individuals, and proper physical distancing must be maintained.

If you are concerned about potential exposure to a positive case of COVID-19, please be reassured that any contacts of a confirmed case will be contacted directly and monitored by public health.

Low-risk and indirect contacts should self monitor for symptoms for 14 days from the time of potential exposure and seek testing if symptoms develop. Low risk contacts do not need to isolate unless symptoms develop, and can continue to attend school/work/daycare while monitoring for symptoms.