Chatham-Kent trending towards yellow, may skip orange zone

·3 min read

Chatham-Kent is trending in the right direction.

According to Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, the region is expected to drop by two categories down to yellow the next time the province announces new colour-coded levels of its COVID-19 Reopening Framework. The announcements are typically made every two weeks.

As of Feb. 18, CK Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19, three individuals out of the hospital, and six recoveries. The active total has dropped to 32 cases and hospitalizations down to two people.

“Our numbers in Chatham-Kent are looking very, very good right now with the potential of jumping down two categories, based on what our numbers are at the moment,” Colby said.

Colby also said results are pending on what COVID-19 variant was found in Chatham-Kent last week.

The region’s top doctor said genome sequencing usually takes a week or two and expects results anytime. Colby said the odds are it’s the British variant, but he won’t be 100 percent sure until the laboratory work is complete.

He added there’s no need to have stronger masking practices as a result of the variant.

“Personally, I think masking is a poor substitute for physical distancing,” said Colby. “Physical distancing, avoiding crowds, staying home when you’re sick and increased attention to hand hygiene are the main ways to decrease transmission of COVID-19.”

Colby said the man with the variant was visiting Chatham-Kent from outside the country and was quarantining under Federal Law when it was caught during testing around day 10 of the isolation.

As of Feb. 19, the region is down to 21 active cases, its fewest in more than two months.

What does being in Yellow (Protect) allow?

The following are a list of a few of the items if Chatham-Kent does go into the yellow zone. Go to covid-19.Ontario.ca to see all complete measures in all zones.

Gatherings and close contact

• Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with) and stay at least two metres apart from everyone else

• If you live alone, you can have close contact with only one other household

• Events and social gatherings in private homes, backyards or parks (for example, barbeques): Indoors: 10 people, Outside: 25 people

• Organized public events and gatherings in staffed businesses and facilities (for example, event spaces): Indoors: 50 people, Outside: 100 people

• Religious, wedding and funeral services: Indoors: 30% capacity, Outside: 100 people

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

• Guests must:

- Sit with at least two metres between tables

- Wear masks or face coverings except when eating or drinking (with some exceptions)

- Wear a mask or face covering and keep two metres apart when lining up

- Give their name and contact information

• Time restrictions:

- Establishments must close by midnight

- Alcohol cannot be sold after 11 p.m.

- No one can drink alcohol after midnight

• Not allowed

- Buffets

- More than six people per table

Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments

• Capacity limits: 50 people

- Guests must give their name and contact information

• Not allowed:

- Table games (for example, poker, blackjack, roulette)

• Time restrictions:

- Alcohol cannot be sold after 11 p.m.

- No one can drink alcohol after midnight

Cinemas

• Capacity limits:

- Indoors: 50 people total or 50 people per auditorium when the cinema follows guidance for movie theatres during COVID-19, Outside: 100 people.

• Everyone must:

- Always wear masks or face coverings except when eating or drinking (with some exceptions)

- Give their name and contact information

Stores

• Fitting rooms cannot be right next to each other.

• Guests must wear a mark or face covering and stay at least two metres apart inside and when lining up and gathering outside.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News