Dr. Colby expects C-K to enter Red Zone or possibly Orange Zone

·3 min read

When the Stay-at-Home order is lifted, it is expected Chatham-Kent will return to the Red-Control level.

The colour-coded system will again be in effect beginning Feb. 17; however, CK Public Health is still waiting to find out to which colour the area will return and what measures will be in place.

According to Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, the local COVID-19 numbers are currently fluctuating between Red-Control and Orange-Restrict levels.

All Ontarians are being asked to limit close contact to their immediate household, regardless of the zone in which they live.

Despite currently having a high number of active cases, Colby said he believes active cases will start dropping considerably when the large outbreak at Fairfield Park Nursing Home in Wallaceburg gets resolved. He added he’s not a big fan of the provincial colour-coded system.

“I will not be a real happy camper if we have less stringent precautions in place than our neighbours because that encourages people to migrate to our community to seek services,” said Colby. “Whether that will be taken into account this time, I don’t know, but those kinds of viewings have been expressed to the government. Not to allow big discrepancies between co-dependent neighbours.”

The Red zone has broader-scale measures and restrictions across multiple sectors to forcefully control transmission. The weekly incidence rate is 40 per 100,000 or more, while the positivity percentage is 2.5 percent or more.

Limits for all organized public events and social gatherings are five people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Limits for religious services rites or ceremonies, including wedding services and funeral services, where physical distancing can be maintained (applies in any venue other than a private dwelling): 30 percent capacity of the room indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments have capacity limits, where physical distancing can be maintained: 10 patrons seated indoors with a limit of four people sitting at a table. Outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery are permitted, including alcohol. Establishments must be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Liquor sold or served only between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. There will be no consumption of liquor permitted between 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Other capacity limits include: 75 percent for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, pharmacies. 50 percent for all other retail, including discount and big-box retailers, liquor stores, hardware stores and garden centres

Those in the red zones are told to only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as work, school, grocery shopping, exercise, and medical appointments.

Colby added that all residents at long-term care facilities and high-risk retirement homes in the area have now been vaccinated -- except for Fairfield Park Nursing Home in Wallaceburg, which is still dealing with an outbreak.

He said vaccines have been reserved for Fairfield Park residents and the shots are ready to go when the outbreak is over. Colby said the province does not recommend vaccination teams go into long-term care homes that are in outbreak until that situation stabilizes, adding there was no point in going in to vaccinate those residents because the vaccine doesn’t work on someone who has already been infected.

Colby is confident the second round of long-term care doses can be administered in time as the maximum window between shots is 42 days.

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