From Orange to Yellow, EOHU region to lessen restrictions Monday

·3 min read

TORONTO/CORNWALL – While Toronto and Peel Region will move into lock-down as COVID-19 infections continue to rise, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region will drop back down to Yellow level restrictions beginning Monday. Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Friday afternoon.

As of 12:01 a.m. November 23rd several areas will change in their colour-coded restriction level. Toronto and Peel will move into lock-down with non-essential shopping moving to curbside pick-up only, and non-essential businesses severely restricted or temporarily closed. Restaurants will move to take-out or delivery only.

But the Eastern Ontario region, which was moved into Orange over a week ago when new thresholds for the colour-coded system were put in place will drop down to Yellow, also as of 12:01 a.m. Monday.

The change from Orange to Yellow level restrictions primarily modify the number of people allowed to sit at a table during indoor dining, and other types of business occupancy restrictions. Restaurant and bar hours can be open an hour longer as of Monday as well.

The EOHU was placed in Orange based on the rolling seven day average of infections per 100,000 people. Eastern Ontario had a level that was above the 25 person baseline.

Ottawa remains in Orange Level restrictions. Other health units in Eastern Ontario including Leeds-Grenville-Lanark, and Kingston-Frontenac and Lennox & Addington, will move from Green level to Yellow.

Also included in the measures announced Friday, a new testing regime is also being put in place beginning November 23rd for long-term care homes. If a facility is in Green or Yellow regions, staff and volunteers with direct contact to residents and patients will now be required to be tested for COVID-19 twice-per-week. Volunteers without direct contact to residents, caregivers, personal support workers, and visitors are only required to declare that they have not had symptoms in the past 14 days. The testing requirements will become more stringent if a region moves into Orange or higher level restrictions.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health for the EOHU said that police and peace officers will have new powers which will allow ticketing individuals who violate Section 22 orders in place. Before, violations to Section 22 orders were harder to ticket without health officials present.

The COVID-19 positivity rate in the EOHU is 1.2 per cent, Roumeliotis said.

Locally there are no active cases of the virus in South Dundas and there have been fewer than five cases total. There are also no active cases in North Dundas.

Overall in the EOHU region, which includes SDG Counties, the City of Cornwall, Prescott-Russell, and the northern portion of Akwesasne, there are 103 active cases of COVID-19. There have been 787 cases since the pandemic began.

There are four outbreaks currently active, three in long-term care homes, and one in a school. None of the outbreaks are in Dundas County.

The EOHU update statistics on the COVID-19 pandemic Monday-to-Friday excluding statutory holidays.

A full list of Ontario's colour-coded restrictions are available here.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader