COVID-19: Some Ontario health units restore capacity limits, consider tougher measures

One Ontario health unit said on Monday it would restore capacity limits and other public health rules amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, while another studied save a similar move.

Algoma Public Health says cases are on the rise, especially in the northern city of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., And measures are needed to prevent more infections and protect the health system.

“I continue to call on all Algoma residents to take immediate action to prevent this further spread, and help protect vulnerable members of our community, and maintain capacity. care for our health,” Dr. Jennifer Loo, the area’s medical officer, said in a written statement.

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“Stay home if you have any symptoms, cut down on gatherings and meetings where you don’t show your face, have direct and close contact with people you don’t live with, and please be fully vaccinated. and help others do the same.”

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Loo has ordered businesses in Sault Ste. The Marie area will recover under the capacity limit on Wednesday lifted by the provincial government last month. Masks must also be worn indoors and outdoors at businesses and organized events where people cannot stay two meters apart.

Loo also issued an order requiring people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, or known to have been in close contact with an infected person, to be quarantined or fined up to $5,000 per day.

Another rule has been revised to require organized sports participants 12 years of age or older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive a medical exemption.

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The health unit said COVID-19 activity is now “the highest since the start of the pandemic,” with 155 active cases as of Sunday and a rate of 121 cases per 100,000 people.

It said all communities covered by the health unit were at risk due to frequent travel and residents of all ages had been affected, especially the strain on local hospitals.

Sault Area Hospital’s chief executive officer, Ila Watson, said that continued high hospitalizations “could lead to cancellations of elective surgeries and procedures”.

Eighty-six percent of those eligible in the Algoma medical unit were deemed fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to provincial data.

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Last week, the public health unit in Sudbury, Ont., also restored capacity limits based on an unprecedented spike in cases.

Click to play video: 'New COVID-19 modeling programs increase case numbers across most of Ontario'

New COVID-19 modeling programs increase in cases across most of Ontario

New COVID-19 modeling programs increase in cases across most of Ontario

That increase affected 80 school, daycare and bus groups as of Monday, with 45 groups laid off over the weekend, according to the region’s top doctor.

Dr Penny Sutcliffe also said on Monday that the province and nearby medical units are assisting with contact tracing.

“We are tracking around 1,500 contacts for cases in our area right now,” Sutcliffe said in a video update on Monday. “That was amazing.”

Elsewhere in the province, the Southwest public health unit is also considering new measures as of Monday.

The county health officer for Oxford and Elgin said the positive rate of daily COVID-19 tests in her unit is continuing to rise weekly, reaching around 5.1% recently.

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Dr Joyce Lock said in an interview: “Our (epidemic) curve is definitely increasing. “We continue to see cases in our area with higher rates already being reported for the rest of Ontario.”

Lock said her team is looking at local data to see what additional measures could help stem the spread of the virus and relieve pressure on local hospitals.

General Hospital St. Thomas Elgin, one of three hospitals in the area, said they were facing a dire situation, with the highest number of patients in need of critical care since the pandemic began.

“We have reached capacity to care for critically ill patients and our hospital is operating at capacity – both a direct result of COVID-19,” said Dr. Waleed Chehadi, director of the hospital. institute, said in a written statement. .

“The number of COVID -19 admissions has increased significantly during the week and is expected to continue to increase over the next few weeks. The reality of this means that patients will need to be transferred to other hospitals and receive care outside of the community.”

Click to play video: 'Explosion in group settings delays further lifting of Ontario storage limit'

Outbreak in group settings delays further lifting of Ontario capacity limit

Outbreak in group settings delays further lifting of Ontario capacity limit

As of Sunday, 87% of those eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Southwest Public Health unit had received at least one dose, and 84.1% had received two doses.

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Premier Doug Ford said he wanted to avoid a recurrence of widespread lockdowns and that if any loosened public health measures needed to be brought back, it would be done in a localized way.

The Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kieran Moore recently reiterated that, saying that the battle against COVID-19 will be waged with local measures.

“At the provincial level, to be honest, I don’t see us stepping back,” he said last week when the province announced a pause in reopening.

Nightclubs, strip clubs, sex clubs and bathhouses have relaxed capacity limits this week, but those limits will be in place for at least another month.

© 2021 Canadian Press


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