With COVID-19 rates in Greater Sudbury “unacceptably high”, Public Health Sudbury & Districts has called for new measures to help slow the spread of the virus.
On Monday, November 29, Greater Sudbury employers will need to ensure their workers can work remotely, unless the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace.
Health unit medical officer of health Dr Penny Sutcliffe said while the reinstatement of capacity limits at businesses like restaurants and bars on November 8 helped suppress the rapid growth of COVID-19, it said case rates remain unacceptably high.
“We’re basically going back to mid-July when the remote work regulation was in place under Ontario’s Reopening Act. So it’s legally enforceable,” Sutcliffe said.
Greater Sudbury schools will remain open, but the health unit has recommended that school boards make rapid antigen testing available to their students and require a rapid antigen test or proof of vaccination for students who participate in some extracurricular sports.
“We are trying to do everything possible to prevent the closure of schools for in-person learning,” Sutcliffe said.
“In some cases, already in our jurisdiction, the school boards had to make this decision themselves because with the number of layoffs, simply from a logistical point of view, they were not able to keep certain schools. open.
As of November 25, there were 371 ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario. From these. 198 were in educational and childcare establishments.
With a vaccine for children aged five to 11 now available, Sutcliffe said there were so far around 3,000 vaccination appointments for this age group in the region. She said there were around 14,000 children between the ages of five and 11 in the area.
“We have seen in other parts of the world, in other jurisdictions where vaccines have been used in younger age groups, the risk of transmission has certainly decreased,” she said.
The health unit said the Sudbury area was among the three most affected jurisdictions in Ontario. As of Friday, November 26, there were 288 active cases of COVID-19 in the Sudbury & Districts Public Health region. This represents an increase of 23 active cases from the previous day.
“COVID-19 should not be underestimated,” Sutcliffe said in a press release.
“We have high immunization coverage rates and now offer vaccines to school-aged children. The road traveled is truly remarkable. However, the highly transmissible COVID delta variant requires that we apply as much protection as possible. “
Sutcliffe said 38 people in the region have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. She said seven of those deaths had occurred in the past five weeks and five of those people were between 50 and 60 years old.
In addition to the new recommendations for schools and businesses, the health unit has asked individuals to limit their outings, work from home if possible, get vaccinated, wear a mask and stay two meters from others. when they are outside the home.
High rates in Algoma
Meanwhile, Algoma Public Health has requested that the four school boards in Sault Ste. Marie to suspend close contact extracurricular activities for the next 28 days.
The health unit said only extracurricular activities where participants can maintain both mask and physical distance at all times should be allowed to continue during this time.
“In areas where there has been an increase in COVID-19 activity, such as Sault Ste. Marie, it is vital to put in place key safeguards and reduce the most risky activities, ”said Algoma’s medical officer of health. health Dr Jennifer Loo.
“At the same time, we need to work together to minimize the impacts on student learning and their engagement in activities that support their physical, mental and social health and well-being.”
As of Friday, November 26, there were 258 active cases of COVID-19 in the Algoma area.