As COVID-19 cases soar, Sudbury's health unit issues work-at-home instructions
After reporting 47 new cases on Thursday alone, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is tightening restrictions in the area in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health, issued work-from-home instructions Friday under Ontario's Reopening Ontario Act. They take effect Monday in an area that has seen seven COVID-related deaths in the last five weeks.
The instructions include "strong recommendations to area schools, businesses, and organizations, and implementing stricter protocols for contacts of COVID-19 cases," the health unit said in a news release.
The health unit is also bringing in a voluntary Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) screening of students, in coordination with local school boards.
"This is being rolled out now and in advance of the Holiday season, offering another layer of protection," the release said.
"Other strongly recommended actions also include requiring RAT screening or proof of vaccination for students participating in certain extra-curricular sports, strengthened health and safety measures, and mandatory daily confirmation of symptom screening."
While bringing back other restrictions has slowed the spread, Public Health said more needs to be done to get cases under control. The area is currently among the top three highest COVID-19 rates in the province.
"Case rates remain unacceptably high, threatening health and the health system, in-person learning, and local transition to a reopened community," the health unit said.
They are also enacting stricter measures for the follow-up of contacts of cases of COVID-19.
"Public Health will be tightening up our protocols for contact follow-up such that, in certain circumstances some people even if they are fully immunized, will be required to self-isolate," Sutcliffe said.
"We will also be requiring unvaccinated children to stay at home if they have an unvaccinated family member who was exposed to a case."
Sutcliffe said in the release that while schools and household spread are driving the current surge, everyone is being affected.
“With the widespread circulation of the virus in our community, our response also needs to be widespread, reducing mobility and face-to-face interactions overall," she said.
"This is the purpose of the work-from-home instructions. Further, every sector needs to do their part, voluntarily at this time, to pave the path to lower case rates and reopening.”
Public Health said it is reissuing its call to everyone to continue to limit outings, work from home, get vaccinated, wear a mask and keep two metres distance from those outside your household.
For more information or if you have questions about COVID-19 or vaccinations, click here or call the health unit at 705-522-9200, toll-free 1-866-522-9200.