COVID-19 protocols expanded in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts
Health authorities in Sudbury are expanding COVID-19 restrictions that were in place for the city to now include the entire Sudbury and Manitoulin districts.
"We are at a point where we need to double down on the basics like masking, physical distancing, and vaccination. But local circumstances also mean that we also need some new rules, rolling back some relaxed measures, to further protect people who are unvaccinated, especially kids," said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the medical officer of health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts in a news release Wednesday night. "Today I am announcing new protective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and do our best to ensure we are as prepared as we can be for the highly transmissible Omicron variant."
The following new instructions take effect Dec. 11 at 12:01 a.m.:
- Businesses and organizations must limit social gatherings and organized public events to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors;
- Food service businesses must reimplement some protections from Stage 2, such as no buffets and ensuring customers remain seated, except where dancing is permitted;
- Indoor sport and fitness facilities must increase physical distancing to three metres for some activities and establish new safety precautions in washrooms and change rooms;
- Team sports or games involving physical contact must be modified to eliminate it, with limited exceptions for professional and elite leagues and associations;
- Malls must reduce the music volume, prevent lineup and congregating unless physical distancing of two metres is maintained;
- Increased workplace safety measures for those who cannot work remotely, including virtual meetings and staggered breaks.
Proof of vaccination for people ages 12 and older is moving from voluntary to required for all non-essential businesses and organizations while maintaining capacity limits starting Dec. 15 at 12:01 a.m.
The Sudbury health unit is strongly advising that the public avoid non-essential travel, including holiday travel plans, take steps to make social gatherings in private settings as safe as possible, consider the vaccination status of everyone attending gatherings.
They also recommend practicing safe retail behaviours and considering curbside pickup.
Finally, for those living in long-term care and retirement homes, be aware of the vaccination status of anyone you visit.
As of Wednesday at 4 p.m., there are 363 active cases of COVID-19 in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. The region's 43rd COVID-related death was confirmed along with 50 new cases on Wednesday.
In less than a month, there have been 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the area, representing more than a quarter of the total cases since the pandemic began.
"While we do see cases of COVID-19 among students, which ultimately affect classes, cohorts, and schools, transmission is mostly occurring in community—we are not seeing high transmission of COVID-19 in schools and we remain focused in preserving in-person learning," Sutcliffe said.