SUDBURY -- With dozens of new cases reported in December alone, the Timiskaming Health Unit is invoking a special order to enforce COVID-19 restrictions in its coverage area.

The Class Order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act is expected to come into effect Wednesday, when the health unit is holding a news conference over Zoom to announce details.

The order applies to everyone who has been ordered to self-isolate. Those people include people with COVID, people with mild or worsening symptoms awaiting their test results, anyone with symptoms in the past 10 days, close contacts of people with COVID, and parents or guardians of people under age 16 who have COVID or COVID symptoms.

Failure to comply with the order could lead to a fine of $880 to a maximum of $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues to occur.

The medical officer of health can also have people taken into custody (in a hospital or other appropriate facility) during their self-isolation period if they are not in compliance or cannot comply with self-isolation requirements.

The Timiskaming order follows the same decision by the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, which announced the measure Dec. 24. Other health units in the province have also issued the order, including Toronto, Peel, Halton, Simcoe/Muskoka and Middlesex-London.

In Timiskaming, COVID case counts have risen from 18 at the end of November to 65 as of Dec. 27. A total of 13 new cases have been reported since Dec. 26, and three of those cases required patients to be hospitalized.