Endemic areas revert to Stage 2, Haldimand remains in Stage 3

By Kaitlyn Clark

 The Haldimand Press

HALDIMAND—New daily cases of COVID-19 surpassed 900 on Friday, October 9, 2020 and that afternoon Premier Doug Ford announced endemic areas would revert to Stage 2.

“These modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis,” read the government’s press release.

“The health experts presented the most recent health data, which identified some alarming public health trends that require immediate attention and early action to keep people safe,” said Premier Ford.

Ford continued, “That’s why we are making the difficult, but necessary, decision to accept the health advice and impose further restrictions in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region. By taking action ahead of the long weekend, we will help contain the spread in these hotspots, protect the surrounding communities, shield our seniors and most vulnerable, and contain the second wave surge.”

“At the same time, we are providing support to our small businesses in these hotspots,” he concluded.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, said, “We are seeing the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 rising, hospitalization rates are growing, and community outbreaks are entering our nursing homes and vulnerable congregate settings.”

He added, “We need to act quickly, and we need everyone to follow the public health guidelines if we are going to stop the spread and contain the second wave.”

In addition to the measures being implemented in the Ottawa, Peel, and Toronto public health unit regions, the Chief Medical Officer of Health is also urging all Ontarians to:

  • Limit trips outside of home, except for essential purposes only such as work where it is not possible to work from home, school, grocery shopping, medical appointments, and outdoor healthy physical activity. In addition, travel to other regions in the province, especially from higher transmission to lower transmission areas, should only be for essential purposes;
  • Practise physical distancing of at least two metres with those outside your household;
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so; and
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly; and be sure to follow gathering limits and rules.

“The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts continue to closely monitor the evolving situation across the province to advise if and when public health measures or restrictions should be adjusted or tightened,” continued the government’s press release. “For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.”

Locally, new and active cases have remained relatively low, although there has been a slight increase.

There were nine new cases between October 2 to 11 in Haldimand and Norfolk, although only eight cases were considered active as of press time, bringing the total number of cases to 500 at that time.

“We continue to urge people to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19. Our community has done a good job of keeping case counts down, but the onset of cold weather and the holiday season will pose additional challenges, as socializing outdoors becomes more difficult,” said Matt Terry, Director of Corporate Communications for Norfolk County. “The Health Unit continues to encourage people to wash their hands frequently, practise social distancing, wear a mask when maintaining distance is difficult, and stay home if you aren’t feeling well. Additionally, getting the flu shot this year is more important than ever, as a measure to reduce the pressure on our local health care facilities.”

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