Peterborough Public Health’s jurisdiction will be moving from green to yellow in Ontario’s new system for determining COVID-19 preventive measures.
According to the province, the move to tighter restrictions will take effect Monday at 12:01 a.m. and last for 28 days.
The health unit serves Peterborough, Peterborough County, Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation.
The shift to yellow comes as the region’s coronavirus incidence rate has crept up, highlighted by an outbreak at Fairhaven long-term care in Peterborough which has claimed the lives of two residents. There are 13 active cases among residents and three among staff.
As of Friday evening, the health unit reported 21 active cases among 188 since the pandemic was declared. There have been 10 hospitalized cases — three requiring admission to the ICU.
Within the last four weeks, 33 cases have been linked to a contact and a dozen to community spread, the health unit reports. Over the past three months there were 19 cases reported in September, 26 in October and 39 in November as of Friday.
“Moving into the yellow zone is based on a number of indicators that show the rate of community spread is increasing, even if we exclude the cases linked to the Fairhaven outbreak,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.
“The most concerning one for me has been the increased proportion of cases with no link to either travel or contact with a case. I’m hoping the new measures now required for our region will enable us to be more effective in preventing new cases and our staff will be ensuring local business operators have what they need to develop the required safety plans.”
To be moved to yellow, a region now has to, among other things, record a weekly incidence rate of 10 to 24.9 cases per 100,000 people and a per cent positivity rate of 0.5 to 1.2 per cent.
The main focus will see increased restrictions on bars and restaurants, sports and recreational facilities, personal care services, retail spaces and other businesses. For example, bars and restaurants must close at midnight and can only serve alcohol between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Contact information will be required for all seated patrons and groups have to be limited to six.
A full list of restrictions and changes are on the province’s website.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit remains at green level.
On Friday afternoon, the province announced Toronto and Peel Region would return to a lockdown to tackle escalating cases of COVID-19.
More to come.