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Coronavirus: Eastern Ontario Health Unit moving to orange-restrict zone

A sign advising to wear a face covering at a shopping centre in Kingston, Ont., on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues across Canada and around the world. Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press

Multiple regions in eastern Ontario will enter stricter coronavirus control zones on Monday, the province announced Friday.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit will move to the province’s orange-restrict zone in the coming days, while Leeds, Grenville and Lanark will move from green to the yellow-protect status.

Both health units have seen relatively higher spikes in new COVID-19 cases in December following a relatively calm November.

Click to play video 'Toronto, Ottawa first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario' Toronto, Ottawa first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario
Toronto, Ottawa first to receive COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario – Dec 10, 2020

The EOHU set a new record for the region with an increase of 46 COVID-19 cases on Friday, according to the provincial dashboard. The EOHU is currently showing a rate of 88 active cases per 100,000 residents, compared to 44 cases per 100,000 in Ottawa and 43 cases per 100,000 in Leeds, Lanark and Grenville.

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The EOHU includes Cornwall, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, Casselman, Alexandria, Hawkesbury and Clarence-Rockland.

The EOHU was originally set to join Ottawa in the orange zone when the province’s colour-coded framework was first announced in November, but ended up in yellow when the program officially rolled out. The region dipped into the orange zone as of Nov. 16, but switched back to yellow just a week later, where it has stayed ever since.

Read more: Ottawa, Toronto to each receive 3,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine next week

Eastern Ontario will now rejoin Ottawa in orange as provincial health officials say the latest lockdowns have not been as effective as the spring shutdowns in stemming the spread of the virus.

Among the restrictions now facing EOHU are limits of four people per table in restaurants, closing times of 10 p.m. for bars and a ban on spectators at sporting events.

See the full list of restrictions as part of Ontario’s colour-coded system here.

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