Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Huron Perth Public Health Unit region is currently in the ORANGE-RESTRICT level of the provincial COVID-19 response framework. Learn more in the section "COVID-19 Level".

Class Order Section 22 - Issued by the Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health, November 29, 2020 

The Order is a legal measure that authorizes the health unit to enforce individual compliance with public health instructions. The key focus of this Order is to ensure people who have been told to self-isolate by public health or a health care provider are doing so. For more information, go to our self-isolation page.

 

Quick links:

Partners and professionals:

HPPH buildings are closed to the public so that we can focus our efforts on the COVID-19 response in our community. Please view our COVID-19 Response Service Interruptions page for a list of programs and services interruptions and modifications.

COVID-19 Level: ORANGE-RESTRICT

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open FrameworkIt ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.

Huron Perth Public Health Unit region is currently in the ORANGE-RESTRICT level. It is critical that you follow public health measures in place for your safety. This includes:

  • Physically distancing (2m) from those outside your household
  • Avoiding non essential travel
  • Washing hands frequently or using 70% alcohol hand sanitizer
  • Wearing a face covering
  • Staying home if you are unwell

ORANGE-RESTRICT measures mean additional requirements for the following:

  • Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments
  • Sports and recreational fitness facilities
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Retail
  • Personal Care Services
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments
  • Cinemas
  • Performing arts facilities

Review all the public health measures in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open framework [PDF].

When does a level get changed?

Indicators will generally be assessed based on the previous two weeks of information. However, movement to apply measures will be considered sooner than two weeks if there is a rapidly worsening trend. Local context and conditions will inform movement, including potential regional application of measures.

Daycare and childcare

For parents whose child/ren are attending a childcare centre or home daycare:

  • Use the provincial COVID-19 school and childcare screening tool [online] or COVID-19 school and childcare screening tool [PDF] to assess the health of your child/ren each morning and determine whether they can go to childcare
  • If your child becomes sick during the day at childcare, your child will be separated from other children and supervised by a staff member until you are able to pick them up. You will then be advised to complete the screening tool for your sick child and follow the directions.

For staff who work in a childcare centre or home daycare:

For childcare operators:

 Events and gatherings

The province of Ontario has placed restrictions on events and gatherings

Police are responsible for enforcing gathering limits. Please note that some public health directions are strong recommendations, but may not be part of a provincial order.

Local police:

If you have questions about whether you are in conflict with provincial requirements, please contact your local police force for clarification.

If you are considering an event, refer to HPPH Guidance on Special Events and HPPH Guidance on Gathering Limits.

Events and gatherings: December holidays including Christmas and New Year's Eve

Virtual gatherings and virtual events are the safest way to visit or celebrate occasions with people outside your household.

At this time, it is strongly recommended that you only have close contact with the people you live with, even when celebrating or recognizing occasions when you would normally gather with others. People who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one additional household to help reduce feelings of isolation and negative mental health impacts.

Individuals living away from home, including those studying at colleges and universities, should consider doing a self-quarantine, or reducing close contact with others, 10 to 14 days before returning home for the holidays.

Individuals unable to reduce close contact with others before returning home, should limit close contact with others, especially seniors and individuals who are immuno-compromised or have underlying medical conditions.

Safer ways to celebrate the holiday season include:

  • Encouraging kids to dress up and participate in virtual activities and parties.
  • Watching holiday or other movies.
  • Decorating doors, putting up lights, etc.
  • Donating to your favourite charity or toy drive.
  • Attending a drive-in or drive-through event.

If you choose to volunteer this season, review and adhere to the precautions that will be in place to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.


If you have a gathering with people you don’t live with:

  • The fewer people, the lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Maintain physical distancing of at least two metres, whether the gathering is indoors or outdoors.
  • Adhere to provincial legal restrictions on public and private gatherings (O. Reg. 364/20). Local restrictions may also apply.

It is important to remember that just because you know someone, it does not reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Keep following good public health practises.


If you choose to host an in-person gathering:

  • Ask guests to not attend if they have symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • Determine how many people can easily maintain physical distancing in the space, without exceeding the gathering limits.
  • You should keep your gathering as small as possible and use outdoor spaces whenever possible.
  • Promote physical distancing, including by arranging seating in advance to appropriately space household groups.
  • Provide all the necessary supplies such as hand sanitizer, soap and water.
  • Plan for how guests will use the washroom to limit people touching the same objects and ensuring it is clean.
  • Open windows, if possible.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces.
  • Make a list of guests in case public health needs it for contact tracing.
  • Remind people to follow public health advice during the gathering, including physical distancing and wearing a face covering indoors and wearing one outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained.


If you choose to serve food or drinks at your gathering, you should:

  • Follow food safety guidelines.
    • Wash your hands before and frequently during preparation.
    • Avoid potluck and buffet-style food service and make a plan for how you will physically distance while distributing and cleaning up food (e.g., bring your own food).
    • Have food on individual plates to prevent your guests from passing and touching the same objects.
    • Have everyone wash their hands before and after eating.


If you choose to attend an in-person gathering:

  • You should not attend if you have any symptoms, even if they are mild, or if you are in quarantine or self-isolating.
  • Limit close contact to the people you live with.
  • Always maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else.
  • Wear a face covering indoors and wear one outdoors if physical distancing may not be maintained.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the gathering.
  • Ask in advance what the plan is for using washrooms and providing food or drinks. You should ensure that people are not touching the same objects or coming closer than 2 metres with others.
  • Consider participating virtually or not attending the gathering if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19, including if you are 70 years or older, are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions.

New Year’s Eve parties at businesses (e.g., restaurant, bar and other food and drink establishments, meeting and event spaces, etc.) are subject to provincial restrictions on public and private gatherings (O. Reg. 364/20). Local restrictions may also apply.

 

Workplace Celebrations
It is strongly recommended that workplaces do not have in-person workplace holiday gatherings or events, particularly if masks or face coverings must be removed to eat or drink. COVID-19 transmission and outbreaks have occurred at these types of events.

Virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to celebrate the holidays with co-workers.

If you choose to host or attend a workplace gathering or event:

  • It is subject to gathering limits, measures and restrictions outlined in O. Reg. 263/20 or O. Reg. 364/20. Local restrictions may also apply. In Grey (Lockdown) Zones, indoor organized public events and social gatherings with people outside of your household are not permitted.
  • You should follow the advice and guidance outlined above about hosting a gathering.

 

Learn more about how to Celebrate the Holiday Season Safely.

 How to protect against COVID-19

Coronaviruses are spread mainly from person to person through close contact. Close physical contact means:

  • being less than 2 metres away in the same room, workspace, or area for over 15 minutes
  • living in the same home

There is currently no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19, but there are actions you can take to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses.

Learn more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Every day actions to protect yourself

Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food
    • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • when coughing or sneezing:
    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
    • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • stay home if you are sick
  • practice safe food handling: shopping, cooking and preparation

How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

  • It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses.
  • Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.
  • This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

Cleaning

Health Canada has published a list of hard surface disinfectants that are likely to be effective for use against coronavirus (COVID-19).

Although they do not claim to kill viruses such as COVID-19, cleaners can play a role in helping limit the transfer of microorganisms.

Health Canada recommends cleaning often, using either regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water) the following high-touch surfaces:

  • toys
  • toilets
  • phones
  • electronics
  • door handles
  • bedside tables
  • television remotes

Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?

Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.

Physical distancing and social circles

Physical distancing is a public health measure that can delay and decrease the number of cases of COVID-19 over time so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. 

The province of Ontario has set indoor and outdoor gathering limits. In all cases, individuals are required to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres with people from outside their households or social circles.

Social circles

The province is pausing social circles and advising that all Ontarians allow close contact only with people living in their own household and maintain two metres physical distancing from everyone else. 

When home isn't safe

For many survivors of domestic violence and seniors who experience abuse, staying home may not be the safest option. If home is not safe for you, please contact Optimism Place (24hr service women's shelter): 1-800-265-8598/519-271-5550, Emily Murphy Centre 1-888-826-8117/519-273-7350, or Huron County Women’s Shelter and Second Stage Housing and Counseling Services at 1-800-265-5506/ 519-524-6245. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

 Places of worship

All services, rites and ceremonies must adhere to O. Reg. 364/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 3.

For more information, please see the Ministry of Health document, COVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies, and the Guidance on Health and Safety for Places of Worship During COVID-19.

For guidance planning indoor or outdoor gatherings, please see the Province of Ontario's Guidance for Meeting and Event Facilities During COVID-19

Role of local public health 

  • Current Huron Perth Public Health activities include:
    • surveillance
    • performing case management (such as assisting with self-isolation) and contact tracing
    • communications
    • leading local collaboration
    • acting as liaison with the Ontario Health Regional Planning Table, and
    • facilitating regional plans.
  • Huron Perth Public Health has a strong partnership with local hospitals and healthcare providers and are working together to respond to the situation.
  • COVID-19 is now a reportable disease in Ontario. This means healthcare providers and organizations are required to report any suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19 to local public health authorities, so that public health can take measures to contain spread of infection.
  • For a suspected or confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Huron or Perth, HPPH works with the Ministry of Health, Public Health Ontario Laboratory, and local hospitals in the management of the case and any contacts.
  • Learn about the public health response in Ontario.

Travel

The Government of Canada has put an official global travel advisory into effect: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. View the latest travel advisories related to COVID-19.

The Government of Canada has also put in place an emergency order under the Quarantine Act. This order applies to all travellers arriving in Canada.

Under this order, if you have recently returned to Canada you must self-isolate (quarantine) and stay home whether you have symptoms or not. Even if you do not have symptoms right away, you are at risk of developing them and infecting others.

If you need it, you will get immediate medical attention when you arrive in Canada.

For more information, see the Government of Canada's latest COVID-19 travel restrictions, exemptions and advice.

If you have a concern about people who are not self-isolating when returning from affected areas, contact your local police services.

For more information

Be sure to read credible information regarding the novel coronavirus, including:

Frequently Asked Questions