Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As of April 8, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., a Stay-at-Home order is in effect for all of Ontario, including Huron Perth. This means that you must stay at home and only go out for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated or for testing), for outdoor exercise, attending school, or for work that cannot be done remotely. 

Learn more about the public health measures and restrictions during the state of emergency and Stay-at-Home order

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, view our Fact Sheet: What you need to know: HPPH Class Order, Section 22: Self-Isolation (PDF) or 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.

Huron Perth and COVID-19 
  

As of April 8, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., a Stay-at-Home order is in effect for all of Ontario, including Huron Perth. This means that you must stay at home and only go out for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated or for testing), for outdoor exercise, attending school, or for work that cannot be done remotely. 

Learn more about the public health measures and restrictions during the state of emergency and Stay-at-Home order

Variants of Concern (VOCs)

What are variants?

  • Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Variants are common with coronaviruses, the type of virus that causes COVID-19.
  • A variant becomes a variant of concern (VOC) when its changes have a clinical or public health significance that affects one or more of:
    • transmissibility (spread)
    • virulence (severity of disease)
    • vaccine effectiveness
    • diagnostic testing

We’re still in the early stages of understanding the above factors with respect to COVID-19 VOC.

  • Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating globally. VOC identified globally and in Ontario include:
    • B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom
    • B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa
    • P.1 variant first identified in Brazil

Why are the variants concerning?

  • These variants seem to spread from person to person more easily and quickly, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.
  • The vast majority of the population is not immune, so many people can become ill.
  • An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
  • Although we’re seeing a lower number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, variant cases are becoming a bigger proportion of positive cases.

Will the current vaccines protect against VOCs?

  • So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently approved vaccines recognize these variants.
  • Boosters and updates to the vaccine may be needed, similar to what happens with influenza vaccines.
  • This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.

 What can people do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and VOC?

Closely adhere to personal and public health measures:

  • limit close contacts to your own household
  • frequent hand hygiene
  • physical distancing
  • stay home when sick
  • get tested if you have symptoms
  • wear a mask/face covering (well-fitted, 3-layer)
  • avoid non-essential outings and travel

Case and contact management guidance has been updated because of the VOCs’ increased transmissibility

  • Household members have the highest risk of transmission from a case
  • Household members of someone who is quarantining as a high-risk contact should stay at home except for essential reasons. Essential reasons to go out include: school, childcare, work, errands such as groceries and pharmacy.
  • Household members of someone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home, until the symptomatic individual receives a negative test result. 

How many variant cases are there in Ontario?

  • A daily summary of confirmed VOC cases in Ontario is available here
Childcare

For parents whose child/ren attend licensed childcare:

  • Use the provincial COVID-19 school and childcare screening tool [online] 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 childcare staff:

For childcare operators:

Events and gatherings

The Province of Ontario has placed restrictions on events and gatherings. 

A province-wide declaration of emergency and a Stay-at-Home order are in effect as of April 8 at 12:01 a.m. This means that everyone is required to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. The COVID-19 Response Framework (colour-coded zones) is paused during this time. 

Limit close contact to your household (the people you live with) and stay at least 2 metres apart from everyone else. Virtual gatherings or events remain the safest way to visit or recognize occasions with people outside your household. 

Always stay home if you have symptoms, physically distance by staying two metres apart from people you don’t live with, wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces (and outdoors if physical distancing cannot be maintained), wash hands frequently, and avoid non-essential travel.

Limits for gatherings and events

  • Indoor organized public events and social gatherings are not allowed, except with members of the same household (the people you live with).
    • Individuals who live alone and single parents may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
  • Outdoor organized public events and social gatherings must comply with public health advice on physical distancing and have no more than 5 people
  • For weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies: 
    • Physical distancing must be maintained
    • Guests must wear masks or face coverings
    • Capacity limits:
      • Indoors: 15% capacity of the room
      • Outdoors: the number of people that can maintain two metres physical distance from each other outdoors
    • Receptions are not permitted indoors and are limited to 5 people outdoors. 
    • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies permitted, subject to certain conditions. 
    • Virtual services permitted. 

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.

How to protect against COVID-19

COVID-19 spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks. The virus spreads more easily in closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact settings.

Close contact means :

  • being within 2 metres of someone in the same room, workspace, or area for 15 minutes or longer; OR
  • living in the same home

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 with at least 70% alcohol 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
  • wear a mask or face covering
  • minimize the number of people you have close contact with
  • maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people outside of your household
  • stay home if you are sick

How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

  • Studies suggest that COVID-19 virus may live 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).
  • The COVID-19 virus is most likely to be on surfaces you frequently touch with your hands. 

Cleaning

Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces to lower the chance of COVID-19 spreading in your home, workplace and public spaces. 

  • toys
  • toilets
  • phones
  • electronics
  • faucets
  • door handles
  • light switches
  • bedside tables
  • television remotes

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

Physical distancing 
Physical distancing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from people outside of your household. 

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 religious services, rites and ceremonies must adhere to the limits set out under the provincial stay-at-home order and associated regulations.

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
    • investigating outbreaks
    • communications
    • leading local collaboration
    • acting as liaison with the Ontario Health Regional Planning Table, and
  • 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 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.

Travel

Travel restrictions are in place in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more from the Government of Canada.

For more information

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