Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Roadmap to Reopen: Ontario, including Huron Perth, is currently in Step 3 of Ontario's Roadmap to Reopen. During Step 3 of the Roadmap, we must all continue to follow the public health measures, advice and restrictions that are in place. 
Class Order Section 22 - Issued by the Huron Perth Medical Officer of Health, February 26, 2021. 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 or visit 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.

Travel

Travel restrictions are in place in Canada and globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-essential travel outside of Canada is not advised.

Travelling outside of Canada

  • If you are travelling internationally, check to see if there are any restrictions or requirements in your destination country. Also make sure you are aware of the requirements for your return to Canada.
  • Learn more from the Government of Canada.

Travelling within Canada

  • There are no federal requirements for travelling within Canada but there may be provincial or territorial rules and restrictions. Go to the province or territory website of your final destination to find out.
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
  • Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating globally. VOC identified globally and in Ontario include:
    • Alpha (B.1.1.7) – first identified in the United Kingdom in November 2020
    • Beta (B.1.351) – first identified in South Africa in December 2020
    • Gamma (P.1) – first detected in travelers from Brazil who arrived in Japan in January 2021
    • Delta (B.1.617.2) – first detected in India in October 2020
  • Of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario, the majority are variants.

Why are the variants concerning?

  • Evidence has shown that these variants:

    • spread more easily (are more transmissible)
    • may cause more severe illness than the original strain of COVID-19
  • This may lead to an increase in the number of cases, more hospitalizations, which will put more strain on healthcare resources.

Will the current vaccines protect against VOCs?

  • So far, evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines protect against the variants. Two doses of vaccine are needed for full protection.

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

  • get vaccinated
  • wash hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer
  • maintain two metres of physical distance from others
  • stay home when sick
  • get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
  • wear a mask/face covering (well-fitted, 3-layer)
  • avoid non-essential travel

Learn more about COVID-19 variants.

Events and gatherings

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

As of Friday, July 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario, including Huron Perth, is in Step 3 of the Roadmap to Reopen. During this time, we must all continue to follow the public health measures, advice and restrictions, including limits for gatherings and events.

Refer to Ontario Regulation 364/20 for a complete list of rules in Step 3.

Continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance from others who you do not live with. Always stay home if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (even if mild), wash your hands frequently, and get tested if you think you have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Limits for gatherings and events

Social gatherings & organized public events:

  • Indoors: up to 25 people

  • Outdoors: up to 100 people

  • All individuals must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others (except for other members of their household or their caregivers). 

Places of worship, weddings, funerals and other religious services, rites or ceremonies:

  • Indoors: limited to the number of people who can safely maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from every other person in the room

    • Indoor receptions are limited to 25 people unless held at a meeting or event space, or a restaurant or other food or drink establishment. See O. Reg. 364/20 for limits on meeting and event spaces, and food & drink establishments. 
  • Outdoors: limited to the number of people who can safely maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from every other person in the room
    • Outdoor receptions are limited to 100 people unless held at a meeting or event space or a restaurant or other food or drink establishment. See O. Reg. 364/20 for limits on meeting and event spaces, and food & drink establishments.
  • All individuals must maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from people outside of their household
  • Guests must wear masks or face coverings when they are within 2 metres of another person who is not part of their household

  • Drive-in services, rites or ceremonies are permitted, subject to certain conditions

Indoor/Outdoor dining:

  • Indoor and outdoor dining permitted with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres and other restrictions

Indoor/Outdoor recreation:

  • Indoor sports and recreational fitness facilities permitted to open up to 50% capacity of the indoor space. Indoor spectators limited to 50% of the usual seating capacity, or 1,000 people, whichever is less. 
  • Outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities open. For unseated events, capacity for spectators limited to 75% or 5,000 people, whichever is less. For events with fixed seating, capacity for outdoor spectators limited to 75% of the usual seating capacity or 15,000 people, whichever is less. 

For a complete list of public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in Step 3, refer to O. Reg. 364/20.

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.

Special Events

For guidance on hosting a special event during COVID-19, see our Special Events and Gatherings Fact Sheet

  • Gatherings like special events can contribute to the spread of respiratory pathogens, such as COVID-19.
  • It is important to note that the health unit does not “APPROVE” these events. Our role is to work with event operators, before and during, to ensure that proper public health measures are being followed. We review the details of event plans to determine if proper public health measures are being implemented and how event operators will ensure they are followed.
  • The guidance is to support event organizers and operators with their planning and overall operation of an event during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides recommendations to reduce the risks of COVID-19 – it is not legal advice.
Places of worship
All religious services, rites and ceremonies must adhere to the limits set out under Step Three of the provincial Roadmap to Reopen and Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3.
 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:

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.

Role of local public health 

  • Huron Perth Public Health leads the local response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our role includes:
    • surveillance
    • case management (such as assisting with self-isolation) and contact tracing
    • investigating outbreaks
    • communications
    • vaccine rollout
  • 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 the spread of infection.

For more information:

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