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. 
Update: As of October 31, 2021, proof of vaccination is required for anyone over the age of 12 to enter sport and recreation facilities in Huron and Perth. Learn more.

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 COVID-19 Self-Isolation Information page.

Learn more about the current orders and instructions in effect in Huron Perth on our Section 22 Orders and Instructions 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.

Section 22 Orders and Instructions

In February 2021, a Class Action Section 22 was updated 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.

Current orders and instructions in effect in Huron Perth can be found on our Section 22 Orders and Instructions page. 

Events and gatherings

The Province of Ontario has placed restrictions on events and gatherings

To help stay safe this fall season, remember that in general:

  • virtual gatherings or events are the safest way to celebrate, especially if people in the group are unvaccinated or if their vaccination status is unknown
  • gatherings or events outdoors are safer than indoors
  • the fewer people who gather, the lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission
  • it is important to remember that knowing someone does not reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19
  • follow public health measures and advice

Learn more at Celebrate safely during COVID-19.

To learn more about organized events, see the province's latest information at COVID-19 Public Health Measures and Advice

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.

See our COVID-19 Information: Places of Worship page for more information, guidance and frequently asked questions on religious services, ceremonies or rites, including HPPH's Letter of Instruction to Owners/Operators of Places of Worship in Huron and Perth Counties. 

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: