The Ontario Government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is transitioning Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound District public health regions out of the shutdown and into the revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”), with the Stay-at-Home order no longer in effect.
In addition, seven other public health regions are being moved to new levels in the Framework. All decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the latest trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.
“Our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to returning to the Framework and due to our progress, all regions of the province will soon be out of the provincewide shutdown,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. “Despite this positive step forward, a return to the Framework is not a return to normal. As we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”
Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, North Bay Parry Sound District will be returning to the Framework at the Red-Control level. Toronto Public Health and Peel Public Health are also making progress, but as their case rates still remain high, they will return to the Framework at the Grey-Lockdown level.
In addition, based on the latest data, the following seven public health regions will also be moving to the following levels in the Framework effective March 8 at 12:01 a.m.:
Red-Control: Peterborough Public Health; Public Health Sudbury and Districts; and Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit.
Orange-Restrict: Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit; and Timiskaming Health Unit.
Yellow-Protect: Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit; and Renfrew County and District Health Unit.
“While all regions have returned to the Framework, everyone must remain vigilant to help prevent any further increases in transmission,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “The best defense against the virus and all of its variants of concern remains continuing to stay at home, avoiding social gatherings, only travelling outside of your community for essential purposes, and limiting close contacts to your household or those you live with.”
The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians.