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Rising number of cases sees Public Health Sudbury reinstate work-from-home rule starting Monday

Saying local COVID-19 case rates remain “unacceptably high,” Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reinstating work-from-home requirements starting Monday.

High rates of COVID-19 cases mean the Public Health Sudbury & Districts region is among the three hardest-hit jurisdictions in Ontario, according to a news release released Friday.

Local protective measures, including reinstating capacity limits first published Nov. 8, have suppressed rapid case growth; however, case rates remain unacceptably high, threatening health and the healthcare system, in-person learning and local transition to a “reopened” community, the health unit said.

The PHSD said it was announcing “a measured and responsible approach to the current situation”. The medical officer of health reinstates work-from-home requirements, revoked by the province on July 15, issuing strong recommendations for COVID-19 protections to area schools, businesses and organizations, and adopting stricter measures for tracking contacts of COVID-19 cases.

“We have carefully reviewed recent data and consulted with the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

“While school-based cases and household spread are currently driving our high case counts, cases continue to be reported in young adults, social settings and workplaces. It’s hard to find a setting that isn’t impacted.

“With the widespread circulation of the virus in our community, our response must also be widespread, reducing mobility and face-to-face interactions overall. This is the purpose of homework instructions. Moreover, every sector must do its part, voluntarily at this time, to pave the way for lower case rates and reopening. »

You can read the full instruction letter here.

Effective 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 29, the updated letter of direction will require businesses and organizations open in the City of Greater Sudbury to ensure workers perform their work remotely, unless nature of their work does not require them to be on-site at the workplace. Some exceptions apply, the health unit said, which you can find in the letter.

Public Health is also partnering with area school boards to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools and further protect in-person learning.

Among the measures strongly recommended by the Medical Officer of Health to school boards is the voluntary rapid antigen test (RAT) screening of students. This is rolling out now and ahead of the holiday season, providing another layer of protection.

Other strongly recommended actions also include requiring RAT screening or proof of vaccination for students participating in certain extracurricular sports, strengthening health and safety measures, and mandating daily confirmation of symptom screening. .

“COVID-19 should not be underestimated,” Sutcliffe added.

“We have high vaccination coverage rates and now offer vaccines to primary school-aged children. The path traveled is truly remarkable. However, the highly transmissible variant of COVID Delta requires that we apply as many protections as possible. To enhance these protections, Public Health will tighten our contact tracing protocols so that in certain circumstances some people, even if fully immune, will need to self-isolate.

“We will also require unvaccinated children to stay home if they have an unvaccinated family member who has been exposed to a case. We should conduct ourselves knowing that every action counts – this means that every layer of protection we can put on ourselves and our family members reduces our risk of becoming infected and possibly developing serious acute or life-threatening symptoms. long term.

“Tragically, we have witnessed 38 deaths from COVID-19 across our region, and of these, seven people have died in the past five weeks. Notably, and a change from what we were seeing earlier in the pandemic, is that five of the people who have lost their lives since late October were in their 50s and 60s, further highlighting everyone’s vulnerability when the COVID-19 has the ability to spread.”

Public Health reiterates its call on everyone to continue to limit your outings, work from home, get vaccinated, wear your mask and keep a distance of two meters from people outside your home.

Monitor yourself for symptoms and stay home if sick – even mildly symptomatic people should immediately self-isolate and get tested to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. With the holiday season fast approaching, these guidelines should guide your decisions about pre-holiday celebrations.

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Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera