County of Wellington to end state of emergency on March 1

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The local state of emergency will end here on March 1.

The County of Wellington announced in a Feb. 22 news release it is ending the state of emergency in consultation with the medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH).

The county declared a state of emergency on March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The declaration provides Warden Kelly Linton the authority to take actions and make orders he considers to be necessary to protect the health, safety, property and welfare of county residents.

On Nov. 10, 2021, the county announced plans to end the state of emergency by the end of the year, but changed course on Dec. 14, allowing the measures to remain in place due to the emergence of the Omicron variant and rising local case numbers.

The state of emergency also delegates some additional authority to the county’s Chief Administrative Officer Scott Wilson. It has enabled the county to rapidly redeploy staff to assist at the Wellington Terrace Long-Term Care Home and in COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

The City of Guelph and Dufferin County, both of which fall under the WDGPH service delivery area, will also end their local emergency states on March 1.

“After nearly two years of a global pandemic, it is time to start returning to normal life,” said Warden Kelly Linton. 

“As key public health system indicators are continuing to improve, there is no longer a need for our local state of emergency.

“This positive progress is the direct result of the majority of our residents acting responsibly by getting vaccinated and following basic public health guidelines. I continue to encourage each and every one of you to get vaccinated so that as a community we can protect the gains we have made.”

Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health for WDGPH, stated “the long-standing partnership” between WDGPH and Wellington County “has made a real difference in helping residents deal with COVID-19 over the past two years.

“As the pandemic impacted local communities, those at risk were able to understand the best measures to take based on the communications and actions of the county,” stated Mercer.

“It has been a difficult time for many, but ensuring residents knew where to get vaccinated and what actions to take to protect themselves and their loved ones, has been a constant priority.”

She added, “I look forward to continuing this level of cooperation with Wellington County and all local municipalities as we apply the lessons learned over the past two years and navigate the future keeping in mind the health and safety of all residents.”

To date, over 80% of eligible Wellington County residents (ages 5+) are vaccinated with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, the release states.