WELLINGTON COUNTY – It appears the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region will remain in the province’s red COVID-19 alert level for at least another week, despite a significant drop in cases and vast improvements in COVID indicators.
On Feb. 26, WDGPH was not part of the province’s list of nine public health regions that will move from their current level on March 1.
The changes included activating the province’s “emergency brake” in the Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka regions, which moved immediately to the grey (lockdown) level.
“While we continue to see the number of cases and other public health indicators lowering in many regions across the province, the recent modelling shows us that we must be nimble and put in place additional measures to protect Ontarians and stop the spread of COVID-19,” health minister Christine Elliott stated in the Feb. 26 announcement.
“With COVID-19 variants continuing to spread in our communities, it is critically important that everyone continues strictly adhering to all public health and workplace safety measures to help contain the virus and maintain the progress we have made to date.”
The exclusion of the WDGPH unit may come as a surprise to some, considering new and active cases have dropped dramatically in the region in recent weeks and several COVID-19 indicators are also trending in the right direction.
WDGPH’s latest case rate per 100,000 population is 32.7 and its test positivity rate is 1.4%, both of which qualify the region for the orange level.
A few other indicators qualify the region for the yellow level and some, including health system occupancy and public health response, qualify it for the green level.
The province announced earlier this month that WDGPH would return to the red level of the pre-lockdown framework on Feb. 16.
The move was originally to last until March 2, but it appears the region will remain in the red level until at least March 8.
(The province generally announces changes to the framework on Fridays, with the moves effective the following Monday or Tuesday).
A full list of colour-coded COVID-19 restrictions is available on the Ontario government’s website.