WDGPH region likely moving to red COVID-19 alert level on Dec. 14

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region is expected to move into the red (control) level of the province’s COVID-19 alert system on Dec. 14.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer has recommended the move in meetings with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.

“I want to tell every resident of our region, in the strongest possible terms, that COVID-19 is spreading very quickly in our community,” stated Mercer in a Dec. 9 press release.

“The rate at which cases continue to grow – especially in the last few days – requires immediate action.”

The health unit reported 191 new COVID-19 cases between Dec. 4 and 9, while regional COVID-19 indicators, such as case rate per 100,000 population and test positivity rate (76.1 and 3.4% respectively on Dec. 9), have been rising steadily and for weeks have met the criteria for the red level.

If provincial officials follow Mercer’s recommendation, the move to the red level would be announced on Dec. 11 and take effect Dec. 14.

The earliest the region would be eligible to move back to the orange (restrict) level would be Jan. 11.

“Moving to red will place significant pressure on every resident and business in our region,” said Dr. Mercer.

“My preference is always to use less-intrusive and targeted approaches, but the current situation requires we consider all the tools available to us to halt the spread of the virus.

“Please continue to support our local businesses that will be impacted by this decision by shopping local for pick up or delivery.”


The red level includes many restrictions over and above those already in place under the orange level.

For example, organized public events/gatherings are limited to five indoors (down from 10) and 25 outdoors.

Restaurants in bars can seat a maximum of 10 people indoors – down from 50 under level orange – with a limit of four per table. Outdoor dining, take out, drive through, and delivery us still permitted, including alcohol.

Gyms and fitness studios must restrict capacity to 10 (from 50) in areas with weights or exercise equipment, while organized sports will be limited to practices/training (no games permitted).

Casinos must limit capacity to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors (down from 50 for both).

Theatres and cinemas must close, except for drive-in theatres and a few exceptions for rehearsing or performing a recorded/broadcasted event.

A full list of red-level restrictions is available on the Ontario government’s website.

The province offers the following general advice for residents in regions in the red level:

  • trips outside the home should only be for essential reasons (work, school, groceries/pharmacy, health care, assisting vulnerable individuals or exercise and physical activity);
  • families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes;
  • everyone should avoid social gatherings; and
  • work remotely, where possible.

Moving forward

“Each of us has the power to choose actions that help prevent the spread of the virus, that keep us safe, that keep our friends and family safe,” said Mercer.

“I’m asking everyone one of us to make those choices starting right now. Going to a dinner party or gathering right now may mean that your family is dealing with COVID-19 over the holidays.”

She also noted that on Dec. 9 the federal government approved the first COVID-19 vaccine for use in Canada.

“We can see hope on the horizon,” said Mercer.

“Please, please do everything you can to make sure that we all make it over the finish line together.”