TORONTO — The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) region will again spend another week in the red zone.
The local health unit is not one of three that will be moving to a different level of the province’s COVID-19 framework next week, despite recent COVID-19 indicator data that qualifies the region for the orange level.
The earliest the WDGPH region could now move levels is March 22.
Provincial officials say the framework changes, announced on March 12, were made in consultation with local medical officers of health and are based on the latest trends in public health indicators.
“The latest modelling suggests we are at a critical stage in our fight against this devastating virus, and that the actions we take now will help ensure people stay safe,” stated health minister Christine Elliott.
She added that as the province continues to rollout its vaccination plan, officials “urge everyone to continue following all public health measures and advice to help prevent further transmission and protect our health system capacity.”
Local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer has stated the data with the most significant impact on provincial COVID-19 alert levels are:
- cases per 100,000 population (seven-day moving rate), currently 33.7 locally, which is an orange-level classification; and
- test positivity rate (seven-day moving average), currently 1.6%, which qualifies for the orange level.
However, past decisions indicate health officials want to see these levels sustained for at least a week before easing restrictions in the region.
The province announced WDGPH would return to the red level of the framework on Feb. 16, following a seven-week provincial lockdown that started on Dec. 26.
The placement was originally to last until March 2, but it has now been extended three times.
(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.