Windsor-Essex moving into "Yellow-Protect" COVID-19 restriction category
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The restriction status for Windsor-Essex is changing to the “Yellow-Protect” category.
Premier Doug Ford made an announcement about the changes within the COVID-19 shutdown framework for the province on Friday afternoon.
Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent were previously both listed in the “Green-Prevent” level of the Ontario government’s new system of shutdowns.
While Chatham-Kent says in green, on Nov. 16 at 12:01 a.m., Windsor-Essex moves into the yellow zone. Here are the guidelines for yellow and the other colours: COVID-19 response framework: keeping Ontario safe and open.
The five categories the province revealed on Nov.3 are Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Grey-Lockdown.
Windsor-Essex had 35 new cases on Friday and 39 new cases on Thursday.
Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said released his own letter of instruction outlining additional recommendations for local actions.
“It’s time for us to review these guidelines, the restrictions and we should enforce it strongly,” says Ahmed.
He says it will set clear guidelines for the community and allow local bylaw officers, police and tobacco and vaping enforcement officers to strictly enforce these measures and charge people and businesses for non-compliance.
Under the provincial levels outlined last week, Green-Prevent is if a region has fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 people and Yellow-Protect is if there is a weekly incidence rate between 10 and 39.9 cases.
In response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the province is updating the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, by lowering the thresholds for each level in the framework.
Details were provided Friday by Ford, Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.
"Our number one priority right now is getting the numbers down and keeping people safe. That's why, on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we're updating the framework with new thresholds so we can slow the spread of this virus," said Ford. "These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we're seeing and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions. We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable."
In the yellow category, the recommendations are the region would enhance targeted enforcement, fines and education to limit further transmission. Additional public health measures are required in high-risk settings, such as restaurants, gyms and movie theatres.
Indoor dining and gyms can be open with modified guidelines in place in all levels except a full lockdown. Schools and daycares would also remain open under the proposed plan.
The latest provincial modelling shows that if the number of new cases continues to grow at its current rate, the province could register up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December. Ford says within the next two weeks, the province will likely exceed its intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any potential scenario.
"Over the last week we have seen an alarming shift in the trends of key public health indicators in regions across the province," said Elliott. "The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and our government's response must evolve with it. These updates to the COVID-19 Framework will ensure that the necessary targeted measures are in place in hotspots to help stop the spread of the virus and keep our schools and businesses open.”
The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission.