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Sudbury health unit advises workers and businesses to prepare now for holiday rush

Warning designed to keep restaurant and retail workers safe
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Public Health Sudbury and Districts. (Supplied)

If your place of business is ramping up activity for the holiday season, Public Health Sudbury and District is advising precautions to keep customers and employees safe during this time.

The warning was published during the regular weekly update provided by the local health unit.

The information is appropriate given that Sudbury is designated in the "Yellow-Protect" category, one of the five color-coded zones for taking preventive measures during the pandemic. It has been that way since Monday, Nov. 16.

While the green zone is designated for most parts of Ontario requiring standard precautions and allowing for the broadest scope of public activities, the yellow category is one step up, with specified limits on both public and private activities.

The warning about taking precautions ahead of the holiday season is directed at public venues where increased activity can be taking place. This could include shopping malls and retail spaces for Christmas shopping. 

It might also include restaurants, bars and pubs where people may gather while on shopping trips.

In almost all cases, employees and customers are encouraged to wear face masks, to maintain physical distancing and to wash their hands.

The weekly update also revealed that in the past seven days since the previous report, 18 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed and 24 older cases were resolved. No deaths were reported. The PHSD weekly report said there were 15 active cases and all were self isolating. 

Since the beginning of March, the Sudbury health unit has confirmed a total of 228 local COVID-19 cases of which 213 are resolved. The number was updated Friday morning to say 214 cases are resolved, meaning there were 14 active cases.    

The health unit also reported on trends from the previous seven days.

It said the majority of cases were outbreak related (61 per cent) or the result of close contacts of confirmed cases (six per cent). The report also stated that "private social gatherings and links within households were common places where cases were exposed to COVID-19."

Age was another element the report focused on. 

"Most of the cases were under the age of 30 (72 per cent)," said the report. 

This is different from the first wave of the pandemic, but is consistent with activity in the province and across Canada during Wave Two, said the report. It also revealed that the majority of the cases were from the Greater Sudbury area (89 per cent), as opposed to the outlying rural communities. 

The weekly report also included a message from PHSD Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, who commented on Christmas and Hanukkah holiday traditions where families and friends like to gather and celebrate. 

"Close contact warms the heart… but it also spreads the virus that causes COVID-19,” said Sutcliffe.

“Show your holiday spirit this year by not spreading the virus. Limit or avoid close contact with people who don’t live with you. When you do go out, please make sure you are symptom-free, keep your distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands. The sacrifices you make today mean a healthier tomorrow and a sooner return to the traditions we love.”