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With COVID surge and move to Red-Control, Sutcliffe asks Sudburians to ‘step up’

‘What is surprising ... is how rapidly the cases are continuing to climb’
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Dr. Penny Sutcliffe. (File)

Public Health Sudbury & Districts Medical Officer of Health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe is asking residents to “step up and do their part” as Greater Sudbury moves into the Red-Control level of the COVID-19 response framework Monday.

This news comes in response to an unprecedented surge of local cases of COVID-19. Public Health is urgently asking everyone to take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus, said a press release.

“Public Health Sudbury & Districts sounded the alarm earlier this week and so the announced shift to the Red-Control level is not surprising,” Sutcliffe said, in a press release issued Saturday.

“What is surprising though is how rapidly the cases are continuing to climb. The situation is very dynamic and we are assessing in real-time to figure out if any additional protective measures are needed.

“We are seeing growing numbers of the more transmissible virus, called COVID-19 VOCs or variants of concern. There is ample evidence of community spread within the City of Greater Sudbury in particular. This means that our thresholds for individual and community action need to be much lower. 

“The Public Health capacity to prevent further spread by following all cases and contacts is stretched like never before in the pandemic. So likewise, I am calling on all residents to step up and do their part like never before. 

“To be clear: if you have even one symptom of COVID-19, stay home and arrange for testing. Tell your family members also to stay home and isolate until you have your test results back. “Everyone, regardless of symptoms, is asked to only go out for essential reasons and to work remotely where possible. We will share more about the Red-Control level measures in the coming days but please know that I am assessing if any additional protections need to be put in place.”

With almost a year since the first reported case of COVID-19 in area, Public Health is reminding everyone to be vigilant and follow public health measures. 

Wear your mask, practise physical distancing, wash your hands, limit travel, and now that the area is in the Red-Control level, only go out for essential reasons and work remotely if possible. All of these measures are effective and they will work against the variants of concern (VOC) if they are carefully followed.

“It is on all of us, especially now, to look for ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the VOCs,” said Sutcliffe.

“This means taking a serious look at our interactions with others and doing face-to-face only if essential and ensuring even this is only done with distancing and masking. Now is not the time to figure out how to get around the rules. Now is the time to find ways to stick to and even go beyond the protective rules.”

Public Health Sudbury & Districts was previously in the Orange–Restrict level of the COVID-19 Response Framework but was moved to the Red–Control level by the Government of Ontario based on a number of factors. 

These factors include number of cases, variants of concern, active outbreaks and health system capacity.

Additional measures in effect include gathering limits, further restrictions to sports and recreation facilities, capacity limits in retail stores, and closures to cinema and performing arts centres. 

Regardless of the Framework level, it is critical to maintain public health measures to slow or limit the spread of COVID-19, the press release said.

Further details about the provincial response framework can be found at COVID-19 response framework: keeping Ontario safe and open (Government of Ontario). Or visit Ontario’s COVID-19 website (Government of Ontario) for more information.

For more information or if you have questions, visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705-522-9200 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200).