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Capacity limits are back in Timiskaming area

Acting medical officer of health says the health care resources are stretched

With spiking COVID-19 case numbers in the Timiskaming area, its health unit is imposing stricter public health measures. 

The changes for the Timiskaming Health Unit, which covers from Kirkland Lake to Temagami, were announced today. There are three changes, affecting capacity limits, proof of vaccination for youth at organized sports, and an updated order for close contacts of cases. This is the third Northern Ontario Health Unit to strengthen its public health measures recently. 

"Currently we are seeing a high level of COVID-19 spread through every part of our district," said Dr. Glenn Corneill, THU CEO and acting medical officer of health, in a news release.

"Given our high cases, it's unfortunately necessary to put additional public health measures in place. Everyone should consider limiting their contacts to reduce the chances of further increases of COVID-19 in our communities. Our health care resources are currently stretched. THU has called upon provincial contact tracers to assist with calling contacts."

The capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for businesses and organizations that were lifted in September are back in effect. In general, the health unit said the capacity limits must all people to maintain at least two metres of physical distancing. Masking is also required at businesses, organizations, and indoor and outdoor organized public events if distancing can't be maintained.

Anyone 12 years and older must provide proof of vaccination and ID to enter an indoor facility to coach, officiate, volunteer or watch an organized sport. Previously, youth ages 12 to 18 years were exempt. The new requirements take effect Nov. 26.

The health unit's updated Section 22 Class order also requires anyone who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 or who has been identified as a close contact to follow the isolation requirements and other directions from public health. People who don't comply could face a set fine of $880 or up to $5,000 per day that the offence continues.

To date in the Timiskaming Health Unit region, there have been 325 confirmed cases of the virus. Of those, 261 are recovered and three people have died. There are 61 known active cases.