Some southern Ontario health units move into new tiers

Several areas in southwestern Ontario are moving into different tiers under the province's reopening framework for COVID-19 restrictions.

Huron Perth has moved from orange to yellow.

"I think that was a reasonable choice based on our numbers," said Dr. Miriam Klassen, medical officer of health for that region.

Huron Perth had a record number of new cases in January with 452. That number dropped significantly in February.

"The rates have improved and, you know, vaccination, a lot of people in our most vulnerable settings have been vaccinated," Dr. Klassen said. "So, these are positive developments." Grey Bruce moved into the green tier on Monday.

"The trajectory of our data continues to be favourable," Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Area said.

However, there are some concerns about easing restrictions. Health officials said they're concerned people from higher-risk areas may travel to regions in lower tiers.

"There are no borders," Dr. Klassen said. "The virus can move between regions."

"This is one of the top concerns in the coming weeks," Dr. Arra said.

Ashleigh Weeden, a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph, said better communication from the province could help stop region hopping, but individuals also need to be responsible for their own actions.

"It's really important for folks to stay the course," Weeden said. "I think the thing that we're missing is these restrictions are not so much restrictions as they are protections."

Medical officers of health said they'll keep a close eye on neighbouring regions.

"There is still work to be done on our side to communicate that risk to communicate and collaborate with other health units, and we'll be doing that," Dr. Arra said.

Here's where local regions fall in the reopening framework:

Red:

  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph
  • Region of Waterloo
  • Hamilton
  • Halton Region
  • Niagara Region

Orange:

  • Middlesex-London
  • Southwestern
  • Brant County

Yellow:

  • Haldimand-Norfolk
  • Huron Perth District

Green:

  • Grey Bruce