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Public Health Sudbury & Districts reported 20 new COVID-19 cases in residents in Greater Sudbury, bringing to 162 cases in the health unit's coverage area since the pandemic began.

There have now been 37 new cases reported in the city since Halloween.

The newest cases are linked to recent outbreaks at the McDonald's in Chelmsford and to cases at Cambrian College, the health unit said.

“The detailed investigations to determine exposure settings and identify close contacts of all cases are ongoing," Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health, said in a news release.

Close contacts identified

"To date, close contacts of cases have been identified in household settings, at the McDonald’s located at 3575 Highway 144 in Chelmsford, and at Cambrian College. These individuals have been reached by Public Health and advised to self-monitor or self-isolate and seek testing, depending on their risk of exposure."

Through contact tracing, Public Health notifies all close contacts directly. If you are not contacted by Public Health, you are not considered a close contact.

"Public Health works very closely with every person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 to understand their circumstances and prevent further spread," the release said. "This is a rapidly evolving situation with a number of case investigations underway."

All from Sudbury

Of the newly reported cases, all are from Greater Sudbury. One is a close contact of a confirmed case, one is outbreak associated, and the remaining are still under investigation. All are self-isolating, as are all close contacts identified to date.

"Though this increase in numbers is alarming, we must listen to the experts in public health with how we react," Mayor Brian Bigger said in the release. "I would like to remind you to continue to follow the guidance of Public Health—let's stay vigilant, let's stay smart.

"Even though kids are back in school and a lot is back to normal—we can't let our guard down for a moment. COVID-19 will find a way in if we let it. This weekend especially, let's keep our heads up and our masks on."

Sudbury is currently in the Green - Prevent category of the Government of Ontario’s new COVID-19 response framework, which comes into effect Saturday.

"The situation will be carefully monitored to determine what, if any, the recent surge in cases has on the region’s category," the health unit said. "Decisions to move to the next, Yellow – Protect, are made by the province. Changing categories would result in additional more targeted measures for specific sectors, institutions, and other settings."

Updates about COVID-19 testing, confirmed cases, and outbreaks in Greater Sudbury, the District of Sudbury, and the District of Manitoulin are posted online.

For more information or if you have questions, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).