Kitchener-Waterloo

Old order Mennonite schools and churches ordered closed by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

The medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has taken the 'extraordinary step' of closing all Old Order Mennonite schools and churches after two outbreaks and a rise in cases. Public health says as cases rise, uptake of public health measures has been low.

'I do not take the issuing of section 22 orders lightly,' says Dr. Nicola Mercer

Dr. Nicola Mercer, the medical officer of health and CEO of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, has issued an order to close all Old Order Mennonite churches and schools to stop rising cases of COVID-19 in the community. (John Panella / Shutterstock)

Old Order Mennonite churches and schools in Guelph and Wellington and Dufferin counties have been ordered closed and public health has put restrictions on gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says the new section 22 order is to "help address the growing risk of COVID-19 in this community."

There has been an increase in cases and two known outbreaks in the Mennonite community but "the uptake of public health measures has been low."

"Public health has confirmed cases within the Community but cannot conduct its contact tracing because this information is not being provided," a release from public health reported.

'Extraordinary step'

Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health and CEO of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, said in the release she's "saddened by the need for this extraordinary step."

"I do not take the issuing of section 22 orders lightly, but COVID-19 poses a serious health risk to the Old Order Mennonite Community and to all of us in the region. Sometimes we need to make difficult decisions to prevent the unchecked spread of this virus," Mercer said.

Public health says it will work with the community to stop the spread of the virus and preventing "hot spots of transmission" is key. 

101 active cases

Public health reports there are 101 active cases in Guelph and Wellington and Dufferin counties and there are two people in hospital.

In total since March, there have been 1,008 cases. There have been 38 deaths and public health says 869 cases are considered resolved.

Wellington County in particular has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks, public health reports.

Wellington County has seen a sharp increase of cases in recent weeks. This graph is from the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health COVID-19 dashboard. (Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health)

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