Sudbury's top doctor reminds people not to let their 'guard down' as economy reopens

The medical officer of health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts says as the economy continues to reopen, people must continue to be cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New cases still being reported in northeastern Ontario, including 1 in Sudbury-area on Monday

Many buildings, businesses, and other spaces will continue to be adorned with signage and markers to manage traffic and ensure people maintain two metres apart. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The medical officer of health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts says as the economy continues to reopen, people must continue to be cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of Ontario moved into Stage 3 last Friday. That included the reopening of indoor restaurants and bars as well as gyms. Indoor gatherings increased to a maximum of 50 people and outdoor activities can now have a maximum of 100 people. Physical distancing still must be followed with people outside of your social circle.

On Tuesday, 203 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Ontario. There was one new case reported in the Sudbury-area on Monday.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe says it involves a person under the age of 19 who had travelled to the Toronto-area. She says that's most likely the source of exposure.

"What this is, obviously, is a concrete reminder to us that COVID-19 is still circulating," she said. "A reminder, yes, that we're in Stage 3 … but that does not mean we should let our guard down."

Sutcliffe says across the province, many areas are reporting an increase in cases due to travel as the economy opens up.

She adds many new cases involve people under the age of 30.

"This is concerning also but perhaps not surprising given the reopening and the temptation to socially interact more, to not keep our social circles, to not wear masks or keep our distance," she said.

"There's no vaccine. There's not specific, effective treatment. This really is a simple, effective measure — keeping our noses and our mouths covered so we don't have to stay in our homes."

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe is the medical officer of health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. (Submitted by Public Health Sudbury & Districts)

Sutcliffe says it's important to make actions like physical distancing and increased hand washing common practice as she anticipates fall will be a higher risk period, as more viruses tend to circulate.

"This is because we're indoors more with poorer air circulation," she said.

"In the north is when we see more kinds of chest or respiratory diseases. So that's what we expect to see. So that, in combination with COVID-19 circulating puts us all at greater risk."

Sutcliffe acknowledges that people are getting tired of living in a pandemic and having to follow these rules, especially when it comes to socializing. 

"The point right now is not, not to do it, but how to do it in a safe way," she said.

"So how to think about what the risk might be and how you would reduce your risk, because you need to let the pressure valve off somehow."


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