Timiskaming health unit area moved into red zone
Province says decision was made at request of local medical officer of health
The Timiskaming district is now in the red or control level of the province's COVID-19 response framework.
The new rules came into effect as of 12:01am Friday.
The province says the decision was made at request of the local medical officer of health, due to rising COVID-19 cases.
"As a result of rapid worsening in trends of key health indicators in the Timiskaming region, we are making the difficult but necessary decision to immediately move the region to a new level with stronger public health measures in place," Christine Elliott, the province's health minister said.
"Our government will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect the health and well-being of all individuals, families and their communities."
According to the province, from March 16 to 22, Timiskaming's case rate increased from 3.1 to 24.5 cases per 100,000 people, an increase of 700 per cent. The government says more cases are expected in the coming days.
The red or control zone means a maximum of five people for indoor gatherings and 25 people for outdoor events.
Restaurants and bars can remain open, but indoor dining is limited to 50 per cent capacity or 50 people. Outdoor dining is allowed where physical distancing can be maintained.
Retail stores can open, but grocery stores and pharmacies can only operate at 75 per cent capacity. Other retail stores, such as big box stores, hardware stores, liquor stores and garden centres can open at 50 per cent capacity.
According to the Timiskaming health unit, there are 17 active cases in its jurisdiction. Seven cases have screened positive for variants of concern. Two people have died in that area from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including a woman in her 40s earlier this week.