EOHU: Restrictions on private gatherings coming

Eastern Ontario Health Unit CEO and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis – EOHU/Zoom image capture

CORNWALL – The area’s top public health official is disappointed that restrictions on private gatherings announced for Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa, are not being applied to this area.

Earlier today, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced new limits on public indoor and outdoor gatherings in private locations. As of September 18th, indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people. Facilities that have control measures in place to already limit people like restaurants, movie theatres, etc, are unaffected by the new measures.

COVID-19 numbers have been climbing in Ontario, largely attributed to private gatherings like parties. People under 40 years old make up a majority of new cases in the province, a demographic reflected in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s recent cases. Nine of the last 13 cases in the region have been people under 40.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the health unit said that he’s already requested Ontario add the EOHU in with the limiting order for Ottawa.

Roumeliotis said that for getting OPP and bylaw enforcement, it is easier to have the province declare through its orders, than do so using a Section 22 order.

“It is an easier enforcement if its is done by provincial,” he said. “With an order, its a bit more complicated.”

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, a medical officer of health can order certain conditions in place for health protection. In March and April, Roumeliotis enacted several Section 22 orders while the region faced a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.

“Immediately when the Premier announced today, I requested it right away,” he said adding that if the province doesn’t respond, he will still issue one.

No timeline was given by Roumeliotis on when an order may be coming.

The active cases of COVID-19 have spiked in the region, with the fourth positive case in South Dundas added on Thursday. Most of the recent cases have been from people working in Ottawa, or from gatherings.

 

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