February 12, 2021, the government announced plans to transition 27 more of Ontario’s public health units (PHUs) back to the revised COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, effective Tuesday, February 16 at 12:01 a.m. These PHUs will join the PHUs of Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington; and Renfrew, which re-entered the Framework earlier this week.
The PHUs of North Bay Parry Sound, Peel, Toronto, and York will remain subject to the shutdown and Stay-at-Home order. It is proposed that these PHUs will transition back to the Framework on February 22, subject to public health indicators.
Following today’s announcement regarding the transition of most PHUs back to the Framework, Ontario announced plans to resume passenger road tests at most DriveTest centres, beginning February 16. Road tests will not be offered in PHUs which remain subject to a Stay-at-Home order, or those which are classified under the Grey-Lockdown level of the Framework.
Ontario also provided an update on its deployment of rapid tests to essential workplaces and sectors. These tests are being used in First Nations communities, as well as in congregate settings, including long-term care and retirement homes. Rapid tests are also being used in essential workplaces including manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction, and food processing.
27 PHUs Return to COVID-19 Response Framework On February 16
Today, the government announced plans to transition 27 additional PHUs back to Ontario’s revised COVID-19 Response Framework, joining the PHUs of Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington; and Renfrew, which re-entered the framework at the Green-Prevent level on February 10.
This decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, based on improvement in public health indicators including transmission rates, and hospital and public health capacity.
The following PHUs will transition back to the Framework next week, effective Tuesday, February 16 at 12:01 a.m. at the level specified below:
- Niagara Region
- City of Hamilton
- Durham Region
- Halton Region
- Region of Waterloo
- Thunder Bay District
- Wellington-Dufferin Guelph
- Brant County
- Eastern Ontario
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge
- Huron Perth
- Sudbury and Districts
- Grey Bruce
- Leeds, Grenville and Lanark
A detailed breakdown of measures in effect at each level of the Framework is available here.
The remaining four PHUs of North Bay Parry Sound, Peel Region, Toronto, and York Region will remain subject to current shutdown measures, as well as the Stay-at-Home order, until at least Monday, February 22.
PHUs will remain at the level under which they return to the Framework for a minimum of two weeks. The province has also introduced an “emergency brake” system within the Framework, to enable the Chief Medical Officer of Health to act quickly to interrupt transmission and respond to the spread of variants of concern. The “emergency brake” permits Dr. Williams, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, to immediately advise moving a region into Grey-Lockdown.