COVID-19 Updates

In response to the rapidly-spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19, Ontario will temporarily move to a modified 'Step Two' of the Roadmap to Reopen as of 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Province is applying various public health measures to continue to safeguard Ontario’s hospitals and ICU capacity, as the province continues to rapidly accelerate its vaccination booster dose rollout. Read the Province's January 3, 2022 update in full, or review the summary provided below.  

Current public health measures and guidance

Updated Testing and Isolation Guidelines 

Ontario has updated its COVID-19 Testing and Isolation Guidelines effective 12:01 a.m. December 31, 2021. These updates have been put in place to ensure publicly funded testing and case and contact management resources are available for the highest-risk settings/to protect the most vulnerable and to help keep critical services running.  

COVID-19 testing

Members of the general public with mild symptoms are now asked not to seek testing but rather to isolate at home per updated isolation guidelines. If your symptoms are severe, please seek medical attention immediately or call 9-1-1.  

Effective December 31, 2021 publicly-funded PCR testing will be available only for:

  • High-risk individuals who are symptomatic and/or are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19, including for the purposes of confirming a COVID-19 diagnosis to begin treatment
  • Workers and residents in the highest risk settings
  • Vulnerable populations

A full list of individuals eligible for testing can be found here.

Isolation

Ontario has updated the required isolation period based on growing evidence that generally healthy people with COVID-19 are most infectious in the two days before and three days after symptoms develop.

  • Individuals with COVID-19 who are vaccinated, as well as children under 12, will be required to isolate for five days following the onset of symptoms.
    • Their household contacts are also required to isolate with them.
    • These individuals can end isolation after five days if their symptoms are improved for at least 24 hours and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed.
    • Non-household contacts are required to self-monitor for ten days.
  • Individuals with COVID-19 who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated or immunocompromised will be required to isolate for 10 days following the onset of symptoms.
  • In order to ensure sufficient staffing levels in high-risk health care settings, individuals who work in these settings  will have the opportunity to return to work after isolating for seven days with negative PCR or rapid antigen test results, which will be provided by the province through the health care setting. 

Capacity and gathering limits

To mitigate COVID-19 transmission that can occur at informal social gatherings, social gatherings are currently limited to 5 people indoors and 10 people outdoors.

Capacity limits in public settings

Effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2022, Ontario will return to the modified version of Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen for at least 21 days (until January 26, 2022), subject to trends in public health and health system indicators. 

Public health measures during this stage include:

  • Limiting capacity at organized public events to five people indoors.
  • Limiting capacity at indoor weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites and ceremonies to 50 per cent capacity of the particular room. Outdoor services are limited to the number of people that can maintain 2 metres of physical distance. Social gatherings associated with these services must adhere to the social gathering limits.
  • Retail settings, including shopping malls, permitted at 50 per cent capacity. For shopping malls physical distancing will be required in line-ups, loitering will not be permitted and food courts will be required to close.
  • Personal care services permitted at 50 per cent capacity and other restrictions. Saunas, steam rooms, and oxygen bars closed.
  • Closing indoor meeting and event spaces with limited exceptions but permitting outdoor spaces to remain open with restrictions.
  • Public libraries limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor dining at restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments. Outdoor dining with restrictions, takeout, drive through and delivery is permitted.
  • Restricting the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. and the consumption of alcohol on-premise in businesses or settings after 11 p.m. with delivery and takeout, grocery/convenience stores and other liquor stores exempted.
  • Closing indoor concert venues, theatres, cinemas, rehearsals and recorded performances permitted with restrictions.
  • Closing museums, galleries, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions, amusement parks and waterparks, tour and guide services and fairs, rural exhibitions, and festivals. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy, where applicable, limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor horse racing tracks, car racing tracks and other similar venues. Outdoor establishments permitted to open with restrictions and with spectator occupancy limited to 50 per cent capacity. Boat tours permitted at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Closing indoor sport and recreational fitness facilities including gyms, except for athletes training for the Olympics and Paralympics and select professional and elite amateur sport leagues. Outdoor facilities are permitted to operate but with the number of spectators not to exceed 50 per cent occupancy and other requirements.

Please view the Province's website for an expanded list of mandatory public health and workplace safety measures.

COVID-19 vaccination 

Vaccination continues to roll out in Northumberland and across Ontario.

Current status

Eligibility

Provincial guidelines for eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine currently include: 

Children (ages 5 to 11)
COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old (those born in 2016 or earlier) is now approved for use in Canada. Two doses of the children’s Pfizer vaccine will be needed to be fully vaccinated, with the first and second doses being given eight weeks apart.
Ages 12+ 

Those born in 2009 or earlier.

Booster (third) dose

Booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine are being offered based on evidence of gradually waning immunity after receiving one's second dose. Effective Monday, December 20, 2021 individuals aged 18 and over are eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment so long as they have had their second dose of vaccine three months ago or more. 

How to get a vaccine

Vaccination remains our best defense against COVID-19 and its variants. COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available from many sources, including primary care providers, pharmacies, and pop-up/walk-in clinics.

HKPR District Health Unit immunization clinics

The HKPR District Health Unit is running immunization clinics throughout Northumberland. The clinics are open to anyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine for first, second and booster doses. Visit the HKPR District Health Unit website for a list of clinic locations, dates and times, and to learn more.

Please note: the Health Unit is no longer accepted walk-ins at any mass immunization clinics. Please book an appointment through the Provincial Booking System:

Please bring your Ontario Health Card to the immunization clinic if you have one.

OHT-N Mobile Vaccine Clinics
Visit the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland (OHT-N) website (www.OHTNorthumberland.ca) or follow the OHT-N on Twitter (@OHTNorthumberland) and Facebook (@OHTNthld) for updates on any future clinics. Details will be shared as information becomes available.
Pharmacies
Eligible Ontarians can also register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a participating pharmacy. Some pharmacies are accepting walk-ins, others require an appointment. Hours of availability vary by pharmacy. Check the provincial website for a current list of all participating pharmacies. 
Primary Care Providers 
Some primary care teams and/or providers are offering vaccination clinics as well. Reach out to your primary care provider directly for information, or monitor their website and social media feeds for updates.

Want to Talk to a Health Care Professional About COVID-19 Vaccine?

Need a ride to your COVID-19 vaccine appointment? 

If you have a scheduled COVID-19 vaccine appointment and require transportation, call Community Care Northumberland at 1-866-768-7778 to register and arrange a ride to and from the vaccine clinic. 

For more information

For updates about local vaccine clinics, along with the status of COVID-19 cases in Northumberland and other helpful resources, please visit the HKPR District Health Unit website. For provincial information about COVID-19, including a list of COVID-19 symptoms and the status of cases in the province, please visit Ontario’s dedicated COVID-19 website

Proof of Vaccination

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. For more information, please visit the Province of Ontario's website.

Requiring proof of vaccination in these settings reduces risk and is an important step to encourage every last eligible Ontarian to get their shot, which is critical to protecting the province’s hospital capacity, while also supporting businesses with the tools they need to keep customers safe, stay open and minimize disruptions.

Proof of vaccination will be required in high-risk settings where face coverings cannot always be worn, such as:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, as well as delivery and takeout);
  • Nightclubs (including outdoor areas of the establishment);
  • Meeting and event spaces, such as banquet halls and conference/convention centres;
  • Facilities used for sports and fitness activities and personal fitness training, such as gyms, fitness and recreational facilities with the exception of youth recreational sport;
  • Sporting events;
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments;
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas;
  • Strip clubs, bathhouses and sex clubs;
  • Racing venues (e.g., horse racing).

For more information, please visit the Province of Ontario's website.

How to get your proof of vaccination

On October 15, 2021, the Ontario government announced an enhanced COVID-19 vaccine certificate with official QR code, along with a free verification app called "Verify Ontario", as an easier, more secure and convenient way to provide proof of vaccination. This enhanced certificate will be required - in settings where proof of vaccination is required - as of January 4, 2022.

 How do I get my enhanced certificate?

Have your green photo health (OHIP) card ready, then: 

Or

  • Call the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 to have your enhanced vaccine certificate emailed or mailed to you directly.
 Will I still need to also show ID to enter various establishments?
As in the past, Ontarians will need to be prepared to show a piece of identification with their name and date of birth along with their proof of vaccination when visiting select businesses and organization.
 Is my original vaccine receipt still valid as proof of identification?

Effective January 4, 2022, use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code will be required in settings where proof of vaccination is required. The QR code can be used digitally (by downloading to your device) or by printing a paper copy.

Individuals can download their enhanced certificate with QR code by visiting the Province's website.

Businesses must accept both electronic and paper version. 

What steps is Northumberland County taking?

The health and wellbeing of residents and staff continues to be Northumberland County’s highest priority. Based on current sufficient capacity to meet community needs and maintain critical systems, Northumberland County has not declared a State of Emergency in Northumberland at this time. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Northumberland County is collaborating and sharing information and resources with community partners and implementing appropriate response measures across our operations.

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