Cluster of COVID-19 cases ahead of New Year’s Eve affirms need to be COVID-safe

Just ahead of New Year’s Eve, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 in residents in Greater Sudbury. This brings the total to 21 new cases reported since December 21 and 275 since the beginning of the pandemic. Ontario is reporting a record-high 2923 cases today. There are currently 17 active cases in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area.

Through contact tracing, Public Health has determined that eight of the cases reported over the holiday season are related to common exposures including a Christmas Eve gathering.

“Seeing cases that come from activities that are frankly against public health advice and current shutdown measures is frustrating at best,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health with Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “Lives and livelihoods literally are in the balance. With recent surges in the Timiskaming area, Thunder Bay, and Simcoe Muskoka, we don’t have to look far to know we’re also at risk. Think twice about your New Year’s celebrations—lower your and your loved ones’ risk and start the New Year right.”

A reminder that during the Provincewide Shutdown, which is in effect for Sudbury and districts until Saturday, January 9, 2021, the following restrictions on gatherings are in place:

  • Indoor gatherings with anyone outside your household are prohibited. Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive, close contact with another household to help reduce the negative impacts of social isolation.
  • Outdoor organized public events and social gatherings are limited to 10 people and must comply with public health advice on physical distancing.

“The potential benefits of the current shutdown are ours to squander—we can take it seriously and keep our numbers low or we can face longer restrictions and more consequences,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “Keeping our numbers low means everyone benefits—schools and businesses reopen, visits to long-term care homes resume, and we can gather again safely. Our ongoing efforts now can help keep our cases low and position us well for when we begin our local immunization campaigns,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

To learn more about the provincewide shutdown visit ontario.ca/page/covid-19-provincewide-shutdown.

In addition, everyone is advised to stay home as much as possible with trips outside the home limited to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, or supporting vulnerable community members. As much as possible, Ontarians are encouraged to limit all non-essential travel.

Limiting our close contacts to our households means that we delay gathering with extended family or friends. Household contacts are not required to maintain physical distancing or to wear masks, for example. However, this is a key difference for people who are running essential errands. When doing so, wearing a mask and following all COVID-safe behaviours is a must. Merchants are doing their best to keep our economies going, and our patience, understanding, appreciation, and willingness to follow COVID-safe behaviours makes this situation more manageable for everyone.

For more information or if you have questions, please visit phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on December 30, 2020