In a media briefing this afternoon, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts states that the grey zone had to be put in place due to the high rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, and even more concerning, the variants of the virus.
She says since January, there have been a total of 13 school outbreaks accounting for 123 cases, but she stresses that the school situation is not what led to moving into the Grey Zone.
She says the school numbers are a reflection of the wider community.
She adds school to household transmission show at least 30 household cases can be directly traced to at least 24 of the cases acquired in school outbreaks.
Numbers are likely to be higher as the unit is still determining how some of the recently reported cases contracted the virus.
Currently, the agency has three confirmed cases of COVID-19 identified as B.1.1.7 (first seen in the U.K) adding another 100 or so cases that are possible variants of concern are awaiting further testing. Over 48% of the cases reported in the past week are VOCs – screened positive.
So schools have been closed for in-person learning as of Monday, but virtual learning remains in place, and child care centres will continue to operate, but without before and after programs.
She also says that there is no end date for the Grey Zone since it will depend on how the overall numbers come down throughout the agency’s catchment area.
Dr. Sutcliffe stresses the vaccination programs are continuing, so anyone registered for a vaccine can come out for their appointment, but must follow all the protocols; wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing.
The public health region will move to Grey-Lockdown effective Friday, March 12, 2021, at 12:01 a.m.