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Canada scraps COVID-19 travel advisory; Ontario to end mask, vaccine rules by March

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Canada has scrapped an official advisory urging its citizens to shun  non-essential foreign travel, given its successful campaign to inoculate people against COVID-19, the country’s top medical officer said on Friday.

Hours later, Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, issued a timeline to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, with the aim of removing all proof of vaccination and mask requirements by March 2022.

Canada’s travel warning was issued in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.

Ottawa removed the advice to avoid unnecessary travel late on Thursday, however it is still telling people to avoid cruise ship travel outside of the country.

“The beginnings of the transition away from the more blanket approach really recognizes vaccines are very effective at preventing severe outcome,” Chief Medical Officer Theresa Tam told a briefing.

According to official data, just under 82% of eligible Canadians had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct 8.

Tam said the latest surveillance data showed “a continued decline in disease activity nationally and in most jurisdictions.”

“Now is not the time to just freely go wherever,” she added, citing high cases of coronavirus in some nations.

Ontario laid out a six-month timeline to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, starting with removing capacity limits in the “vast majority” of public venues on Oct. 25, and culminating in an end to all mask and proof of vaccination requirements by March.

The timeline will be dependent on “the absence of concerning (pandemic) trends,” it said in a statement.

“This plan is built for the long term,” Premier Doug Ford said. “It will guide us safely through the winter and out of this pandemic, while avoiding lockdowns and ensuring we don’t lose the hard-fought gains we have made.”

Ontario spent much of the past 18 months in some form of  lockdown due to high infection rates and hospital bed occupancy of COVID-19 patients.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Paul Simao and Bill Berkrot)

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RELEASE: COVID concerns at Signal Brewery – Quinte News

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Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is advising individuals who attended Signal Brewery (Corbyville) between November 19 – December 4 that they may have had an exposure to COVID-19. HPEPH is in the process of investigating multiple cases of COVID-19 that were present at the restaurant during this time frame. Signal Brewery has closed voluntarily while the investigation is underway.

All individuals who attended Signal Brewery between November 19 – December 4 are:

  • Advised to seek testing immediately for COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms.
    • Book an appointment online for the Belleville or Trenton testing centre. You can also call 613-961-5544).
    • For other testing options, please visit hpepublichealth.ca/getting-tested-for-covid-19/
    • When seeking testing, please provide investigation number 2238-2021-51372 to the testing centre.
  • Monitor closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • If symptoms develop, even mild ones such as a runny nose or sore throat, isolate at home and away from others, and seek testing again, even if you were negative the first time.

While HPEPH does not typically disclose the location of COVID-19 cases in order to protect individuals’ privacy, this information is disclosed when needed to meet public health objectives such as prompt notification of potential contacts and reducing the risk of further transmission. HPEPH is in the process of contacting identified high-risk contacts related to these cases. All high-risk contacts will be instructed by HPEPH to self-isolate immediately and to get tested.

“I am urging individuals who attended Signal Brewery on these dates to seek testing, even if they do not have symptoms, in order to protect those around them,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “All residents are asked to remain vigilant and protect one another – and this includes getting tested if advised, staying home and getting tested if you have symptoms, and limiting your close contacts. If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

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WECHU issues additional COVID-19 measures | CTV News – CTV News Windsor

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The Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has issued a letter of instruction, aiming to address a surge in COVID-19 cases.

With cases of COVID-19 climbing steadily in the past month, local health officials say they are once again putting in place restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

According to the health unit, the updated letter addresses the key settings associated with COVID-19 transmission identified through ongoing case investigations, which have identified social gatherings as an area of significant concern.

In particular, the revised Letter of Instruction contains the following additional measures:

  • Social gatherings limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.
  • Added measures for wedding receptions and the social events tied to funerals and religious services.
  • Limiting indoor capacity for bars and restaurants to 50% of their total occupancy.
  • Strict adherence to face covering requirements in all public settings.

Without further intervention, WECHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai believes cases can reach levels similar to those seen at the same time last year.

“We are very worried that we are already seeing this surge of cases in advance of the holiday season and its associated social gatherings,” said Nesathurai. “Immediate action needs to be taken by all residents to address the known sources of transmission which are social gatherings, both in homes and in the community.”

The updated changes go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 10. 

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INQUINTE.CA | Health unit warns of COVID exposure at Signal – inquinte.ca

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