Sarnia-Lambton is moving into partial lockdown in Ontario's COVID-19 Response Framework effective Monday.
The provincial government announced Friday afternoon that Lambton County is being elevated from the Red-Control level to Grey-Lockdown effective March 15, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
The province said decisions were made in consultation with the local medical officers of health and are based on the trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.
Lambton's cases per 100,000 population have increased from 58 to 102 with a positivity rate of 3.1 per cent.
The Grey-Lockdown level prohibits organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household. Indoor and outdoor service is prohibited at restaurants and bars.
Retail stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores may operate at 50 per cent capacity, while other retail outlets are limited to 25 per cent. The limit is 10 people for outdoor organized public events and social gatherings, where physical distancing can be maintained. For religious services, weddings and funerals, capacity is limited to 15 per cent capacity indoors, and 50 people outdoors. Personal care services, casinos, and gaming establishments are closed.
Night clubs and strip clubs are only permitted to open if they operate as a restaurant, bar, or other food and drink establishment (take-out and delivery service only). Facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities are closed. Outdoor recreational amenities (for example, ice rinks, ski hills, snow trails) can open with restrictions (for example, no team sports).
Lambton Public Health said the Grey-Lockdown status is considered a declaration of emergency.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade said the current situation is concerning because it has the potential to spread rapidly in the community.
“Increased rates of COVID-19 cases including a growing proportion of variants of concern (VOCs), a number of active outbreaks and significant evidence of community spread are key indicators that support this decision,” said Ranade.
The health unit said local surveillance reports indicate adverse trends continue since the area entered the Red-Control status. The weekly case incidence rate has continued to increase for all age groups, but more dramatically for the under 50-year-olds. The test positivity rate has also continued to increase. Outbreaks have continued in a variety settings with a notable increase recently for schools.
Dr. Ranade said “outbreaks in schools are a reflection of transmission in the community."
Two other health units are changing levels. The Northwestern Health Unit will be in Red-Control, and Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is moving to Yellow-Protect.
-With files from Dave Dentinger