Microscopic close up of COVID-19

2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

This article is updated as new information becomes available.

Canada's COVID-19 updates and resources

We recommend using the Government of Canada's COVID-19 website or the Android or iOS apps for getting current and accurate information on the pandemic. These have excellent information, downloads and resources related to self-monitoring, self-isolation, vulnerable populations and how citizens can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Download the COVID-19 Alert app today

COVID Alert helps us break the cycle of infection. The app can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear. Available for iOS and Android.

Download Now or Learn More

COVID-19 Self-assessment

If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use this self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

Launch Self-assessment Tool

Book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Use Ontario's vaccine booking tool to check on eligibility and availability of a vaccine and book a vaccination appointment if one is available.

Visit Vaccine Booking Website

Latest Updates

Highlands East ends State of Emergency

Published August 4, 2021

We have terminated our declared State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. 

The Province of Ontario remains under the orders of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, and all requirements under the Provincial Reopening Ontario Act are in effect.

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage residents of Highlands East to follow all regulations and guidelines of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit and the Provincial Roadmap to Reopen.

Read the press release.

Walk-in vaccination clinics come to Highlands East

Published July 30, 2021

Wilberforce and Gooderham will have walk-in clinics in August. The clinics will be held by Haliburton Highlands Health Services and no appointment is necessary.

 Learn more.

Ontario moves to Step Three of Roadmap to Reopen on July 16

Published July 9, 2021

With over 77 per cent of the population in Ontario ages 12 and over having received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 50 per cent having received their second dose, has allowed the province to expand indoor settings and capacity limits.

Read the press release.

Previous Updates

Local Updates

Ontario moving to Step Two of Roadmap to Reopen on June 30

Published June 24, 2021

Continuing improvements in key indicators allowing province to ease additional public health measures. Step Two of the Roadmap focuses on the resumption of more outdoor activities and limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn, with other restrictions in place. 

Read the press release.

Ontario to move to Step One of Roadmap to Reopen on June 11

Published June 7, 2021

Based on the provincewide vaccination rate and continuing improvements in key public health and health system indicators, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will move the province into Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, 2021.

Read the press release.

Remote learning to continue across Ontario for the remainder of school year

Published June 2, 2021

To best protect Ontario families from the fast growing B.1.617.2 variant, and to allow for higher rates of vaccination of students, staff, and families, the Ontario government has made the difficult decision to continue with remote learning for all elementary and secondary students across the province for the remainder of this school year. This will allow the province to continue its focus on accelerating COVID-19 vaccinations to support a safer summer and return to in-person learning in September for the 2021-22 school year.

Read the press release.

Ontario maintains COVID-19 restrictions as Stay-at-Home Order is set to expire

Published June 1, 2021

Ontario’s Stay-at-Home order will expire on June 2, 2021. When it does, all other public health and workplace measures will remain in place provincewide until Ontario enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, at which point some restrictions will ease with an initial focus on outdoor settings.

Read the press release.

Ontario releases three-step roadmap to safely reopen the province

Published May 30, 2021

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Read the press release.

Ontario extending stay-at-home order until June 2

Published May 13, 2021

With the new, more contagious variants continuing to pose significant risks, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended the Stay-at-Home Order (O. Reg. 265/21) until at least June 2, 2021. All public health and workplace safety measures under the provincewide emergency brake will also remain in effect. During this time, the government will prepare to administer the Pfizer vaccine to youth between the ages of 12 and 17, beginning the week May 31, 2021, as the province also finalizes plans to gradually and safely re-open the province.

Read the press release.

Ontario to introduce paid COVID-19 leave

Published April 28, 2021

On Thursday, April 29, 2021, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, will introduce legislation that would, if passed, require employers to provide employees with up to $200 of pay for up to three days if they are missing work because of COVID-19. This program will be retroactive to April 19, 2021 and effective until September 25, 2021, the date the CRSB will expire.

Read the press release.

Ontario strengthens enforcement of Stay-at-Home order with stronger enforcement, travel restrictions and public health measures

Published April 16, 2021

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is strengthening enforcement of the province's Stay-at-Home order while imposing new travel restrictions and further strengthening public health measures. These urgent actions are targeted at stopping the rapid growth in COVID-19 case rates and relieving mounting pressures on the province's health care system.

Read the press release.

Ontario moves schools to remote learning following Spring Break

Published April 12, 2021

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has made the difficult decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions.

Read the press release.

Ontario enacts Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order

Published April 8, 2021

The Ontario government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario's health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.

Read the press release.

Ontario moving to phase two of vaccine distribution plan

Published April 6, 2021

The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in "hot spot" communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. In addition, this phase will prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions in April 2021. With a steady supply of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government, over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and end of June 2021.

Read the press release.

Ontario implements provincewide Emergency Brake

Published April 1, 2021

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be in effect in all 34 Public Health Unit Regions beginning Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.

Read the press release.

Ontario returning 27 Public Health Regions to strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework

Published February 12, 2021

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is transitioning twenty-seven public health regions, including ours, out of the shutdown and into a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework").  The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit region will be moving back to the Orange-Restrict guidelines of the Framework on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order.

For more details on what Orange-Restrict means for us, please read our Health Unit's Guide.

Read the press release.

Ontario extending Stay-at-Home Order across most of the province to save lives

Published February 8, 2021

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework").  

The Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions, including ours, until Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

Read the press release.

Ontario expands case and contact management workforce

Published January 15, 2021

The Ontario government has hired more case managers and contact tracers, building the provincial workforce to 1,600 by February 15, 2021. Along with staff who work in or have been redeployed within public health units, this support brings the total number of case and contact tracers in the province to nearly 5,600 staff. These people are vital in helping to isolate new cases of COVID-19 and stopping the spread of the virus in communities across Ontario.

Read the press release.

Applications now open for Ontario's Small Business Support Grant

Published January 15, 2021

The Ontario government has opened applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown. The tightened restrictions were put in place to help stop the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in Ontario.

Read the press release.

Ontario to vaccinate up to 8.5 million people in phase two

Published January 13, 2021

Groups eligible to receive vaccines as part of Phase Two of the Ontario immunization program will include:

  • Older adults, beginning with those 80 years of age and older and decreasing in five-year increments over the course of the vaccine rollout;
  • Individuals living and working in high-risk congregate settings;
  • Frontline essential workers (e.g., first responders, teachers, food processing industry); and
  • Individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers.

Phase Two is expected to be completed by end of July 2021 and Phase Three for the general population could begin as early as August 2021, pending availability of vaccines. Vaccination of populations in Phase One will continue until all vaccinations are complete.

Read the press release.

Ontario declares second provincial emergency to address COVID-19 crisis and save lives

Published January 12, 2021

Province issues stay-at-home order and introduces enhanced enforcement measures.

Read the press release.

Province extends shutdowns across Ontario until January 25 

Published January 8, 2021

This includes extending online teacher-led learning until January 25, 2021 for elementary school students in the 27 Southern Ontario public health unit regions and extending the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario.

Read the press release.

Ontario supporting forestry jobs and worker safety

Published January 6, 2021

Funding will help forest sector businesses offset the cost of COVID-19 safety measures.

Read the press release. 

Province accelerates vaccinations for Long-Term Care Homes in priority regions

Published January 5, 2021

All residents, health care workers and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in the priority regions of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex receive a COVID-19 vaccination by January 21, 2021.

Read the press release.

Ontario releases Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Published December 30, 2020

Framework will guide vaccine prioritization in future phases of the province’s implementation plan.

Read the press release.

Changes to Municipal operations due to the province-wide shutdown

Published December 23, 2020

Effective December 26, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the Municipal Offices in Wilberforce and the Building Department in Gooderham will be closed to the public until further notice. These closures will be in effect as a response to the province-wide lockdown that is being implemented surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Municipality’s number one priority is the health and safety of the public and staff.

Learn more.

Ontario welcomes Health Canada's approval of Moderna vaccine

Published December 23, 2020

The Moderna vaccine is a real gamechanger as it does not need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures and is more mobile. This means health staff can administer this vaccine onsite at long-term care homes, retirement homes, congregate care settings, rural and remote locations, and other places where the most vulnerable populations live.

Read the press release.

Safe at home programs provide relief to Ontario families

Published December 22, 2020

The province is expanding the Support for Learners program to include secondary school students and lowering electricity prices to a discounted off-peak rate 24/7 for all time-of-use and tiered customers.

Read the press release.

Ontario cancelling road tests across Ontario

Published December 22, 2020

As a result of the Province-wide Shutdown, on December 26, the Ontario government will cancel all in-vehicle passenger tests across Northern Ontario until January 9 and for all 27 public health unit regions in Southern Ontario until January 23. This action is being taken to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read the press release. 

HKPR Health Unit offers guidance on Ontario's 28-day emergency shutdown

Published December 22, 2020

As of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, December 26, a province-wide shutdown will come into effect to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All of the HKPR District Health Unit region (which includes Northumberland County, Haliburton County and the City of Kawartha Lakes) will be under maximum protective public health measures. Widespread closures and revised ways of doing business will now be in effect for at least the next 28 days. People are strongly encouraged to stay home during the shutdown, except for essential items such as groceries and medical matters.

Read the key highlights published by the HKPR Health Unit.

Ontario announces province-wide shutdown to stop spread of COVID-19 and save lives

Published December 21, 2020

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Provincewide Shutdown. Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Provincewide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

Read the press release.

Province expands COVID-19 vaccine locations

Published December 18, 2020

Ontario will be distributing additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine to 17 more hospital sites over the next two weeks, including regions with the highest rates of COVID-19 infection. This is part of the initial phase of the government's three-phase vaccine implementation plan that began on December 14 with the initial vaccinations administered at Toronto's University Health Network (UHN), followed by the launch of the pilot project at UHN and The Ottawa Hospital on December 15.

Read the press release.

Ontario declares Santa Claus an essential service

Published December 17, 2020

Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement on Santa Claus' annual delivery of gifts, "As children across Ontario count down the days to Christmas with excitement, I want to reassure all the boys and girls out there that Santa is still coming this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic."

Read the press release.

Province begins COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Published December 11, 2020

The Ontario government has developed a three-phase implementation plan to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccines to Ontarians as soon as they are received. Phase One will begin on Tuesday, December 15, 2020 with a pilot project in Toronto and Ottawa which will include the vaccination of over 2,500 health care workers with the Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Read the press release.

Ontario extends COVID-19 orders

Published December 10, 2020

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is extending all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until January 20, 2021. This extension will support the safe delivery of health care and other critical services until COVID-19 vaccines are approved and widely available.

Read the press release.

Ontario identifies key groups for initial vaccine distribution

Published December 8, 2020

The province has identified key populations to receive the vaccine first, including long-term care and retirement home residents and the staff who provide care to these groups. 

Read the press release.

Ontario moving Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit to new levels in COVID-19 response framework

Published December 4, 2020

Effective Monday, December 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. our public health region will move into the Yellow-Protect level of the province's COVID-19 response framework. Two other regions in Ontario will move into the Orange-Restrict level:

  • Middlesex-London Health Unit; and
  • Thunder Bay District Health Unit

What Yellow-Protect means for us

The Yellow-Protect level that is in effect for our area includes additional restrictions and safety measures that need to be followed. To learn more about what Yellow-Protect means for us, please use our health unit's Current Colour Code for HKPR Area web page that details all the changes and information.

Read the press release.

Province providing additional financial support for young learners

Published November 30, 2020

Starting today, parents or guardians residing in Ontario can complete a simple online application through the Support for Learners web page to receive a one-time payment of:

  • $200 for each child aged 0 to 12; or
  • $250 if their child or youth is aged 0 to 21 with special needs

Applications will remain open until January 15, 2021. 

Read the press release.

Ontario moving regions to new levels in COVID-19 response framework

Published November 27, 2020

Based on the latest data, the following public health regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels effective Monday, November 30, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Red-Control: Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
  • Orange-Restrict: Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
  • Yellow-Protect: Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Lambton Public Health, and Northwestern Health Unit

All other public health regions will remain at their current level. Please visit Ontario.ca/covidresponse for the full list of public health region classifications.

Read the press release.

Celebrate the Holiday Season safely

Published November 25, 2020

The province is asking everyone to stick to their own households when celebrating the holidays this year. Avoid big barties or large family dinners to help stop the spread of this deadly virus. By following this public health advice, we can all have a safe and fun holiday season.

Read the press release.

Ontario deploys rapid testing to support COVID-19 response

Published November 25, 2020

The Ontario government has deployed new COVID-19 rapid tests to provide faster results in regions of high transmission and rural and remote areas. As an additional tool to help keep essential workers safe, rapid tests will also be used to screen staff in long-term care homes and select workplaces. These new tests will provide Ontarians with more access to innovative testing options and will help to quickly identify and manage outbreaks to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read the press release.

Ontario taking further action to stop the spread of COVID-19

Published November 20, 2020

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health, and other health experts, the province is moving certain public health unit regions to new levels in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, which includes moving Toronto and Peel into Lockdown. These necessary measures are being taken to limit community transmission of COVID-19 in order to keep schools open, safeguard health system capacity, and protect the province's most vulnerable populations.

Read the press release.

Ontario extends COVID-19 orders

Published November 20, 2020

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until December 21, 2020.

Read the press release.

Ontario updating COVID-19 Response Framework to help stop the spread of COVID-19

Published November 13, 2020

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Public Health Measures Table, the Ontario government is taking immediate action to respond to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and is updating the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, by lowering the thresholds for each level in the framework. These necessary updates will help limit the spread of COVID-19 while keeping schools open, maintaining health system capacity, protecting the province's most vulnerable, and avoiding broader lockdowns.

Read the press release.

2020 Budget provides more resources to strengthen frontline health care, support people and employers, and lay the groundwork for Ontario’s recovery

Published November 6, 2020

Finance Minister Rod Phillips released Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover — the next phase of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the serious health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Ontario's Action Plan now sets out a total of $45 billion in support over three years to make available the necessary health resources to continue protecting people, deliver critical programs and tax measures to support individuals, families and job creators impacted by the virus, and lay the groundwork for a robust long-term economic recovery for the province.

Read the press release.

Ontario investing nearly $1 billion to expand and improve broadband and cellular access

Published November 4, 2020

The Ontario government is making a historic investment of nearly $1 billion over six years to improve and expand broadband and cellular access across the province. The $680 million being announced today is on top of the $315 million to support Up to Speed: Ontario's Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This funding will be used for shovel-ready projects starting in 2019-20, will create jobs, and connect unserved and underserved communities during COVID-19 and beyond.

Read the press release.

Ontario releases COVID-19 Response Framework to help keep the province safe and open

Published November 3, 2020

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. It ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.

Download the Framework

Read the press release.

Ontario hiring hundreds more contact tracers and case managers

Published October 19, 2020

The Ontario government is taking immediate action to expand case and contact management to help track, trace and isolate new cases of COVID-19. The province has hired 100 new contact tracers, many of whom are starting work this week, with up to 500 more recruits expected to be hired by mid-November. These new positions are part the province's fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, which dedicates $1.376 billion to enhance and expand testing and contact tracing in the province.

Read the press release.

Province issues safety guidelines for Halloween

Published October 19, 2020

Ontario public officer of health has recommended that people in Stage 2 regions should not participate in traditional trick-or-treating activities and those in other areas should do only outdoor, physically distant trick-or-treating.

Read the press release.

Ontario implementing additional public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region

Published October 9, 2020

Modified Stage 2 restrictions will be for a minimum of 28 days and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Read the press release.

New COVID-19 precautions and long-term care homes

Published October 6, 2020

The province has updated its visitor policy to address areas where there is higher community spread of COVID-19. Starting Wednesday, October 7, 2020, general visitors will not be allowed in long-term care homes in the following communities. Only essential visitors, including up to one caregiver per resident, will be allowed to visit. If the home is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 the local public health unit will provide direction on further visitor restrictions and other measures.

Read the press release.

Ontario implementing additional public health and testing measures to keep people safe

Published October 2, 2020

Provincial government is tightening public health measures in response to the second wave of COVID-19 and in preparation for the cold winter months, the government is taking action to reduce testing turnaround times while prioritizing those who are at the greatest risk.

Read the press release.

Province provides $461 million to temporarily enhance wages for personal support workers

Published October 1, 2020

The Ontario government is supporting personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors by investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages. This investment will help the province attract and retain the workforce needed to care for patients, clients and residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the press release.

Ontario revises COVID-19 screening guidance for schools and child care

Published October 1, 2020

The school and child care screening guidance is being updated with two sets of questions about symptoms and information to help parents make informed decisions about whether their children should attend school or child care, need to consult a health care provider, or get tested for COVID-19. The guidance can be found immediately at the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children in School and Child Care, and the refreshed online tool will launch on Friday, October 2 for download.

Read the press release.

Highlands East issues reminder of State of Emergency and urges caution as we all prepare for second wave

Published September 30, 2020

Highlands East is reminding residents and visitors of new lower limits to private social gatherings (10 people at an indoor event or gathering and 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering) as well as asking that we all continue to follow these every steps to help stop the spread:

  • Stay home when ill or keeping children home from school when ill, even with mild symptoms;
  • Maintain physical distance by keeping at least two metres from others outside of your social circle;
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; and 
  • Wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge or where it is mandatory to do so.

Testing and tracking are important tools

Testing is available at your local assessment centre or participating pharmacies to those who fall under the updated COVID-19 testing guidelines.  You can visit www.ontario.ca/covidtest to find the closest assessment centre or pharmacy in your area.

We also encourage everyone to use the COVID Alert App to help stop the spread and assist with contact tracing and early detection.

Be safe this Thanksgiving

Mayor Burton states, “Thanksgiving weekend will soon be upon us and we want to ensure that everyone remains safe and healthy.  It is imperative, now more than ever that we all do our part and remain vigilant to reduce the risk of transmission.  We must all do our part to ensure we stay the course”. 

Read our media release.

For updates made between March and September 2020 please view our Archived Local COVID-19 Information.

Provincial Updates

Province delivers $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan

Published September 30, 2020

The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan to ensure the province's health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season. Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19 will enable the province to quickly identify, prevent and respond to surges and waves of the virus to protect the health and safety of all Ontarians.

Read the press release.

Ontario releases updated COVID-19 modelling for second wave

Published September 30, 2020

Modelling shows following public health measures remains critical to stop the spread.

Read the press release.

Province providing over half a billion dollars to protect vulnerable seniors against second wave of COVID-19

Published September 29, 2020

As part of the Fall Preparedness Plan, the government is enabling necessary renovations and measures to improve infection prevention and control, shoring up personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles, and building a strong health care workforce.

Read the press release. 

Ontario investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support more health care workers

Published September 28, 2020

The Ontario government is investing $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers to ensure our health care system can meet any surge in demand, while continuing to provide safe and high-quality care to patients and long-term care residents. This investment is part of the province's COVID-19 fall preparedness plan, Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19.

Read the press release.

New public health measures implemented provincewide

Published September 25, 2020

Over the past five weeks, Ontario has experienced an increase in the rate of new COVID-19 cases. Private social gatherings continue to be a significant source of transmission in many local communities, along with outbreak clusters in restaurants, bars, and other food and drink establishments, including strip clubs, with most cases in the 20-39 age group. To ensure the continued health and safety of Ontarians, reduce the risk of transmission, and limit future outbreaks of COVID-19, the amended order will apply province-wide effective 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, September 26 and will:

  • Apply additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments (including nightclubs) by prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m., and prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on the premises after 12:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. (including employees), and requiring establishments to close by 12:00 a.m. and remain closed until 5:00 a.m. except for takeout or delivery;
  • Close all strip clubs across the province; and
  • Require businesses or organizations to comply with any advice, recommendations, and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening for COVID-19, including screening individuals who wish to enter their premises.

Read the press release.

Province investing more than $1 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and contact tracing

Published September 24, 2020

The Ontario government is building on the largest provincial testing initiative in Canada by providing $1.07 billion to expand COVID-19 testing and case and contact management. The government is also immediately investing $30 million to prevent and manage outbreaks in priority sectors, including the province's long-term care homes, retirement homes and schools. These investments are part of the province's comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19.

Read the press release.

Critical delivery program of food and essentials for seniors and people with disabilities extended into 2021

Published September 24, 2020

The Ontario government is extending the Ontario Community Support Program until March 2021. This will ensure that low-income seniors and people with disabilities, many who are self isolating due to COVID-19, can continue to get meals and other essential supplies delivered to their homes in the upcoming winter months. 

Read the press release.

Ontario updates COVID-19 testing guidelines

Published September 24, 2020

Ontario has updated testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at the greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing.

Publicly-funded testing will be available and easily accessible for those who are symptomatic, have had close contact with a confirmed case, or are part of an outbreak investigation. In addition, testing will continue to be available on a targeted basis for specific asymptomatic individuals who are at greater risk due to their health condition or employment, at the direction of the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care. Evolving our testing guidance in this way will support timely access to testing for those who need it.

Effective immediately, Ontarians should only seek testing at assessment centres if you are:

  • Showing COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by your public health unit or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app;
  • A resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by your local public health unit; and
  • Eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Starting on September 25, you can get tested for COVID-19 at select pharmacies if you are not showing symptoms and eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Read the press release.

Province expands COVID-19 testing to pharmacies

Published September 23, 2020

As of Friday, up to 60 pharmacies in Ontario will begin offering testing by appointment only, with further locations coming online in the coming weeks. This initiative will expand testing capacity well beyond the province's 150 assessment centres.

Read the press release.

Ontario set to launch largest Flu immunization campaign in province's history

Published September 22, 2020

The Ontario government is implementing the largest flu immunization campaign in Ontario's history. The campaign is part of the province's comprehensive plan to prepare the health system for a second wave of COVID-19. The plan, entitled Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19, sets out a series of steps to prevent, identify and respond to any outbreak scenario this fall.

Read the press release.

Ontario limits the size of unmonitored and private social gatherings across entire province

Published September 19, 2020

Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.

The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored private social gathering across the province is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).

Indoor and outdoor events and gatherings cannot be merged together. Gatherings of 35 (25 outdoors and 10 indoors) are not permitted.

The new limits will not apply to events or gatherings held in staffed businesses and facilities, such as bars, restaurants, cinemas, convention centres, banquet halls, gyms, places of worship, recreational sporting or performing art events. Existing rules, including public health and workplace safety measures for these businesses and facilities, continue to be in effect.

These new limits are effective immediately.

 Read the press release.

Ontario sets lower limits for unmonitored and private social gatherings in Ottawa, Peel and Toronto regions

Published September 18, 2020

The new limit reduces the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events in three regions experiencing higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. This includes functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas. The province has also introduced legislation across ontario to increase fines for non-compliance.

Read the press release.

Province launches new COVID-19 screening tool to help protect students and staff

Published September 16, 2020

The Ontario government launched a new voluntary interactive screening tool to assist parents, students and staff with the daily assessment of COVID-19 symptoms and risk factors that is required before attending school. The results will let parents, students, and education staff know whether they should attend school each day or guide at-risk individuals to proper resources. This tool is another layer of prevention that the province is using to protect the health and safety of students, staff, and the communities where they live and work.

Read the press release.

Ontario updates to visitor’s policy with easy-to-follow guidelines for accommodating caregivers

Published September 3, 2020

The updated visitor policy outlines that:

  • Each resident and/or their substitute decision maker may designate a maximum of two caregivers.
  • Caregivers can visit, without time limits.
  • If a home is not in outbreak, and the resident is not self-isolating or symptomatic, caregivers can visit together. If a home is in outbreak, or the resident is self-isolating or symptomatic, they must visit one at a time to limit risk of transmission and follow direction from the local public health unit.

Read the press release.

For updates made between March and September 2020 please view our Archived Provincial COVID-19 Information.

National Updates

For updates made between March and September 2020 please view our Archived National COVID-19 Information.

Highlands East Media Releases

All media releases are emailed to stakeholders and added to the archive below when they are first published. The content is then made available in an enhanced and accessible format on our COVID-19 News and Notices page.

Haliburton County Updates

Please visit the County of Haliburton's COVID-19 Information page for county-specific news, notices and media releases.