New health regulations coming to protect youth

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With Simcoe Muskoka seeing COVID-19 infection levels twice as high as the province as a whole, medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner is putting in additional measures to help protect the community, especially youth who cannot yet be vaccinated.
Gardner said he is updating instructions and orders to make it explicit that screening, contact tracing, physical distancing and mandatory mask use is required for places of worship.
An earlier requirement that all coaches and instructors be fully vaccinated will extend to the youth 12 and older engaging in indoor sports outside of school. They will have to provide proof of vaccine to play but will be given a sufficient window of time in order to get vaccinated.
Gardner is also revising an order to require anyone under 19 who is a household contact of an unvaccinated contact of a case to quarantine for 10 days if they themselves have not been vaccinated.
“This is intended to help us reduce further spread in schools. We have a large number of primary school outbreaks and this is meant to assist with reducing the number and size of these outbreaks,” said Gardner.
There are currently 12 outbreaks in elementary schools in Simcoe Muskoka, plus several other settings involving youth.
The health unit will be offering up advice for how to reduce risk over the upcoming holiday season.
“We will continue to monitor the impact of these on transmission to determine if additional measures would be required,” said Gardner.
He said the health unit is also preparing for upcoming vaccination clinics for youth five to 11 and for adults who will be receiving booster shots, and is calling for volunteers 18 and older to fill non-medical roles, in Collingwood, Stayner and Wasaga Beach.

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