Just one new COVID-19 case was confirmed Friday in the Sarnia area by the local health unit as the region entered the first phase of Ontario’s post-lockdown reopening plan.
Of the 3,537 cases since the pandemic began, 3,447 were considered resolved while 29 were still active, Lambton public health reported. At least 589 have screened positive for a variant of concern.
Six COVID-positive patients were in hospital, Bluewater Health reported.
The region’s death toll was still 61 while 49 people, including some non-local residents, have died from the disease in local hospital.
Several restrictions eased just after midnight Friday, including outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table, and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity. Outdoor pools, splash pads and waterslides, and outdoor religious services and ceremonies, with a minimum two-metre distancing, are also allowed.
For a full list of what’s permitted under the first phase, visit bit.ly/3ge9eXZ.
Sarnia police issued a statement leading up to Friday’s changes cautioning they will still be enforcing the Reopening Ontario Act for people and businesses, despite “recent false information” on various social media platforms.
“We realize that this has been a very difficult time, but it appears that the sacrifices made by the many are finally showing positive results and allowing us to return to normal,” the police statement said. “Please do not let this be in vain.”
In the meantime, the local health unit, hospitals, doctors’ offices and pharmacies continue to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. More than 87,700 doses have been given to Sarnia-Lambton residents as of this week. Almost 68 per cent of the adult population has received at least one dose and more than 11 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Approximately 11 per cent of eligible youths have also been given at least a single dose.
Residents age 70 and older or who received their first dose before April 19 became eligible to book second doses earlier this week. People who are medically eligible, many high-risk health-care workers, and all First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals are also being prioritized.
Residents who received a first dose of AstraZeneca can book a second AstraZeneca dose through pharmacies, or Pfizer or Moderna through the health unit, depending on availability, officials have said.
The health unit’s dedicated vaccine call centre’s number is 226-254-8222, but officials have been asking for patience due to call volume.
Residents can visit getthevaccine.ca for more information.