Medical Officer of Health expects region to go to orange

Middlesex-London Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

While it’s looking like the London area will soon move to the orange-restrict level of the COVID-19 response framework, the community is being urged to stay vigilant.

Earlier this week, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie said that the region could be shifted back from the red level to orange or yellow.

During the Middlesex London Health Unit’s (MLHU) briefing on Thursday afternoon, Mackie congratulated the community for its efforts in keeping the number of infections low. But he reiterated that London is vulnerable to a spike in cases.

“Our rates here in London-Middlesex now are lower than any other large community in Ontario,” Mackie said. “So as we celebrate, let’s do so remotely, let’s do so with masks on, keeping our distance and still staying home as much as we can.”

Looking at the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to seniors in the area, Dr. Mackie said he hopes that, in addition to the vaccine clinics already in operation at the Western Fair Agri-Plex in London and the Caradoc Community Centre in Mount Brydges, at least one of the two vaccine clinics recently announced will be up and running sometime in March, though he added there is not enough information available on the number of doses that will be received locally. Currently, over 1,100 individuals across the region are being vaccinated per day.

If London-Middlesex moves to orange, places like restaurants and bars would open to a capacity of 50 people indoors, while ten people will be able to come together for a social gathering where physical distancing can be maintained. Under the current red level, only ten people are allowed in food establishments, and five people are permitted to attend an indoor event.

An announcement on what areas will be moved or not is expected by the provincial government Friday afternoon.