Ontario officials have extended their COVID-19 health measures and restrictions into the new year.

All emergency orders under the provincial Reopening Ontario Act of 2020 will remain in effect until January 21 at the earliest, announced by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones yesterday.

"Safeguarding the health and well-being of Ontarians remains our top priority at every stage of our COVID-19 response," said Jones.

"As we prepare to implement a safe and effective immunization program, extending these orders will ensure tools remain in place to address urgent public health situations until all Ontarians can be vaccinated."

The Northwestern Health Unit region was moved into the Yellow-Protect category of Ontario’s COVID-19 response program late last month, which will remain in effect for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods, at which time the region will be reassessed.

If our local COVID-19 numbers taper off by that time, northwestern Ontario could move back into the Green-Prevent tier by Christmas Day.

As of December 10, the health unit has reported a total of 133 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 2 probable cases. 10 cases are still considered active, and the region has seen a 0.3 per cent positivity rate.

The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed until December 21 at the earliest. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he won’t reopen the border as long as COVID-19 cases continue to climb south of the border. Its been closed to all non-essential travellers since March.

For more information:
When can NWO move back into Green-Prevent?
U.S. border closure, COVID-19 orders both extended