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Monday, September 27, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. | Windsor-Essex County

With the provincial vaccine verification system now in effect, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is enhancing these measures in all indoor recreational and fitness facilities to include those 12-17 years old.

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Windsor-Essex has been significant. The region saw a rapid rise in case rates in August of 2021, and continues to have one of the highest rates of cases of COVID-19 along with one of the highest test positivity rates in the province. Given the lack of distancing, prolonged contact, and heavy breathing associated with organized sports and high intensity fitness and recreation, participants are at greater risk for COVID-19 transmission, particularly when these activities take place indoors.

In Windsor-Essex, vaccination coverage rates are lower than the provincial average for those aged 12-17. With the number of cases in schools increasing, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai has put in place a Letter of Instruction to protect young people and reduce the potential for community spread of COVID-19. The Letter of Instruction removes the exemption offered under the provincial Reopening Ontario Act that allows those 12-17 years old to participate in organized sport or recreation without the need to present proof of vaccination. According to Dr. Nesathurai, “By requiring and verifying proof of vaccination for all people 12 years of age and older accessing these types of indoor facilities, we will greatly reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and improve protection from COVID-19, limiting its spread amongst young people and their families in Windsor-Essex.”

The Letter of Instruction has been shared with all municipalities operating recreation facilities and will come into effect on October 1st. The full version of the letter is available on the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit website at:  

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