Covid-19 Update by HKPR District Health Unit

Our District’s Acting Medical officer for Health, Dr. Ian Gemmill, is very helpful in providing regular information on the pandemic. To do this, he holds weekly media briefings and next week will also hold a Virtual Town Hall for the public. With the lockdown to be eased on February 16, there is quite a lot of information to be disseminated this week.  Next Tuesday (the day after family day), Cobourg will move out of the “stay at home order” and into a zone – and according to Dr. Gemmill this will most probably be the Orange zone – see details below. The decision will be made by the Province and announced on Friday. He also said that another 1000 vaccine doses have now been received so that all the Long Term Care home residents will be immunized by the weekend. However, the next delivery of vaccines is not expected for another two weeks so essential workers will have to wait.

Dr. Ian Gemmill
Dr. Ian Gemmill

New Cases and Outbreaks

  • About half the cases in our area have been in Long Term Care homes, a quarter are unknown settings and the remainder have been in personal contact, mostly older age groups.
  • A recent example of a large number of cases in a family was a birthday party.
  • In the past, the HKPR District Health Unit has not advised the public of cases because “the people who needed to know were advised but not others”. But now, because of the risk of misinformation, more details are being released.
  • So far, there has been one known case of a virus variant and that was in Port Hope and was already in isolation when the variant was identified (the UK one).
  • Case locations have generally only been narrowed down to upper tier Municipalities – in our case Northumberland – but in response to a question, Dr. Gemmill said that in the last 2 weeks, there were 8 new cases in Cobourg and 7 in Port Hope. I counted 31 in Northumberland in that time period.
  • The definitive test is the PCR test which tests for the presence of the virus. Although rapid testing is possible, it misses some cases and such tests need to be confirmed by PCR testing.

More Information

A Virtual Town Hall will be held on Tuesday, February 16, from 1 to 2 pm. Called “Talk with The Doc,” it will be hosted by Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill. During each online information session Dr. Gemmill will provide updates on COVID-19 topics and answer your questions. Full details and registration here. Places are limited so book early.

Dr Gemmill said that although the lockdown will finish next week, this “does not mean that the risk is diminished” and everyone is encouraged to stay home. He said that we “should hang on for a few weeks” and “now is not the time to travel”.

Orange Zone Restrictions – Highlights

Download complete details here

Always stay home if you have symptoms, physically distance by staying two metres apart from people you don’t live with, wear a mask or face covering in indoor public spaces and avoid non-essential travel.

  • Non-essential stores can open but not some personal care (see full list in link above)
  • Masks and social distancing required indoors in all cases. Many require reservations and that all must give their name and contact information
  • Limits on Events and social gatherings in public (50 indoors, 100 outside) and private (10 indoors, 25 outdoors)
  • Religious, wedding and funeral services: Indoors: 30% capacity, Outside: 100 people
  • Restaurants may open but no buffets. Limited to 50 people indoors and 4 people per table. No alcohol after 9:00 pm and closed by 10:00 pm
  • Sports and recreational fitness facilities allowed with limited capacity and the only spectators allowed are one parent or guardian per child. Sports must be modified to avoid physical contact.
  • Outdoor ski, ice and snow recreational amenities open for recreational purposes.
  • Closed are: Oxygen bars, Steam rooms, Saunas, Sensory deprivation pods (except for therapeutic purposes), Bath houses, Other adult venues
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments are allowed with up to 50 people but not allowed: Table games (for example, poker, blackjack, roulette)
  • Cinemas allowed with indoors 50 people total and outdoors 100 people total. Everyone must always wear masks or face coverings except when eating or drinking (with some exceptions) and give their name and contact information
  • Performing arts facilities are allowed with indoors 50 spectators total and outside 100 spectators total. Guests must give their name and contact information. There must be a barrier (for example, plexiglass) between singers and wind- or brass-instrument players and audience members.

Details of other zones at Ontario Government page.


12 Feb 2021 – The HKPR DHU has confirmed that we will be in Orange zone on Tuesday.


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3 years ago

Cobourg Transit
Reduced Schedule and restrictions added…
Now flat rate of $2 – Masks mandatory on all buses

Transit is now cash only. I predict a critical shortage of loonies & toonies before long. I can’t imagine what we will do when our little hoards of coins run out and the bank says they don’t have any supply on hand to sell to us. Myself included.

I trust Cobourg Transit is aware of this possibility and has plans in place if/when such a dilemma arises.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  JimT
3 years ago

When that particular dilemma arises, raid the Coin Laundries.

Reply to  JimT
3 years ago

Why wouldn’t the bank have an adequate supply of loonies and twonies? Do you think the (tens of?) thousands of riders flocking to Cobourg Transit could put that big a strain on our local branches? Do you not suppose our local bank branches might be able to re-supply through their regular channels?
A little dramatic here JimT, no?

Ken Strauss
3 years ago

Port Hope and District Chamber of Commerce

You’re invited to attend ‘Talk with The Doc,” a Virtual Town Hall hosted by Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Gemmill. He will address:

  • Local COVID-19 cases and transmission rates
  • Vaccine rollout in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes
  • HKPRDHU’s pandemic response and related topics. 

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 1 to 2 pm or Tuesday, March 2, 1 to 2 pm

Register on line at:

This might provide an opportunity to garner actual information on where transmission is occurring in Northumberland rather than the useless generic reporting to which we have become accustomed.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
3 years ago

Yes, indeed. For example:

11 February 2021 – Update re Cobourg Police
The Cobourg Police Service (CPS) was informed today that a fourth staff member has tested positive for COVID-19… The member has been self-isolating since February 4 as a precaution.

Earlier announcement. Three Cobourg Police Service (CPS) staff members have tested positive for COVID-19…All four infected staff were Special Constables.

Fortunately there is a link on this page directing the reader to this info and more. I doubt I would have been aware of this detail without

Thanks, John.

Last edited 3 years ago by JimT
Mr. Green Zone Please
3 years ago

These rules and restrictions are not at all conducive to maintaining family and extended family bonds.The orange restrictions do nothing to foster our social and mental health and in my reading, allows one to eat a a table of four in a restaurant but not allow my grandkids to come over and have a meal with me.
It would seem “safer” to allow “bubbled” extended families to eat together
than eating in a resto with a bunch of strangers. I did note the birthday party
cause, but responsible people should be able to maintain familial and social
bonds. This is all very depressing and dis-appointing.

Just Wondering
Reply to  Mr. Green Zone Please
3 years ago

Why do you think your grandchildren can’t come over for dinner? Up to 10 people are allowed in private indoor settings.

Merry Mary
Reply to  Just Wondering
3 years ago

Would it not be necessary to have an extremely large indoor home setting in order to have 10 people at a distance apart of 2 metres/6 feet as for all other indoor setting numbers, such as, restaurants that are also dependant on square footage? The restrictions are implied, yet they are not fully stated…

Reply to  Mr. Green Zone Please
3 years ago

All restrictions must say in place for so we have a better tomorrow. I was at Whitby Walmart yesterday and we had to wait half an hour to get in and then at the check-out each customer has to wait 4 minutes to make sure the sanitizer is working before us use the pin pad. It’s a pain but worth it I suppose.

Mr. Green Zone Please
Reply to  Conor
3 years ago

I fully support all the restrictions. And abide by them.

3 years ago

Personal care , eg hair cuts, nail salons can open in Orange

Personal care services

  • Oxygen bars, steam rooms, saunas, bath houses and other adult venues, closed
  • Sensory deprivation pods closed (some exceptions)
  • Services requiring removal of face coverings prohibited
  • Require contact information from all patrons
  • Screening of patrons is required, in accordance with instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
  • safety plan is required to be prepared and made available upon request

Last edited 3 years ago by Mark