While the COVID-19 outbreak at the Prescott and Russell Residence in Hawkesbury continues to dominate local concerns about the pandemic, the number of active cases of COVID-19 across the  jurisdiction of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) as of Friday, October 23 had reached 200.

The high rate of case increases has led EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis to issue a special order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act which will place additional restrictions on the number of customers and infection control protocols at certain businesses across the EOHU’s territory, effective Monday, October 26.

“There will be no closures,” Roumeliotis emphasized on Friday.  No businesses or services will have to shut their doors.

The order limits dance class attendance to 10 people and no more than 50 people will be able to be in an indoor fitness facility.  Physical distancing and masks at both types of facilities will be required.

At restaurants, bars, and other establishments serving food, no more than 100 patrons will be permitted, indoors and outdoors.  At banquet halls, the number of people will be limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.  No more than six people will be allowed to sit together at an indoor or outdoor table in any establishment.  Physical distancing in all lineups must be maintained.

At hair stylists, barber shops, estheticians, and tattoo shops, all outdoor customer lines must be physically distanced with individuals wearing masks.

The measures are an alternative to moving the EOHU’s territory to a modified version of Ontario’s Stage Two of regulations for businesses and services.  The territory will technically remain under Stage Three when the new order takes effect.  Roumeliotis had initially anticipated that the provincial cabinet would implement the measures, but Premier Doug Ford decided to defer to local authorities to make the decision.


As of October 23, there were 16 cases of COVID-19 cases at 13 schools and childcare facilities across the EOHU’s territory. However, the Ontario government’s list of school cases had not been updated to give a complete listing of each case and which school it was at.

Hospital, deaths, testing

There were seven COVID-19 patients from the EOHU’s jurisdiction in hospital as of October 23, and two patients were in intensive care.

The number of COVID-19 deaths across the EOHU territory as of October 23 remained at 14.

At the six COVID-19 testing and assessment centres and by paramedics across the EOHU territory, 72,065 COVID-19 tests had been performed as of October 23.

Provincial statistics

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health, there were 9,554 active cases of COVID-19 across the province as of October 22, out of a cumulative 68,353 cases.  There were 826, or 1.2 per cent more active cases on October 22 than on October 21.

The Ministry reported that 58,799 or 86 per cent of cumulative cases were resolved as of October 22.

There were 276 COVID-19 patients in hospital across Ontario as of October 22.  Out of those 276 patients, 78 were in intensive care, and 47 patients were on ventilators.

There had been 3,080 deaths due to COVID-19 across Ontario as of October 22, composing 4.5 per cent of all cumulative cases.

Active cases of COVID-19 under EOHU jurisdiction by municipality, October 23, 2020.

Map: Eastern Ontario Health Unit.