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City of Hamilton Public Health Services issues Health Promotion and Protection Act Section 22 Class Order to identify and manage COVID-19 outbreaks in workplaces

HAMILTON, ON – City of Hamilton Public Health Services has issued a Health Promotion and Protection Act Section 22 Class Order, to break the chain of transmission within local workplaces where COVID-19 or its variants are determined to be spreading.

The Order, which will take effect Tuesday, May 4 at 12:01 a.m., is a tool intended to ensure Hamilton Public Health Services receives outbreak information more quickly from workplaces, and ensure appropriate measures are in place to help break the chain of transmission within Hamilton workplaces where COVID-19 is determined to be spreading. These measures may include the full or partial closures of workplaces.

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants—which some have shown to spread more easily and are connected to more severe disease—the Order will initiate, among other things, the following requirements:

  • Employers to notify Public Health Services if two or more cases of COVID-19 are identified within a 14-day period among those who attend the workplace by calling the Public Health Services COVID-19 Hotline at 905-974-9848, option 6, daily 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or after-hours at 905-546-2489.
  • Employers must also notify Public Health Services when five or more cases of COVID-19 are identified within a 14-day period among persons who attend the workplace.
  • The closure of certain workplaces, or parts of workplaces, where five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases are confirmed within a 14-day period and where cases could reasonable have been acquired through infection in the workplace.
  • A workplace closure to be in effect for a minimum period of 10 calendar days.
  • Workplaces subject to closure to post signage provided by Public Health Services at all entrances to the premises.
  • Workers at the closed workplace, or parts of workplaces, to self-isolate where exposures and potential transmission are considered widespread.
  • Certain workplaces may be exempt from the full closure requirement such as  First responder emergency services (Fire, Paramedics, Police and their communication services); Shelters; critical infrastructure such as water/wastewater treatment facilities, utilities, telecommunications and IT, transportation and energy, government services, and services required to maintain the health of animals.

The Order, can be found on the City of Hamilton website. Public disclosure of the workplace closures will be available on the City website. Businesses and workplaces can email their questions to [email protected] 

Locally, the COVID-19 situation is concerning with increased transmission, reduced hospital capacity and a rise in ICU admissions. This Order is a tool to help break the chain of transmission, however all Hamilton workplaces and their employees must continue to be vigilant and follow public health measures.

We need to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community, to reserve healthcare and hospital capacity and to protect vulnerable settings.

Quick Facts

  • City of Hamilton Public Health Services joins Region of Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health, as Public Health Units in Ontario that have moved forward with Section 22 Class Orders to break the chain of transmission within local workplaces where COVID-19 or its variants are determined to be spreading.
  • Complete information about the Section 22 Order is available on the City of Hamilton website.  
  • It is vital that members of the public, even those who have been vaccinated, ensure that public health measures still be practiced until it is safe and said to be safe by the health professionals in all levels of government. Public health measures include:  
    • stay home if you are feeling unwell
    • get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19
    • limit gatherings to only members of your immediate household
    • maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet or 2 meters from others outside of your immediate household
    • wear a mask or face covering indoors and outdoors when not able to maintain physical distancing
    • wash hands frequently

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“We support Public Health in utilizing additional tools to effectively manage workplace outbreaks and curb the transmission rate in an effort to protect workers and families. From the start of the pandemic, I have supported and emphasized the need for paid sick leave. The financial and economic consequences of COVID-19 for workers leaves them with limited options. We don’t want workers ever to be in the impossible position of having to choose between putting food on the table and paying their bills or going to work sick or with symptoms. In order to protect workers, their families and the community, paid sick days are a necessary measure to curb transmission.”

- Mayor Eisenberger

 “Further action is needed to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 in our community and stronger local public health measures are required during this third wave of the pandemic. Workplaces, businesses, and local employers continue to be an important partner in responding to the pandemic emergency. Together, we can help workplaces reduce the risk of transmission and manage outbreaks quickly. Moving forward with this Section 22 Class Order means we can better protect the health and safety of staff, their families and the wider community.”

– Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health