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KFL&A Public Health issues letter of instruction for youth indoor sports safety

KFL&A Public Health.

One day after vaccine appointments became available to book for children between the ages of five and 11, Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health at KFL&A Public Health issued a Letter of Instruction pursuant to Section 2 (2.1) of Schedule 1 of Ontario Regulation 364/20: Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step.

The Letter of Instruction will enforce required proof of vaccination for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or a valid medical exemption for individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 years participating or associated with indoor organized sports and recreation activities, effective 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 06, 2021, according to a release from Public Health. A full series COVID-19 vaccine is required for individuals aged 12 to 17 years participating or associated with indoor organized sports and recreation activities, effective 12:01 a.m. on February 25, 2022.

According to the release, organized sports are defined as sports and recreation activities including, but not limited to, sports leagues, organized pick-up sports, dance classes, gymnastics, martial arts, and swimming classes, or as otherwise described in the Ministry of Health’s proof of vaccination guidance for businesses and organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020.

“Indoor sports and recreation activities have the potential to increase COVID-19 transmission especially when participants remove their mask during activity,” said Dr. Piotr Oglaza. “This letter of instruction adds another layer of protection to decrease any exposure to COVID-19 for individuals aged 12 to 17 years who are in close and prolonged contact with participants.”

Indoor sports and recreation activities may facilitate all five risk factors for COVID-19 transmission which include: close contact, closed spaces, crowded places, prolonged exposure, and forceful exhalation, Public Health said. The provincial proof of vaccination requirements have exempted certain participants of organized sports, including patrons who are under 18 years of age, and who are entering the premises of a facility used for sports and recreational fitness activities for the purpose of actively participating in organized sports, according to the release.

Given indoor sports and recreation activities are high-risk settings for COVID-19 transmission, proof of vaccination of a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is required as of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 06, 2021, and a full series COVID-19 vaccine, or a valid medical exemption, is required as of 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 25, 2022, to protect participants and decrease the risk of COVID-19 exposures in our community, the agency said.

The Letter of Instruction is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 06, 2021, and will remain in effect until such time as the Medical Officer of Health determines it is no longer required, according to the release. Individuals who do not comply with this Letter of Instruction may be liable for a fine up to a maximum of $100,000.

To learn more about COVID-19, how you can protect yourself and what to do if you suspect you may be at risk, visit kflaph.ca/Coronavirus or Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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