The province of Ontario has activated the "emergency brake" for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, moving the Thunder Bay region into the Grey-Lockdown tier in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework on Monday.

The emergency brake was introduced earlier this month to allow the province, in consultation with local health units using local context and conditions, to immediately interrupt transmission and contain community spread.

Earlier today, Thunder Bay District Health Unit reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 and had 350 cases listed as active.

"Quickly implementing stronger measures to interrupt transmission of COVID-19 is a key component of the government's plan to safely and gradually return public health regions to the Framework," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"Due to data and local context and conditions in the Simcoe-Muskoka and Thunder Bay Districts, it was necessary to tighten public health measures in these regions to ensure the health and safety of the region at large and stop the spread of the virus."

The Thunder Bay District Health Unit will move into the Grey-Lockdown tier effective Monday, March 1 at 12:01 a.m.

"While we continue to see the number of cases and other public health indicators lowering in many regions across the province, the recent modelling shows us that we must be nimble and put in place additional measures to protect Ontarians and stop the spread of COVID-19," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

"With COVID-19 variants continuing to spread in our communities, it is critically important that everyone continues strictly adhering to all public health and workplace safety measures to help contain the virus and maintain the progress we have made to date."

The Northwestern Health Unit catchment area will remain in the Yellow-Protect tier for at least another week.

Residents are reminded not to travel outside of their home community, unless for essential reasons.