COVID-19 Information

Elgin County Declaration of State of Emergency

In March of 2020, Elgin County Warden, the Mayors from all of Elgin’s Local Municipal Partners, and the City of St. Thomas, each declared a local State of Emergency in their municipalities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic developments in our region.  Municipalities are working together to protect the health and well-being of our residents. Our collective priorities are: the health, safety and well-being of the public and our employees; and maintaining essential services that our residents rely on.

Declaring an emergency affords our municipalities opportunities to further protect the health and safety of all individuals, families and businesses as well as the vulnerable populations that we serve. This declaration also aligns with the Government of Ontario’s Declaration of Emergency made on March 17, 2020. The government of Ontario declared a second Emergency on January 12, 2021.

The declaration also supports Public Health recommendations that reinforce the importance of acting now to help flatten the curve of spread of COVID-19, including:


• Avoid gatherings
• Practice adequate social distancing
• Wash your hands for 15-20 seconds with soap and use hand sanitizer
• Cough or sneeze into your arm
• If you have any symptoms, self-monitor and self-isolate, and contact a health care professional if symptoms persist
• If you have travelled outside Canada recently, ensure you self-isolate for 14 days

Elgin County Service Updates

All County Council and Committee meetings will be held virtually. These meetings will be livestreamed on Elgin County’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/elgincountyadmin 

The County of Elgin Administration Building is closed to the public. Please call 519-631-14560 ext. 104 for service. 

Curbside pick-up and delivery are available. For further information, please visit www.elgincounty.ca/library.  

The Elgin County Heritage Centre and Elgin County Archives are closed to in-person service with strict health and safety protocols in place. 

Elgin County Long-Term Care Homes Update

We would like to thank the family and friends of our residents for your ongoing support for the Homes staff as they continue to prioritize the safety of your loved ones.  Our team continues to take all necessary steps to decrease the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus and remain dedicated to the health and safety of our residents.

On June 2, 2021, the Ministry of Long-Term Care provided Long-Term Care Homes, with information regarding changes to visits and absences for general visitors and essential caregiver visitors that will come into effect on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.  

We are looking forward to implementing these exciting updates and thank you for your patience as our Homes work towards safely implementing these changes for residents, general visitors and essential caregiver visitors.

The following changes came into effect on Wednesday, June 9, 2021:

  • Social and temporary absences for those residents who are fully immunized will now be permitted. Long-term care homes will provide a medical mask to the resident (as tolerated) and remind them to follow public health measures, such as physical distancing and hand hygiene, while they are away from the home. Please contact the Home to discuss requirements to support safe social and temporary absences.
  • Where the Home determines that a resident has mobility limitations or health conditions (i.e. factors unrelated to weather) that make participating in outdoor visits highly unlikely or impossible, a maximum of 1 general visitor per resident may visit indoors at a time. A maximum of 1 essential caregiver may also be present during the visit. In these situations, general visitors shall be permitted to visit in designated areas indoors regardless of their immunization status and must adhere to physical distancing (unless otherwise permitted), personal protective equipment (PPE) and other Infection Prevention and Control measures the homes have in place. General visitors entering the home for an indoor visit will be actively screened and are required to undergo rapid antigen testing in accordance with the Minister’s Directive on Surveillance Testing. General visitors must wait for a negative antigen test result before proceeding beyond entry points / areas in homes.
  • Regardless of resident and visitor vaccination status, brief hugs can now take place.
  • Where both the resident and visitors are fully immunized close physical contact, including handholding, can now take place safely. It continues to be important that residents and visitors continue to adhere to public health measures while visiting, including good hand hygiene and appropriate masking.
  • “Fully immunized” means a person has received the total number of required doses of COVID-19 vaccine approved by Health Canada and it has been at least 14 days since they received their final dose.
  • Essential Caregivers and general visitors who are fully immunized (and therefore able to have close physical contact with the resident) are not required to wear eye protection whether visiting indoors or outdoors.

Effective Immediately:

  • Essential caregivers are asked to continue with the Rapid Antigen testing performed on site at the Home they are visiting
  • Except as outlined above, a reminder that general visitors are not currently permitted to visit indoors – see below for general visitor outdoor visit guidelines
  • We continue to ask caregivers to pre-screen and stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms
  • Updates to inside and outside visits for residents and essential caregivers:
  • Each Home has identified designated indoor and outdoor visit areas for residents with their essential caregiver or visitors
  • Each designated visiting area has a maximum occupancy. If an area is unavailable during your visit, please seek an alternate designated area or visit in your loved one’s room
  • Public health measures must be followed during all visits, including outdoors. These include masking, physical distancing, eye protection, hand hygiene, and respiratory etiquette
  • “Fully immunized” residents may enjoy a pre-scheduled meal with their “fully immunized” essential caregiver visitor in an area separate from other residents and visitors. Masks may be removed while eating and drinking and must be replaced as soon as the meal is complete.  Please contact the Home to book a time and location for your pre-scheduled meal
  • Absences currently permitted include:
  • Medical absences
  • Compassionate and palliative absences
  • Short term absences, specifically essential absences including for reasons of groceries, pharmacies and outdoor physical activity (i.e. exercise)
  • Social outings and overnight absences are currently permitted for fully immunized residents
  • The absence must be scheduled/pre-arranged at least 24 hours in advance of the absence – please contact the Home for information regarding the process and infection prevention and control measures required for absences

Please check the Southwestern Public Health website regularly for up to date COVID-19 information. 

Essential Caregiver Visitor Reminders:

  • Only one essential caregiver/resident is permitted in the Home at one time
  • A maximum of 2 essential caregivers may be designated per resident at a time
  • A resident and/or their substitute decision-maker may change an essential caregiver designation in response to the following:
    • There is a significant change in the resident’s care plan for which the essential caregiver can no longer meet the essential caregiver needs of the resident
    • There is a change in the designated caregiver’s availability, either temporary (e.g. illness) or permanent
    • Any requests to change a resident’s essential caregiver shall be directed to a manager in the Home in writing via the essential caregiver intake form

General Visitors:

  • General visitors are permitted for outdoor visits
  • Maximum of two general visitors are permitted at a time per resident in addition to essential caregiver(s).
  • Children under the age of two years do not count towards the general visitor maximum, but must adhere to all restrictions (excluding mask).
  • General visitors need to be actively screened upon arrival at the entrance to the Home. 
  • General visitors are not permitted to proceed beyond entry points/areas in home.
  • General visitors must complete mandatory education prior to their first visit; and monthly thereafter.
  • General visitors do not need to undergo a rapid antigen test as their visit will be outdoors.
  • General visitors need to maintain physical distancing and wear masks, and must not be closer than 6 feet to residents, other/different groups of visitors.
  • Please contact the Home or visit our website for additional visit guidelines and details on how to schedule your outdoor visit

If you have any questions, please contact the Home directly and/or check the County of Elgin Homes website for updates.  

POA Court Proceedings

POA is closed to in-person visits.  Ticket payments can be made virtually or by telephone.

In-person court/trials have been suspended since the onset of the pandemic and have not yet resumed. 

Service of Documents in Any Legal Proceeding (Excluding Proceedings in St. Thomas Provincial Offences Court) 

To arrange for service of documents in any legal proceeding in which the Corporation of the County of Elgin is a Party (excluding proceedings in St. Thomas Provincial Offences Court), please send email to County Solicitor Stephen Gibson at:  sgibson@elgin.ca

Service of Documents on Elgin County Prosecutor in any Part I or II Proceedings in St. Thomas Provincial Offences Court 

To arrange for service of documents upon Elgin County Prosecutor in any Part I or II proceedings in St. Thomas Provincial Offences Court, please send email to Elgin County Prosecutor Jack Huber at:  jhuber@ELGIN.ca

The Province of Ontario announced a stay at home order for six (6) weeks starting on April 8, 2021. 

Residents are encouraged to look to health officials for information about COVID-19. Locally, this is Southwestern Public Health .

By-Law 20-38 – Face Covering By-Law

At a Special Meeting held on August 6, 2020 County Council enacted a by-law to make face coverings mandatory in enclosed public spaces in Elgin County. For more information and a copy of the By-law visit www.elgincounty.ca/masks

Additional Resources:

Elgin County COVID-19 Information

Southwestern Public Health, Ministry of Health & Other Resources:

Southwestern Public Health’s Medical Officer of Health has new advice for household members of symptomatic people awaiting COVID-19 test results: stay home. 

Over the past nine months we have seen community division about the best way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This division is not surprising. We each approach challenges from different educational, religious, political, and familial perspectives. Our ways of seeing the world are held deeply within us, and in times of stress, we hold on tighter to what we believe to be true.

We are writing this letter because we believe we need to conserve our energy for the long months ahead, rather than spend it in disagreement. More. 

Find more information about the Orange – Restrict Tier of the COVID-19 Framework and what this means for the Southwestern Public Health Region.

Follow these provincial guidelines if you choose to celebrate Halloween this year. 

Ontario Limits the Size of Unmonitored and Private Social Gatherings across Entire Province. Click here for details. 

Please click here to access SWPH’s COVID-19 School Support. 

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