Sunday, 28 February, 2021

Ontario to announce decision on COVID-19 hot spot restrictions

Gustavo Carr | 20 February, 2021, 06:54

The COVID-19 hot spots of Toronto and Peel Region, as well as a northern community dealing with a spike in cases, will remain under a stay-at-home order for at least two more weeks, the Ontario government said Friday.

"These are hard but necessary decisions, in order to protect against COVID-19 variants and maintain the progress we have all made together", Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement.

The decision followed calls from Toronto and Peel to keep strict measures in place to prevent more illness and death.

The Progressive Conservative government has been loosening health measures across the province this month despite predictions that doing so could set off a third wave of infections.

"What happened in York Region is political entirely", Grinspun said.

"While the health indicators have improved enough to allow us to return an additional region to the Framework, we are not yet at the point where we can safely transition back the remainder of the province".

Lambton Public Health region meanwhile is moving from the Orange-Restrict level to the Red-Control level as a result worsening public health trends in the region over the past week.

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AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Paul Walker said area residents should prepare before the weather gets worse. As the night goes on, some data sources show that it all transitions to rain by Thursday morning.

Markham, Ont., Mayor Frank Scarpitti said he's asking the region's top doctor to further limit social gatherings and capacity for businesses and close all sports facilities while the region assess the impact of virus variants.

Ontario expects to start immunizing people over the age of 80 in early March, after residents, caregivers, and workers at long-term-care homes have received their second doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

"Our Vaccine Task Force, led by General Hillier, is executing our vaccine distribution plan with military precision and we have now administered over a half a million doses".

Primary physicians may begin that outreach while an online booking system and service desk for appointments are still in development.

The province continues to expand capacity and ramp up efforts for Phase Two of its vaccination rollout, expected to begin in April 2021.

Phase One of the vaccine rollout focused on high-risk populations, including residents of long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes and First Nations elder care homes.

Ontario confirmed 1,150 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, after 1,038 infections were reported on Thursday.