TORONTO – “We are staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” says Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We can’t become complacent, please don’t lose hope”.
“Never so much in a generation has so much depended on us coming together as a people and as a province,” added Ford.
The province is putting in place new guidelines, asking people in the “Red Zone” to restrict trips from their homes to work, school, shopping for groceries, and exercising.
Deputy Premier Elliott said, “By making adjustments, by lowering the thresholds, and in consultation with medical officers of health the following changes are coming:
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Public Health Measures Table, the Ontario government is taking immediate action to respond to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases and is updating the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework, by lowering the thresholds for each level in the framework. These necessary updates will help limit the spread of COVID-19 while keeping schools open, maintaining health system capacity, protecting the province’s most vulnerable, and avoiding broader lockdowns.
“Our number one priority right now is getting the numbers down and keeping people safe. That’s why, on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we’re updating the framework with new thresholds so we can slow the spread of this virus,” said Premier Ford. “These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we’re seeing and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions. We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable.”
The latest modelling shows that if the number of new cases continues to grow at its current rate, the province could register up to 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December. Within the next two weeks the province will likely exceed its intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any potential scenario.
The framework changes are in response to the current data and trends, and will lower the threshold for each of the five levels for: weekly incidence rates, positivity rate, effective reproductive number (Rt), outbreak trends and the level of community transmission. Based on these new thresholds, the following public health unit regions would be moved to the following levels in the framework:
- Hamilton Public Health Services
- Halton Region Public Health
- Toronto Public Health
- York Region Public Health
- Brant County Health Unit
- Durham Region Health Department
- Eastern Ontario Health Unit
- Niagara Region Public Health
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
- Region of Waterloo Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Middlesex-London Health Unit
- Public Health Sudbury & Districts
- Southwestern Public Health
- Huron Perth Public Health
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
Please visit Ontario.ca/COVID19 for the full list of pub lic health region classifications that will come into effect as of Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. Toronto Public Health will move into the framework on Saturday, November 14, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
For long-term care homes, visitor restrictions will apply to public health regions within the Orange-Restrict and Red-Control levels in the framework. This will go into effect on Monday, November 16, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.
“Over the last week we have seen an alarming shift in the trends of key public health indicators in regions across the province,” said Minister Elliott. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and our government’s response must evolve with it. These updates to the COVID-19 Framework will ensure that the necessary targeted measures are in place in hotspots to help stop the spread of the virus and keep our schools and businesses open. Protecting the health and well-being of Ontarians remains our top priority.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford accompanied by Health Minister Christine Elliott and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health are expected to announce new public-health measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Today’s update comes following provincial projections released that are warning that Ontario could see up to 6,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December.