With the latest reports of COVID-19 infections remaining low in most public health units, there is a chance that some regions of Ontario could soon be moving to Stage 3 of the province’s COVID-19 recovery and reopening plan.
After 3 Weeks, Is Ontario Getting Closer to Stage 3 of Reopening?
It has been nearly a month since a majority of regions in Ontario have been given the okay to move into Stage 2 of Ontario’s three-stage reopening plan.
With the greenlight for Stage 2, many shopping malls, hair salons, swimming pools, bar and restaurant patios were allowed to reopen with a requirement to follow the province’s public health safety measures such as allowing physical distancing of at least two meters.
Ontario’s Health Minister weighed in on the idea of moving to Stage 3 saying that “We hope to be able to move into the next stage as soon as possible,” in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s looking very good, but we still need another week’s data to inform the situation, and then decisions will be made about the opening of Stage 3,” said the Health Minister.
Currently, data from 24 public health units show that the spread of the virus remains largely contained except for public health units in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Niagara, Windsor-Essex, and the Lambton and Haldiman-Norfolk area.
However, more than half of Ontario’s 34 public health units have reported fewer than 10 active cases, with as many as fifteen public health units reporting three or fewer active cases.
As such, Health Minister Christine Elliot said that provincial-level discussions are currently taking place regarding when Ontario can announce Stage 3 of reopening.
She further said that the decisions to be made include which parts of the province will be moving ahead and which measures would be relaxed.
Premier Doug Ford emphasized the importance of public health safety in any decision that would be made about moving certain regions into Stage 3 of reopening.
“We have to do it safely,” said the Premier.
“We will do it safely, and we’re going to do it in steps as we did before. We just have to continue seeing the numbers go in the right direction.”
Ontario COVID-19 Update: Province Reports 302 New COVID-19 Cases in the Past 2 Days
Although case numbers were not reported on Wednesday due to Canada Day, Ontario has reported 302 new cases of COVID-19 over the past two days.
This has brought the province’s total COVID-19 cases to 35,370 with as many as 2,680 deaths as eight new deaths have been confirmed since Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Long Term Care, there have been 1,817 resident deaths in long-term care homes with as many as forty-six homes currently experiencing an outbreak.
The Ministry also reported that there are 168 active cases among residents with as many as 289 among staff.
On a more positive note, the province currently has reported that 30,730 cases are considered resolved which makes up for 87 percent of all confirmed cases.
In other words, 87 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 resulted in recoveries.
Health Minister Christine Elliot announced on twitter that over 50,000 tests were processed over the past two days, which meant Ontario is closing in on more than 1.5 million COVID-19 tests completed.
It was estimated that if the testing levels were to remain the same throughout the week, the 1.5 million completed test mark could be reached by the end of this week.
COVID-19 Contact Tracing App Will Be Delayed
Last month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a new mobile COVID-19 contact tracing app was in the works and was scheduled for implementation across Ontario today.
However, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health says the province is still working with the federal government and the app is expected to launch sometime soon.
Ontario was set to be the first province to use the mobile contact tracing app titled “COVID-19 Alert” app with the remaining provinces and territories to implement the app at a later time.
The Bluetooth-based app will be voluntary and will notify its users based on several criteria including if they were within two metres of a person who tested positive for the virus.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassured Canadians in his first announcement of the app saying that the rest of Canada should be ready for downloading the COVID-19 Alert app later this summer.
Currently, Ontario has not given a new date for the app’s launch however hints that it will be available soon.
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