Ontario to Take 4 Week Pause on Reopening Plans As COVID-19 Cases Spike Across the Province

During the province’s daily press conference, Premier Doug Ford joined Health Minister Christine Elliott and Education Minister Stephen Lecce as the province announced it will be pausing any further steps in its reopening plan as daily COVID-19 cases spike in the province.

Health Minister Christine Elliott made the announcement today saying that the “latest trend in numbers have raised some concerns, especially as we begin to reopen schools and post-secondary institutions”.

As such the provincial government has decided that Ontario will take a “pause of four weeks” before the province will consider any further loosening of public health measures or further reopening of businesses, facilities, or organizations in addition to the Stage 3 reopening plan.

According to the Ontario Health Minister, the province based their decision on the advice from Ontario’s top doctor including the Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the public health measure table.

“We did not make this decision lightly,” said Health Minister Christine Elliot during the press conference from Queen’s Park Toronto.

“We are really concentrating on getting all of our students back to school safely and having them remain healthy but the reality is that spread in the community will also likely mean spread in the schools, so we need to limit the spread in the community as much as possible.”

The province’s decision to pause further loosening of restrictions means that Ontario will not be considering expanding social circle limits, expanding gathering sizes, and any other greater increases in the number of people allowed to attend events for at least four weeks.

“We want to keep the community transmission very low so that it won’t get into our schools so our children will be safe,” said the Ontario Health Minister.

Ontario’s COVID-19 Update as of Tuesday, September 9th, 2020

As of Tuesday, the province reported 185 new cases of COVID-19 marking the 13th day in a row in which the number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario has surpassed 100.

The last time the new case count dropped into the double-digits mark was on August 26, 2020.

Since the start of the week, Ontario has recorded as many as 375 new COVID-19 cases with 190 new cases on Monday and the 185 cases that were reported from today.

According to the latest epidemiology report, More than half of the new cases appear to have been in the Greater Toronto Area.

Of the 190 cases reported on Monday, 57 were in Peel Region, 60 were in Toronto, and 17 were in York Region. Durham Region logged two cases and Halton Region recorded another five new cases.

Ottawa, a region that has already seen positive cases of COVID-19 at five schools, reported 28 new cases.

On Tuesday, health officials reported that 42 of the 185 new COVID-19 cases were in Peel Region while 48 were in Toronto and 19 were in York Region.

Ottawa logged an additional 37 infections.

Amid the growing number of new COVID-19 cases, Premier Ford was asked if the province is considering reverting some regions to Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan.

Commenting on the matter, Premier Ford said that Ontario is not at the point yet where it needs to revert to Stage 2, however, the Premier said he will continue to consult with Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams.

“We aren’t there yet,” said Premier Ford. “But if it just keeps creeping and creeping and people are ignoring the guidelines and the protocols – come on guys, we have gone through everything together as a team and you can’t let your guard down now.”

Speaking to the press from Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce called the growing COVID-19 caseload concerning, saying that everyone needs to “redouble” their efforts on physical distancing and hand hygiene.

“In the context of flu season and a possible second wave, we cannot lose focus,” he said.

Health Minister Christine Elliott also took the time to remind residents in Ontario to follow public health advice in response to the growing uptick in new COVID-19 cases and that everyone should do their part in the effort to reduce the spread of the virus.

“We are once again asking all Ontarians to please follow public health advice. Continue to practice physical distancing, wear face coverings, practice good hand hygiene, stay within and protect your social circles and quarantine when returning from outside of Ontario.”

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