Province allows Halton to enter Stage 2 of COVID-19 recovery
The Ontario Government announced Monday (June 15) it will allow more regions to enter Stage 2 of the COVID-19 reopening strategy; among them, Halton and Hamilton.
Beginning Friday (June 19), services such as restaurant patios, hair salons, and swimming pools will be allowed to resume operations under the direction of local health officials.
The Ontario government said its decision is based on positive trends of key public health indicators at the local level, including lower transmission of COVID-19, sufficient hospital health system capacity, local public health capacity to assist with rapid case and contact management, and a significant increase in testing provincially.
The public health unit regions allowed to move into Stage 2 are:
- Durham Region Health Department
- Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
- Halton Region Health Department
- Hamilton Public Health Services
- Lambton Health Unit
- Niagara Region Public Health Department
- York Region Public Health Services
The public health regions that will remain in Stage 1 are:
- Peel Public Health
- Toronto Public Health
- Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
Before opening, business owners will need to review the workplace safety guidelines and public health advice.
About 78 per cent of all active cases in the province are in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Meanwhile, Halton currently has seven COVD-19 cases per 100,000 residents and Hamilton has just under 12; which is significantly less than Toronto (40 per 100,000) and Peel (49 per 100,000).
“Thanks to the collective efforts of our frontline health care workers and the people in these regions to stop the spread of COVID-19, more businesses will be able to open their doors and thousands of people will be able to go back to work and put food on the table,” said Ontario Premier, Doug Ford.
“With the public health trends improving day by day across the province, I am hopeful all regions of Ontario will enter Stage 2 very soon.”
The government added that all Ontarians must continue to follow public health advice, including practising physical distancing, wearing a face-covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands frequently and thoroughly, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
“Opening more regions of Ontario is another positive sign that we are making steady progress in our collective efforts to contain this deadly virus,” said Minister of Health, Christine Elliott.
“As many more Ontarians begin to work, shop and interact with others, it’s never been more important that we continue to follow public health advice, especially physical distancing with anyone outside of our social circle, so we can soon successfully and safely move into Stage 3.”
Ontario reported 181 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, with the majority in Toronto and Peel Region.
Toronto added 85 new cases, with Peel adding 41, and all other regions reporting fewer than 10, including many with no new cases.
The total of 181 is the lowest number of new daily cases since late March. They bring the province to a total of 32,370, including 2,527 deaths--eight more than the previous day--and 27,213 resolved cases.
The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 dropped from 438 to 419, and the number of people on ventilators decreased as well, while intensive care rates remained stable.
Ontario completed 21,751 tests in the previous day, with Health Minister Christine Elliott noting that the falling number of new cases coincides with increased rates of testing, keeping the positivity rate at “all-time lows”.
The number of long-term care homes with active COVID-19 outbreaks rose by two since Sunday, to 69. Some homes that had previous outbreaks declared resolved have re-entered outbreak situations, including Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ont., where nearly half of the residents died due to COVID-19. It had been outbreak-free since mid-May.
Nearly 1,800 long-term care residents have died amid outbreaks, according to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, which is separate from the data on overall provincial case numbers.
With files from The Canadian Press
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