Ontario could revert back to some Stage 1 restrictions in COVID-19 hotspots, official says
TORONTO -- As Ontario's COVID-19 cases surge, the province said it may be forced to impose more restrictions from Stage 2 and even Stage 1 in order to slow the spread of disease in particular hotspots.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the province will take a targeted and regional approach if a decision is made to force more businesses to close.
According to Williams, that means the province will use local COVID-19 data to determine what areas of the economy are contributing to the spread of the disease.
"It's not just a repeat of Stage 2," Williams said. "It may be similar to Stage 2, but applied with a more methodical metric and going at it in a way that's backed up by local data."
When Ontario moved into Stage 2, hair salons, malls and outdoor dining were allowed to reopen. These businesses opened in June after a months-long closure.
Williams said Thursday, if it's necessary, he will also apply some measures from Stage 1.
"We will even go back to some areas there if it's necessary," Williams said. "Even if they (businesses) were opened up after Stage 1 to 2, we might choose to close them down and leave other ones open."
"We have to be much more strategic and much more targeted and meticulous."
Williams said that any new measures would be introduced regionally in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the province's hotspots. He is still "strongly recommending" that Ontario does not close schools.
According to new COVID-19 modelling released on Wednesday, the number of new cases in Ontario is now doubling every 10 to 12 days. Ontario could record 1,000 new cases per day by mid-October.
Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that "some of the toughest days lay ahead" in the province's fight against COVID-19.
The modelling does not take into account the government's recent tightening of public health measures, which include slashing social gatherings, closing strip clubs and tougher restrictions on bars and restaurants.
Williams said Wednesday there are "more actions coming” to flatten the second wave.
Williams said in order to lessen the effect of the second wave, residents must again strictly follow public health rules.
"We need to pull up our socks," he said. "We can impact the curve."