Premier Doug Ford says that York Region is “teetering right now” amid a rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Ford made the comment during his regular briefing at Queen’s Park on Thursday, noting that he planned to meet with members of his health command table later this afternoon to discuss whether there is a need for additional restrictions in the region, similar to those already introduced in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa.
“We have a meeting, the minister and I, later this afternoon but yeah York is teetering right now,” he said. “They have been teetering for a little while so we just have to be careful.”
York Region has reported an average of 76 new daily cases of COVID-19 over the last week but the numbers appear to be on the upswing.
On Thursday, there were 127 new cases confirmed in York Region, which was the third most in Ontario behind only Toronto (239 cases) and Peel (136 cases). But when you adjust for population those 127 cases represent a rate of infection higher than that what was seen in both Toronto and Peel over the last 24 hours with about 11 new cases for every 100,000 people.
Speaking with reporters, Ford conceded that the numbers are “concerning” but he didn’t comment on whether further restrictions could be coming for the region, only saying that public health officials are “keeping a close eye” on the situation.
However, in a subsequent briefing Ontario’s Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe hinted that new restrictions could be coming for both York and Halton Region, where there has also been an uptick in cases.
“I would say we are concerned particularly about York and Halton given the numbers that we are seeing We are working very hard to bring forward recommendations to government as soon as possible for a decision regarding those areas,” she said.
Last Friday, the province suspending indoor dining serving in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel for a 28-day period and ordered the closure of gyms, casinos and cinemas.
Since then, Ford has repeatedly indicated that he won’t hesitate to put other regions back into a modified version of Stage 2 if necessary but he has also said that he is “praying” that it won’t come to that.
“Everybody just keep following the protocols and let’s get these numbers down because I will tell you it is painful doing what we had to do last week. It really weighs on you," he said earlier this week.