Today, (Dec. 18) the province of Ontario released additional measures to help cope with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and announced that Brampton will remain in lockdown until Jan. 4, 2021.
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local medical officers of health, the province is moving six public health regions to new levels per the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework.
Peel Public Health and Toronto Public Health will remain in the Grey-Lockdown level after assessing trends in key public health indicators and will be re-assessed on January 4, 2021.
Additionally, five public health regions will be moved to levels with stronger public health measures, including moving the City of Hamilton Public Health Services to Grey-Lockdown. One public health region will be moving to a lower level.
“With public health indicators continuing to worsen in Toronto and Peel, we are making the difficult but necessary decision to extend public health measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, protect our hospital capacity and safeguard the key services we rely on,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
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“With the first vaccines administered to our frontline health care workers this week, the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day. However now more than ever we are urging everyone to continue following public health measures and advice, especially over the holiday season.”
Since Peel and Toronto were moved into Grey-Lockdown almost four weeks ago, there has been a continued and concerning increase in the public health indicators in both regions.
Peel saw the case rate increase by 8.6 per cent to 199.1 cases per 100,000 people while Toronto saw an increase from 37.5 per cent to 127.5 cases per 100,000 people.
Hospitalizations have also risen by 54 per cent in Peel and by 40.9 per cent in Toronto, which has resulted in delays for surgeries and other procedures at several hospitals.
Positivity rates also remain well above the 2.5 per cent high-alert threshold, at 8.5 per cent in Peel and 5.8 per cent in Toronto.
The government and the Chief Medical Officer of Health are actively consulting with local medical officers of health and local communities in these regions to determine what additional measures are required.
Additionally, earlier today, Premier Doug Ford and Minister Elliott convened an emergency meeting with Dr. Williams and Ontario’s hospital leaders to discuss the next steps and to address the concerning trends in cases and hospital capacity in Ontario.
Based on the latest data, effective Monday, December 21, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the following public health regions will move from their current level in the framework to the following levels and will remain in lockdown until at least January 4, 2021.
City of Hamilton Public Health Services
Brant County Health Unit.
Niagara Region Public Health.
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health.
Timiskaming Health Unit.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
All other public health regions will remain at their current levels. Pl
“As the number of new cases in Ontario continue to rise, it is evident additional measures are needed in certain regions to stop the spread of the virus,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“The trends in key public health indicators in Peel and Toronto remain concerning and we have made the decision to keep them in the Grey-Lockdown level to ensure the continued safety of communities in the regions. We will continue to work closely with the local medical officers of health across the province.”
The province of Ontario will continue to monitor local trends of key public health indicators to determine if public health units should stay where they are or be moved into a different level.
Public health units will stay in their level for a minimum of 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods.
The government will then assess the impact of public health measures to determine if the public health unit should stay where they are or be moved to a different level.
The government is urging all Ontarians to continue following all required public health measures and advice as the holiday season approaches.
The public is encouraged to celebrate in person only with their immediate households and virtually with everyone else.
People who live alone may have exclusive close contact with one additional household to help prevent feelings of isolation as well as to mitigate negative mental health impacts.