Last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that starting at 12:01 am on Dec. 26, 2020, Halton Region would officially be going into lockdown along with the entire province.
While Southern Ontario is slated to experience a 28-day (at minimum) shutdown, Northern Ontario will face a 14-day (at a minimum) shutdown.
When asked whether the lockdown could extend past January, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told Khaled Iwamura from inhalton.com that “it depends.”
“As you know, the Halton mayors, myself included, have fought lockdown for as long as possible because our health indicators, which is how you make the decision about the lockdown, were completely different than their ‘hot spot’ regions and still are,” said Meed Ward.
“It didn’t make a whole lot of sense to us to lock us down because numbers were escalating around us,” she said, adding that numbers are still much lower in Halton.
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While Meed Ward acknowledged the argument that people would come to Halton to visit and shop despite being locked down in other areas, she emphasized the fact that their numbers are still nowhere near the case counts.
“The big game-changer for me and what changed my mind was the hospital capacity issue,” said Meed Ward.
According to the Mayor, after speaking with the president and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital, they discussed the fact that hospital capacity was going to be required if ‘hot spots’ around Halton were increasing.
As of this week, Joseph Brant Hospital’s (JBH) Pandemic Response Unit (PRU), which is the first of its kind in Ontario, welcomed its first COVID-19 patients as a response to the ongoing pandemic.
As for whether Halton will remain in lockdown past Jan. 24, Meed Ward confirmed it’s dependant on how the situation is looking in surrounding areas.
“It really depends on what’s happening around us,” she said.