Premier Doug Ford says Ontario will lower the threshold on its colour-coded COVID-19 restrictions framework and move Hamilton, Halton, and York regions to level red, joining the Peel region, due to an increase in new infections.
Ford made the announcement Friday together with province’s health minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams at Queen’s Park.
The changes for the Hamilton, Halton, and York regions will come into effect on Nov. 16 at 12.01 a.m., with the exception of Toronto, which will move to the red zone on Nov. 14 at 12.01 a.m.
The announcement comes after Elliott updated the government with the latest modelling showing that Ontario could hit over 6,000 new cases by mid-December.
“These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence we’re seeing and we are prepared to make further adjustments as the health experts continue to review the current public health restrictions,” Ford said. “We must do whatever it takes to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed and protect our most vulnerable.”
The government says the changes will help limit the spread of COVID-19 while keeping schools open and avoiding broader lockdowns.
As for the rest of the public health regions, Elliott said Brant, Durham, Eastern Ontario, Niagara, Ottawa, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin, and Guelph will move into the orange level.
Haldimand, Huron Perth, Middlesex, Sudbury, Simcoe, Southwestern and Windsor-Essex will be in the yellow zone.
The assignment of the current levels will last for a minimum of 28 days or two incubation periods, depending on the situation assessed by Ontario’s health official.
Ontario reported 1,396 new confirmed cases as of Nov. 12, with 440 in the Peel region, 440 in Toronto, 155 in York, and 55 in Halton.
All other public health regions in Ontario reported less than 50 new cases.