Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott attends the Ontario-Quebec Summit, in Toronto, on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott attends the Ontario-Quebec Summit, in Toronto, on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Further lockdowns in Ontario possible if COVID-19 cases continue to increase

Premier Doug Ford is urging people to continue to follow public health guidelines to slow the spread of the virus

Premier Doug Ford says more regional lockdowns could be coming as the province reports a spike in COVID-19 cases for the fourth consecutive day.

Ford says the recent increases in virus rates is of concern and the government could take additional action to close down hard-hit areas of Ontario.

He says he believes a second wave is coming and the province will introduce a fall plan to address the virus in the coming days.

The province reported 313 new cases of COVID-19 today, a level not seen in Ontario since early June.

Ford urged people to continue to follow public health guidelines to slow the spread of the virus.

He says social gatherings where people are not respecting those guidelines continue to be a main source of infection.

The head of the province’s hospital association also issued a warning on Monday that the increasing COVID-19 infection rates could plunge Ontario into a second lockdown.

Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale said that infection rate increases in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa could spread to the rest of the province if people don’t respect public health guidelines.

Some Ontario residents have been lulled into a false sense of security and they must practise physical distancing, wear masks when required, and neither host nor attend unsafe gatherings and parties, he said.

“If current trends continue to accelerate, economic restrictions may tighten once more, and the school year for our children will be in jeopardy,” Dale said in a statement.

Dale said he was making the request on behalf of the province’s hospital staff who are the anchor of Ontario’s pandemic response.

“We implore the people of Ontario to strictly adhere to the public health measures that helped bring wave one under control and allowed Ontario to re-open its economy,” he said.

The total number of cases in Ontario now stands at 44,817, which includes 2,816 deaths and 39,974 cases classified as resolved.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said that nearly 80 per cent of Ontario’s cases are from three regions.

She said Toronto is reporting 112 cases, 71 in Peel and 60 in Ottawa.

Elliott said that almost 70 per cent of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40.

Ontario reported two new cases of COVID-19 in schools, one in Mississauga and one in Pembroke, Ont., according to the government’s website.

Four school boards also reported new cases of the novel coronavirus not posted on the government page. Halton District School Board had two new cases, according to its COVID-19 advisory page.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s legislature returns to Queen’s Park for its fall session on Monday, but with the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting daily life, the Progressive Conservative government’s house leader said it will not be business as usual.

Paul Calandra said the legislature will continue to respect public health rules while returning to its regular four-day-a-week schedule for proceedings.

He said the government will be focused in the coming weeks on the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, school reopenings, and the health-care system.

Calandra says Ontario’s 2020-2021 budget — which was delayed by the pandemic — will be delivered on Nov. 15.

The government is also expected to table a formal report on the state of emergency declared by the province earlier this year in response to the pandemic.

Calandra said the government is also leaving itself leeway in the legislative schedule in case it needs to introduce additional legislation to address COVID-19 this fall.

“We’re seeing the (COVID-19 case) numbers are creeping up so if we get into a second wave, we want to be able to react quickly,” Calandra said in an interview. ”Should time be needed on the legislative schedule to pass bills, we’re building that in.”

In March, the Progressive Conservative government said its deficit would reach $20.5 billion by the end of 2020-2021. But in August, Finance Minister Rod Phillips said that due to billions more in spending required by the ongoing pandemic, the number is set to reach $38.5 billion.

Calandra said the government will ensure the health-care system gets needed funding and that small and medium-sized businesses also receive support this fall.

“Even for hard-core fiscal conservatives like me, we know that this is a time when you make investments for people … but at the same time, you fix those areas that you can fix and improve your response,” he said. ”So, I think you’ll start to see a lot more of that.”

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The School District 71 DPAC hosted an online forum for candidates hoping to fill a vacant board of education position. Screenshot, SD71 DPAC Facebook page
Six make their pitch to fill empty school board seat in Comox Valley

District’s parents advisory council hosted the online forum for Area C candidates

Many of the static aircraft displays are decorated in thousands of lights for almost the entire month of December at the airpark on Military Row in Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
VIDEO: Christmas lights on display at 19 Wing airpark

Per COVID-19 rules, viewing of the display is strongly encouraged by vehicle and not exiting the car

GP Vanier grad Samantha Rebitt has earned the 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal, with an academic average of 99.8 per cent. Photo supplied
GP Vanier announces its 2020 Governor General’s Academic Medal winner

Samantha Rebitt had a near-perfect 99.8 per cent academic average

The suspect in a Nov. 22 attempted robbery at the Ryan Road 7-Eleven has been arrested. Photo supplied
Courtenay man arrested in connection with attempted robbery at 7-Eleven

A 19-year old Courtenay man has been arrested following an attempted robbery… Continue reading

The Nov. 20 WestJet flight 3171 has been identified by the BC Centre for Disease Control with a COVID case aboard. (Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 exposure reported on a fifth flight at Comox airport

Another exposure risk from flight originating in Calgary

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Letter to the editor.
LETTER – Horgan’s election promise of COVID relief cash is money foolishly spent

Dear editor, Would you dip into your child’s registered education fund to… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Most Read