Myriam Katwoman
Multi-platform writer, CTV News Toronto

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Colin Demello
Queens Park bureau chief and video journalist, CTV News Toronto

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Toronto –
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that the province will lower its COVID-19 color coding system thresholds, putting additional areas in the “red zone”, which will lower capacity limits for bars, restaurants and gyms.

The prime minister announced at a press conference on Friday, a day after the province released a new COVID-19 modeling, predicting that the province could see 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December

We need to be clear about what is at stake. “We are staring at the mouth of another lock,” Ford told reporters. “I wouldn’t hesitate for a second if we had to move forward because our first priority now is to lower those numbers.”

The government came under intense scrutiny from the district’s medical community, who argued that the threshold for entering the “red zone”, also known as the “control” phase, was too high – 100 cases per 100,000 people and a positive rate of 10 per cent

Thresholds are now changed, which means the ‘red zone’ will be triggered when the region reaches a weekly incidence of 40 cases per 100,000

The new threshold will push Halton, York and Hamilton into the “red zone” starting Monday, reducing capacity limits for bars, restaurants and gyms while allowing them to remain open, unless the local health official says otherwise.

Peel moved to the “red zone” last week and Toronto will join it on Saturday.

“We must do whatever it takes to slow the spread of this virus. We must do whatever it takes to prevent our hospitals from invading so we are here today to take action,” Ford said Friday, “We need to be flexible. We must always be prepared to change course as the situation evolves.”

According to recent regional data, the weekly incidence rate in Toronto is 81 per 100000, and Halton at 56 per 100000, and York at a rate of 55 per 100000 and Hamilton at 48 per 100000

Friday’s announcement was a direct response to new modeling data released by the government on Thursday, which showed that Ontario could see a spike in daily cases.

The data also showed that over the next two weeks, the county will likely exceed the intensive care threshold of 150 beds, under any possible scenario.

Other areas are also shifting from the original color naming. Brant County, Durham, Niagara, Wellington, Dufferin Guelph, and Waterloo will all move to “orange” or “restriction”, where indoor restaurants and gyms will be allowed to reopen with minor modifications.

The weekly infection rate in these regions should be between 25 to 399 cases per 100,000 people The test-positive rate should be between 13 and 24 percent, down from 25 and 99 percent

The Southwest Public Health Unit, Huron-Perth, Middlesex-London, Sudbury, Windsor-Essex will move from the “Green Zone” to the “Yellow Zone” or “Protection Zone” “

In this category, the district will promote targeted enforcement, fines, and education to reduce transmission. Additional public health measures are required in high-risk settings, such as restaurants, gyms, and cinemas

Areas classified as protection will now have a weekly incidence of between 10 to 249 per 100,000 people. The test-positive rate should be between 05 and 12 percent, down from 25 percent.

“The modeling I see now is not the modeling I saw nine days ago and Ford said on Friday that what I saw nine days and ten days ago was from 950 to 1,200 cases,” I can assure you that if I saw 6,500 cases 10 days ago, I wouldn’t be here today to say What we say

“These adjustments are necessary to respond to the latest evidence and we may need to make more adjustments in the future.”

Ford advised residents living in “red areas” to limit trips outside their homes except for the most basic reasons, and advised people to avoid visiting homes outside of their homes.

Ford said he asked Medical Director of Health Dr. David Williams to take another close look at the restrictions, and come back next week with his advice if further steps are needed.

“We can change the course. We can bend the curve and control this virus. We all have a role to play,” Ford said. “Each of us has a role to play in preventing the lockdown.

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Source: https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-lowers-thresholds-for-covid-19-framework-moves-several-cities-to-red-zone-1.5187457