COVID-19: Ontario reports 712 new cases, 108 in Ottawa

COVID-19: Ontario reports 712 new cases, 108 in Ottawa

The announcement comes as no surprise to York Region medical officer of health Dr. Karim Kurji, who said yesterday that with the most recent escalation in COVID-19 cases in York Region - it saw the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began with 128 cases confirmed October 14 - the region had moved from "orange zone" to "red zone".

While the number of people in hospital across the province is well below the 1,000-plus peak in May, it is still of concern because hospitalizations lag new cases by several weeks.

Ford told reporters that despite today's numbers, "indicators are going in the wrong direction".

"Protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians is and always will be our government's top priority", said Health Minister Christine Elliott.

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York Region joins Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa for the next 28 days effective Monday morning.

"This was not an easy decision to make and I know this will be very, very hard for many people to hear but we can't allow this virus to get into our long-term care homes".

Ford said it does not collect or store personal information.

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Scarpitti also said that the city will no longer be offering fitness activities at the Markham Pan Am Centre as a result of the new restrictions.

"I'm encouraging people to order takeout, but we've got to be fair (to the restaurants)", he said.

The province is urging people in hotspot communities to avoid businesses in Stage 3 regions.

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Public Health Measures Table, local medical officers of health and other health experts, the Ontario government is introducing additional health measures for York Region.

As these hard but necessary public health measures come at a significant cost to small businesses, Ontario announced $300 million available to assist significantly affected businesses with fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills and support them through its Main Street Recovery Plan.

After the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a report Thursday detailing the economic challenges facing his government, Ford confirmed the province will not be back in black by 2023-24 as projected in the 2019 budget.

"We are working very hard to bring forward recommendations to government as soon as possible for a decision regarding those areas", she said.

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