Decision expected by Monday on whether additional COVID-19 restrictions will be imposed on Halton, Durham

Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement with Health Minister Christine Elliott during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Thursday, September 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Premier Doug Ford says that he hopes to have an answer by Monday on whether certain regions of Ontario where COVID-19 case counts remain stubbornly high will be moved back into a modified version of Stage 2.

During a briefing on Friday afternoon, Ford was asked specifically about the spread of the virus in Halton Region and said that officials will be meeting this weekend to discuss whether additional restrictions are needed there.

Ford, however, later clarified that officials would also be discussing other parts of the province where there has been a rise in cases, including Durham.

Durham and Halton are currently the only parts of the GTA that remain in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan.

Over the last week, Halton Region has reported an average of 30 new cases a day while Durham has reported an average of 33 new cases a day.

Halton’s seven-day average is actually down slightly from one week prior when it was 32 but Durham’s is up 27 per cent.

"Well we are going to discuss all the different regions that we see a little escalation in the cases and we will be able to discuss that on Monday and give you a clearer answer, but again please just keep practicing social distancing, hand washing and face masking,” Ford said during the briefing.

The Ford government initially moved Toronto, Peel and Ottawa back into a modified version of Stage 2 on Oct. 10, ordering the suspension of indoor dining at bars and restaurants and the outright closure of gyms, movie theatres and casinos. It then did the same for York Region one week later, citing a positivity rate that had moved past its’ “high alert” range of 2.5 per cent.

On Friday, Ford conceded that the cases in Halton Region “are concerning right now” and noted that he has already spoken with the mayors from the region. He did not directly address the cases in Durham but said that the region would also be the subject of weekend discussions.

“I know they are doing a great job, but it’s concerning right now, seeing the numbers going up again,” he said of Halton.