Ontario's COVID-19 hotspots are stepping down to a modified Stage Two for 28 days

province

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams says indoor dining, personal services like hair salons, and gyms, in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel must shut down for at least 28 days.

Cinemas, casinos, performing arts, interactive exhibits, and spectator racing must shut down in those areas as well.

The province has also reduced capacity in tour and guide services, real estate, meeting and event spaces have a reduced capacity to 10 people indoors, and 25 people outdoors. 

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto says the curve is getting steeper in Ontario.

Dr. Brown says there has been a growth in positive tests, and growth in positive tests in older people who are at higher risk.

Brown says the rate of positive COVID-19 tests for those over 60 is more than threefold higher than what it was at the end of August.

The vast majority of outbreaks is happening in community or workplaces settings, where people are indoors, it is difficult to wear masks consistently, and it is difficult to physically distance, says Dr. Brown. 

The lowest source of outbreaks, says Dr. Brown, is schools. He says children have the ability to transmit the virus, but it is generally under control in schools. 

Dr. Williams says that it why schools in hotspots will be staying open, while businesses are to close. 

Dr. Brown and Dr. Williams say much of the world is experiencing the second wave of COVID-19, but say Ontario can still get through it successfully.

If current trends continue, they say the province could experience "worst-case scenarios" seen in northern Italy and New York City earlier in the pandemic.

The new restrictions come as Ontario marked a record 939 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, most of them in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.
 

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