Simcoe Muskoka logs 32 new infections as Ontario mulls reopening earlier than planned

Simcoe Muskoka might shift into Ontario's first stage of its reopening earlier than planned.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said Thursday the province is "doing very well" decreasing cases of COVID-19, which could mean a push into Step 1 before June 14.

On Thursday, public health logged 32 new infections across Simcoe County and Muskoka.

Bradford and Innisfil lead the way with seven cases each. New Tecumseth has six, Barrie four, Adjala-Tosorontio and Gravenhurst each have two, and single cases were recorded in Bracebridge, Essa, Oro-Medonte and Clearview.

The region currently has 304 active infections and 25 hospitalizations.

Elliott said the province continues to follow the data, adding Ontario could move into Step 1 a few days early with cases trending downwards.

Simcoe Muskoka's medical officer of health said, "we're making excellent progress," with cases staying below 40 per day, a trend not reported since February.

Still, the health minister offered no definitive answer as to if or when the province might enter Step 1.

On Wednesday, the stay-at-home order ended, but restrictions remain in place under the emergency brake.

Outdoor gatherings are allowed up to five people, but non-essential shopping is still prohibited.

Residents can travel within the province to a secondary residence but are not allowed to host members of another household indoors, except for individuals living alone or a caregiver.

Additionally, restaurants and bars are still unable to welcome customers back, but can continue to offer take-out and delivery.

Personal care services are also in limbo until at least Step 2, which should happen 21 days after the province enters Step 1.

Related Article: What Simcoe Muskoka residents should know with end of stay-at-home order