TORONTO — Ontario’s premier is defending the lifting of a stay-home order for the majority of the province’s regions today despite warnings it could lead to a third wave.
Premier Doug Ford says the government won’t hesitate to use an “emergency brake” to swiftly move regions back into lockdown if COVID-19 cases spike.
Twenty-seven regions have returned today to the colour-coded pandemic restrictions system that was used prior to a provincewide lockdown that began on Boxing Day.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Ford is ignoring the advice of medical experts who have warned of a possible third wave if stay-at-home orders don’t remain in place.
Niagara Region is the only region that moved to the strictest grey-lockdown category of the restrictions system today, which allows most businesses to open at 25 per cent capacity.
The rest of the regions, most of them outside the Greater Toronto Area, fall elsewhere along the scale that moves from red — the second-most strict level — through green, with lighter restrictions on businesses and gatherings at each stage.
Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and North Bay Parry Sound are set to remain under the stay-at-home order until at least Feb. 22.
Three health units — Hastings Prince Edward; Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and Renfrew County — returned to the green category of the system last week.
Ontario reported 904 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
The province also logged 964 cases for Monday that were not reported earlier due to the Family Day holiday.
Thirteen more deaths from the virus were reported Tuesday, and there were also 13 recorded Monday.
The province said 742 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, with 292 in intensive care and 201 on ventilators.
More than 57,300 tests were completed over Feb. 14 and Feb. 15.
The province says 10,679 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered yesterday, for a total of 467,626 given out so far.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021.