Ontario set to extend COVID-19 lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region

TORONTO — The lockdowns in Toronto and Peel Region will not be expiring on Monday as both areas continue to grapple with a rise in COVID-19 infections, Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed.

The premier confirmed the news Friday ahead of an emergency meeting with Ontario health officials Friday to discuss the increasing spread of the disease in the province.

“In the areas that are locked down right now that are expiring on Monday, I can tell you they won’t be expiring,” Ford told reporters. “We are going to continue on with the lockdowns within those regions and will have additional information on Monday for the balance of the province.”

The news comes a day after Ontario recorded the most cases of COVID-19 in a single day with more than 2,400 infections logged and hospitalizations for the disease continue to climb.

As of Friday, there are 877 patients in hospital with COVID-19, with 261 patients being treated in intensive care. This sparked a call from the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) for “immediate action” to curb the spread of infection. 

In response, Ford said on Thursday he would not make a “snap decision” on whether to put more regions into a lockdown despite the calls by the OHA.

“There’s a lot of things to consider,” Ford told reporters at the time. “The worst thing we could do is rush up there and make a snap decision in a heartbeat. We have to make sure that if we do make this decision, is it going to be two weeks, is it going to be three weeks, is it going to be 28 days for a full cycle?”

But on Friday, the premier said he will be hosting another emergency meeting over the weekend and will announce any further COVID-19 measures on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.

“The trends we’re seeing throughout Ontario are very, very concerning,” Ford said. “I want to listen to what’s happening on the ground, within the hospitals, within ICU units.”

Toronto and Peel Region continue to report the highest number of new cases on a daily basis with infections regularly reaching the triple digits. Both regions are currently operating in the “grey zone” of the province’s framework which places restrictions on all non-essential activities. Those measures are set to expire on Monday. 

In weeks past, the province has issued a news release on Friday afternoons indicating which regions would move up or down the province’s lockdown framework.

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