Health official says second lockdown not being ruled out after COVID-19 numbers spike in Mississauga

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At a November 12 conference, Peel's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Lawrence Loh, raised further concerns over the rise of COVID-19 cases in Peel and discussed the possibility of broad closures and another lockdown should the region not see a flattening or decrease in case numbers soon.

“This week, the Region of Peel reported its highest ever number of cases seen since the start of our pandemic in our community,” said Loh.

According to Loh, it was noted on Tuesday (November 10) that there were 466 cases of COVID-19 in the Region of Peel, 280 of which were in the City of Brampton.

“At these case levels, contact tracing is becoming increasingly fraught,” said Loh.

“This means that we are deep in our community’s second wave. Until now, there have been lots of questions about what’s open and what’s closed. That time is long past. We are now seeing widespread community transmission in the City of Brampton and in Peel.”

Loh further emphasized that in order to have a balanced approach, it requires focus to deal with the immediate threat of COVID-19 in order to stabilize and drive down incidences so that the region can safely reopen.

This statement follows the Region of Peel’s recent announcement regarding additional restrictions, such as social gatherings not being allowed beginning Friday, November 13 until its next reassessment in 14 days.

Loh has also recently been expressing his concerns regarding hospital capacity in Peel amid the second wave of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, a statement was made by Premier Doug Ford at a recent conference where he mentioned he wasn’t “ruling out” another province-wide lockdown.

When asked by reporters what his thoughts were on another hypothetical lockdown, Loh said he would “certainly not rule it out.”

“We are very tenuously on a knife’s edge here in the Region of Peel,” Loh told reporters.

“I think our numbers, our test positivity, the situation in our hospitals and the overwhelming of our contact tracing capacity certainly leaves much to be desired in terms of our picture,” he said, adding that the most important thing is to ensure that the region gets this under control by taking measures clearly.

In a statement, Peel Public Health said it will be watching case counts closely over the next seven to 10 days. 

“Peel Public Health continues to monitor the growing number of cases with alarm and recognizes that should we not see a flattening or decrease in the coming 7-10 days, that additional measures may need to be added, including the possibility of broad closures. Any such decision would be taken by the province under their new framework.”

Under the province’s new colour-coded classification, regions in lockdown would experience restrictions similar to those imposed in the spring. Should Peel go into lockdown, all non-essential businesses will close and gathering limits will be restricted further. 

Loh further pointed out that the picture Peel is seeing now, reflects largely on the picture from 10 to 14 days ago because that is the time frame where people who were subsequently sick were incubating.

“I certainly would not rule it out,” said Loh in regard to the possibility of another lockdown.

“I’m just recognizing that at this point in our community and at where we are going, it is something that we need to think about in terms of what it might look like; how it might look like if we were to move to something like a circuit breaker or a broader closure again.”

“So, not something to rule out, certainly something to keep thinking very tenuously and carefully and be ready to act if the numbers do point a certain way.”

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