Province ponders request to delay openings in Mississauga and Brampton
Ontario's health minister says the province is carefully considering Peel Region's request to delay the loosening of restrictions in Mississauga and Brampton.
Christine Elliott says the province's top doctor will be looking at new pandemic data today that will inform his recommendation on what should be done for Peel Region and Toronto, the two COVID-19 hot spots that are seeking the two-week delay.
The Medical Officers of Health of both Peel and Toronto have told their provincial counterpart that lifting the stay-at-home order and other restrictions next week will lead to more death and illness.
Both Peel's Dr. Lawrence Loh and Toronto's Dr. Eileen de Villa want the pandemic measures to remain in place until at least March 9.
They say they are concerned by the threat posed by the more contagious variants of the virus and said hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are still too high.
Peel and Toronto are among four remaining Ontario regions that have yet to move from the stay-at-home order back to the province's the colour-coded pandemic restrictions system.
Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government has defended its decision to proceed with loosening restrictions for most of the province despite warnings it might set off a third wave.
The plea from Peel and Toronto come as daily cases of COVID-19 continue to fall across Ontario. But the concerns of health officials stem from the appearance of the variants.
Today (February 18), Ontario is recording 1,038 new cases. Peel Region is reporting 142 new cases, the third straight day the number has been below 200.
Numbers for other areas of Ontario are Toronto with 376 new cases, York Region with 122, Hamilton has 49 and Halton Region has 27.
Of the new cases, 14 have been linked to both the South African and United Kingdom variants for an Ontario total of 359 cases of the more contagious strains.
Other information released by the provincial government today shows 758 people are currently being treated in the hospital for
COVID-19. Of those hospitalized, 277 are in the intensive care unit while 192 require breathing assistance through a ventilator.
As well, 44 people in Ontario have died of COVID-19 in the last day, bringing the number of deaths caused by the virus to 6,773 since the beginning of the pandemic.
With files from The Canadian Press
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