Ontario to announce decision on pandemic restrictions for COVID-19 hot spots today


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Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

You’ll be able to watch it live in this story.


Ontario is set to announce today whether it will lift a stay-at-home order and other restrictions for COVID-19 hotspots next week, as public health units reported another 1,150 cases of the illness.

The province said earlier this month that it planned to roll back the order and move Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and North Bay to its tiered pandemic restrictions system on Tuesday.

But the top doctors for Toronto and Peel have asked for that to be delayed until at least March 9 because of the presence of variant strains of the virus in their communities.

Ontario’s chief medical officer was to provide advice to the government Thursday night based on the latest COVID-19 data.

Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet is set to discuss the matter and announce a decision later today.

Ford hinted Thursday that the province may grant the request made by Toronto and Peel, which logged 376 and 264 more cases of COVID-19 in today’s update from the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, York Region reported another 108 cases.

Public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Ottawa: 73
  • Hamilton: 43
  • Durham Region: 41
  • Waterloo Region: 41
  • Halton Region: 37
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 23
  • Windsor-Essex: 22
  • Niagara Region: 17
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 17
  • Thunder Bay: 15
  • Eastern Ontario: 12

(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.)

Ontario’s lab network completed 65,372 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and recorded a test positivity rate of 2.1 per cent, the lowest since Oct. 16 of last year.

The number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals dropped to 689, down from 758 the day before, and the fewest since early December. Of those, 269 were being treated in intensive care and 190 required a ventilator to breathe, according to the Ministry of Health. 

The province administered 16,967 doses of vaccines yesterday, the most on any single day since the immunization campaign began. A total of 217,715 people in Ontario have received both doses of a vaccine and are fully immunized.

Public health units also reported another 47 deaths of people with COVID-19, bringing the province’s official toll to 6,820.

Read more at CBC.ca