Lockdown 2.0: Windsor-Essex could face more restrictions
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WINDSOR, ONT. -- As the number of new COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex reach record highs, the medical officer of health is looking for more ways to stop the spread of the virus, including the possibility of more lockdown restrictions.
WECHU reported a record-breaking 243 new cases on Friday – the highest single day total in the region since the pandemic began in March.
The region has been in the ‘Grey-Lockdown’ level of Ontario’s shutdown framework since Monday, closing indoor dining at restaurants, gyms, hair salons, non-essential stores at malls and placing more restrictions on gatherings.
Here’s the full list of lockdown restrictions.
Windsor-Essex medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed says more needs to be done.
“Right now with these current restrictions, there are still many people that are out,” says Ahmed.
Ahmed says they have put in a number of recommendations forward, but they are waiting for the province.
“They are calling it a lockdown, but it’s not really a lockdown,” says Ahmed.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford held an emergency meeting with Ontario health officials on Friday. He says the lockdowns for Toronto and Peel Region will be extended. The premier also says he will be hosting another emergency meeting over the weekend and will announce any further COVID-19 measures on Monday 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."
Ahmed said he hopes the province will make some significant changes to the current guidelines.
“The key part still is when you have this much wide-spread transmission you need almost like a reset button,” says Ahmed. “You want to reset everything. You want to say ok everyone go back to where you were and then we start to get back to the way life should be in a controlled way.”
The per cent positivity rate is five per cent in Windsor-Essex, that is second highest in the province behind Peel Region.
Ahmed says the case rate is three times higher than the first wave.
He says it’s too soon to see the impact of the lockdown measures and he expects at least another week of high case counts.
Ahmed issued orders last week to close Windsor-Essex schools to students and switch to online learning for the last week before winter break.
“Since the lockdown was implemented we have looked at what additional measures we can put forward as you have seen the school is an important measure,” says Ahmed.
Students are set to return to the classroom on Jan.4, but Ahmed said an extension of the order is possible. He says schools can reopen “as soon as we have our case rate at a manageable level.”
Under the provincial guidelines, schools are permitted to remain open in a lockdown, unless otherwise directed by the local medical officer of health.
With files from CTVNewsToronto.ca.