No lockdown yet as Windsor-Essex remains in 'red' tier of shutdown framework
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Ontario government confirmed Windsor-Essex will not be moving into a lockdown next week.
A news release from the province on Friday said the region remain in the ‘Red-Control’ tier of the Ontario shutdown framework.
That’s exactly what medical officer of health for Windsor-Essex Dr. Wajid Ahmed said he was hoping for.
Ahmed said in Friday’s news briefing he wanted the region to stay at the current level for the next week.
“I am hoping there will not be any changes in where we are right now,” said Ahmed. “To my understanding I’m not expecting any change.”
Ahmed says he did not have a direct conversation with Ontario chief medical officer Dr. David Williams Thursday, but did pass along Windsor’s numbers to the province and exchange some communications.
The province announced Nov. 3 that all Ontario public health unit regions will be categorized into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Grey-Lockdown.
The full guidelines for each tier are outlined in Ontario's COVID-19 Response Framework.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford usually makes announcements about the shutdown framework and which regions are moving on Fridays.
Ford is expected to be at the inaugural meeting of the vaccine task force at 1 p.m. Friday, so he will not hold his daily press conference.
The province did however issue a news release, saying only three regions would be changing levels. Middlesex-London Health Unit and Thunder Bay District Health Unit are moving to orange and Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is moving to yellow.
Windsor-Essex has advanced rapidly through the stages. The region started at green, moved to yellow on Nov. 16, advanced to orange on Nov. 23 and then to red on Monday.
“We would like to see the results of the red zone before we move on to any other criteria at this time,” said Ahmed.
As outlined by the province, a lockdown would mean the closure of malls, hair salons and gyms. Retail stores and restaurants would have to shift to curbside pickup and drive-thru options. Schools would remain open.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 65 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. There are 424 active cases. WECHU says 27 people are in the hospital and seven are in the ICU.
Windsor-Essex is ranked fourth in the province for new cases per 100,000 people.