Everyone wants to know when we will move into Stage 3 in Ontario and more information may be coming as early as next week.
Minister of Health Christine Elliot noted today that about a week’s worth of data from Stage 2 is still needed to assess the possibility of moving into Stage 3.
During today’s daily press briefing, she and Premier Doug Ford were asked by CityNews reporter Cynthia Mulligan about Stage 3 and the data from today that shows some regions reporting five or fewer new cases and some even reporting none at all.
Mulligan pointed to northern regions where “it’s been fairly consistent that there have been zero cases” and asked “why not open them up sooner by region? They must be screaming for it.”
Ford responded that “everyone’s quick to scream for it, a lot of phone calls are coming through.” He said he’s even getting lobbied by the Santa Claus at Santa’s Village in Muskoka.
“But we have to do it safely,” he said. “And we will do it safely and we’re gonna do it in steps as we did before. We just have to continue to see numbers go in the right direction, which they have.”
Elliot was slightly more specific.
She noted that “things were going quite well in Stage 2, but we’re only several weeks into it.”
She said that officials “still need the data from about another week” to see if there’s cause for concern or if there’s anything that’s causing outbreaks.
“We have to assess it on a daily basis to understand where we are with it,” she said, “but we are having discussions about going into the next phase, whether we do it across the province, whether we do it regionally.”
“We’re having discussions about where it should happen and, of course, when—everybody wants to know that—and what will be opening next.”
Elliot went on to reiterate Ford’s message that moving into the next stage will depend on the strength of the health and safety measures that continue to be taken by the public.
Under Stage 3 of reopening, Ontario would see all remaining workplaces reopen safely and larger gatherings allowed. The province-wide state of emergency that’s in place until July 15 would also be lifted.
Toronto was only recently allowed to enter Stage 2 after other regions when case numbers began to show a steady decline. Data from today showed that Toronto, Peel and York made up 63 per cent of new cases, while Windsor-Essex saw a recent spike in cases upon entering Stage 2.
The three stages fall under Phase 2 of Ontario’s Framework For Reopening Our Province and Stage 3 marks the final period before entering Phase 3 of recovery.