Ontario Now Has An 'Emergency Brake' To Halt Reopening If COVID-19 Variants Spread

It means regions could go from Green to lockdown immediately.
Ontario Now Has An 'Emergency Brake' To Halt Reopening If COVID-19 Variants Spread

Provincial health authorities say they're ready to pump the brakes on Ontario's reopening plan if COVID-19 transmission picks up speed.

Ford announced on Monday that while three public health regions are permitted to enter the green zone this week, an "emergency brake" is poised and ready to take swift action if anything changes.

Editor's Choice: Ford Extends Stay-At-Home Order For Most Of Ontario & Moves 3 Regions To The Green Zone

If you’re in green, and all of a sudden we see [a variant] go into your community [...] we’ll put the brakes on immediately. Health Minister Christine Elliott

The province describes this "emergency brake" as a tool that allows for "immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed."

If the brake is activated, the Chief Medical Officer of Health can move these regions directly into the Grey-Lockdown zone to interrupt transmission.

As of 12:01 a.m. on February 10, the following regions will be moving into the Green-Prevent zone:

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health;
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit

The rest of the province will remain under a stay-at-home order for an additional week, and another two weeks in Toronto, Peel, and York.

After this, all regions will be moved into a "strengthened and revised" colour-coded framework, which includes changes to retail store capacities

Today's announcement comes as Toronto records its first cases of the Brazil and South Africa variants, both believed to be more transmissible. 

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