With Premier Ford announcing that Hamilton and Halton Region will join several other municipalities in moving to the RED zone of COVID control, both municipalities reported increases in new cases today. Hamilton reported 46 new COVID cases and one death. Hospitalizations dropped from 20 to 15.
Two new outbreaks were reported in Hamilton, one at Meridian Credit Union on Regional Road 8 where three staff tested positive and another at Jonathan Perron Floor Coverings involving 2 staff members.
In Halton, 57 new cases were reported again with the largest numbers being seen in Oakville (22) and Milton (17). Burlington had 14 cases and Halton Hills 4. There was one death reported in Halton Region. Hospitalizations in Halton remained unchanged at 17.
The numbers were reported on the day when Doug Ford has announced that the province will lower the thresholds for its COVID-19 colour-coded system, putting regions like Hamilton and Halton in the “red zone,” which will lower capacity limits for bars, restaurants and gyms. The decision came just a day after provincial health officials released new COVID-19 modelling, projecting that the province could see 6,500 new cases per day by mid-December.
“We need to be clear about what’s at stake, we’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” Ford told reporters. “I will not hesitate for a second if we have to go further because our number one priority right now, it’s getting these numbers down.”
The government had been getting flak from members of the medical community who argued the threshold to enter the “red zone” was set too high – 100 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of 10 per cent. The thresholds are now being changed and the “red zone” will now be triggered when the region reaches a weekly incidence rate of 40 cases per 100,000.