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Parts of Ontario could go back to Stage 1 in targeted hotspot closures: top doctor

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Ontario’s top doctor said that parts of the province could go back to Stage 1 in targeted closures for hotspots to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said that going back to previous stages is not as simple as it seems.

“When we did that through Phase 2, Stage 1, 2, and 3 were for opening things up, not closing down, which I know seems like semantics, but we’re in a different perspective now,” he said during the press conference.

He noted that schools were not opening or closing as part of the second phase, and because the province does not wish to close down schools, they are using different methods of what restrictions to implement in a targeted way.

The province is focusing on where there are outbreaks and cases occurring. Already the province has shut down strip clubs and targeted businesses that are not meeting public health guidelines.

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“Those stages were province wide, but the majority of cases are in three or four hotspots,” Williams added. “We have general methods and then we can be specific with some closures. It’s not a repeat of Stage 2. Some things are similar to Stage 2. But it’s not going back to it; it’s different and can even go to Stage 1.”

Williams pointed out that some closures, like the strip clubs, is already going back to Stage 1.

“Closing down some things we will even go back to Stage 1, and focus on how we could apply [closures] as quickly as possible.”

Premier Doug Ford added that the best way to prevent businesses from closing is to keep following the health protocols.

“It’s the best way to help a business and to keep doors open for as long as we possibly can. It’s the best defence we have.”

On Thursday, 229 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Toronto, with Peel region reporting 101, Ottawa with 66, and 43 in York Region, making up the majority of cases in the province.

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