Ontario set to decide on imposing new COVID-19 restrictions in Halton, Durham

Premier Doug Ford is scheduled to hold a news conference beginning at 1 p.m. ET at Queen’s Park. Ford’s office says he will be joined by the ministers of health and finance.

You can watch it live in this story.

No decision is coming from the Ontario government today on whether Halton and Durham regions will face stricter COVID-19 restrictions, Premier Doug Ford’s office said Monday morning.

Ford had suggested on Friday that health officials would look at the caseload in Halton and Durham regions over the weekend to determine whether they need to roll back to a modified Stage 2 of the province’s pandemic recovery plan, and that an announcement could come as early as today. 

Ottawa, Toronto and Peel and York regions have all seen the restrictions reimposed over the last several weeks as cases of the novel coronavirus soar within their borders.

But politicians in Halton urged the province not to lump them in with neighbouring Peel Region, saying there aren’t as many COVID-19 cases in the area as elsewhere in the province.

Halton Public Health recorded 34 new confirmed cases on Saturday and 31 on Sunday, while Durham recorded 41 cases on Saturday and 52 on Sunday.

Peel Region, which has a population roughly twice as large as Durham’s and 2.5 times bigger than Halton’s, recorded 289 new cases on Sunday.

The province broke its record for the most daily COVID-19 cases both days this weekend, recording 978 cases on Saturday and 1,042 on Sunday.

The seven-day daily average of new cases, a measure that helps limit noise in the data to provide a clearer view of longer-term trends, climbed to new heights on the weekend as well and is now about 857. 

Meanwhile, at a speech before the Canadian Chamber of Commerce scheduled for 2:15 p.m., Ford is expected to reveal when his government will unveil its annual budget.

The budget was initially supposed to be rolled out in late March, but was postponed as the province shifted its attention to curbing the spread of COVID-19

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said in August that the government expected a budget deficit of at least $38.5-billion for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

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