Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced in his daily briefing this afternoon that seven additional public health units will be allowed to move into Stage 3 on Friday.
Stage 3 Reopening
Beginning on Friday, July 24, at 12:01 a.m., Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara and York Region will be permitted to transition into Stage 3, bringing the total health units allowed to move into Stage 3 to 31 out of 34 — with the public health units of Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex remaining in Stage 2. Addressing the three units that remain in Stage 2, Premier Ford asked that they stay patient. “We know as a province that we can’t ease up. We can’t give this virus an absolute inch, and part of the process is learning from other jurisdictions about what works and what doesn’t work.”
Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott also announced a new custom-built COVID-19 system for public health units. This process will include replacing fax machines and repetitive data-entry with cloud-based software and a “streamlined process.” Health units have been using this system since July 17, including Peel, Kingston-Frontenac-Lennox-Addington, Grey Bruce and Halton, and the provincial government plans to onboard other health units onto the system on a weekly basis with the goal of getting all health units to adopt the new system by the end of August. According to Elliott, this new system should help public health units quickly identify new cases and more effectively contain the spread of COVID-19.