Halton and Durham spared lockdowns — for now

Potential new COVID hotspot regions in the province avoided lockdowns Monday after their political representatives lobbied against closures and their infection numbers remained relatively stable.

Premier Doug Ford insisted it was at his prodding that PC MPPs Jane McKenna and Parm Gill, along with other political representatives of Halton Region, wrote to Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams in opposition to a roll back.

Ford also argued that Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson essentially approved of rolling the city back to a modified Stage 2, despite his public criticism.

“Let me be very, very clear — all 444 municipalities, our entire caucus, the federal government — we’re all working together,” Ford said Monday. “And do we agree on everything? Absolutely not.”

After two record-breaking days of COVID-19 caseloads, Ontario reported 851 new cases Monday with 28,652 tests completed the previous day.

Ontario confirmed six more pandemic-related deaths for a total of 3,099.

There were 295 people in hospital, 78 in intensive care and 51 on ventilators.

These numbers do not include data from 45 hospitals in the province, so the real number could be higher.

Public health units showing the highest number of new cases Monday include Toronto with 281, Peel with 215 and Ottawa with 76.

York Region reported 94 new confirmed cases and 49 open outbreaks — 20 institutional, three in schools, seven in child care and 19 in workplaces.

Halton had 27 new cases, Hamilton 41, and Durham 23.

Williams said he believes the weekend’s higher numbers — an all-time, single-day high of 1,042 new cases on Sunday — might reflect a Thanksgiving bump, noting there were outbreaks related to weddings that weekend.

Some people might have become somewhat casual about following public health measures, Williams said.

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