TORONTO – Getting a COVID-19 test will require an appointment beginning October 6th. Walk up testing will no longer be allowed, announced Ontario premier Doug Ford today (October 2nd).
Testing centers that have not already switched to appointment-only will do so by October 6th. Walk up access to testing centres will end on October 4th.
Ford said that the move is to help alleviate some of the testing backlog and to cope with the colder weather. Also announced were additional restrictions for the highest infection areas of Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa.
“The modeling we released this week demonstrates the absolute necessity to take action now to reverse current trends and protect our hospital capacity,” said Ford. “With the weather changing and more people moving indoors, the decision to introduce new restrictions on restaurants, gyms and other businesses was difficult. However, we will do whatever is necessary, acting on the advice of our public health experts, to turn the tide on this second wave and keep everyone safe.”
In Toronto, Ottawa, and Peel Region, indoor seating capacity of restaurants, bars, and other food establishments will be lowered to maximum of 100 people, and limits of no more than six people per table. Banquet halls and meeting event spaces are reduced to 50 people with no more than six people per table. Exercise facilities also have restrictions on classes and the total number of people added.
During his October 1st media call, Eastern Ontario Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis responded to a question from an unidentified media reporter that he would consider asking for the EOHU to match any restrictions placed on Ottawa.
Ford also announced new restrictions province-wide restrictions and guidance today. Ontarians are advised to limit their close contact to only people who are in the same household, and maintain two metres of physical distancing from others. In the work place, if you cannot maintain two metres of space with coworkers, you must wear a mask. Ontario has also paused any further reopening of businesses and organizations for an additional 28 day period under the phase three reopening plan.
Thanksgiving isn’t cancelled, but officials said that people should use their judgement and keep group numbers to close family and within their same household where possible.
The Ministry of Health announced this morning that there were 732 cases of COVID-19 reported, 323 new cases in Toronto, 141 in Ottawa, and 111 in Peel. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 58 per cent of the cases are in people under the age of 40.
Locally, there are 57 active cases of COVID-19 in the EOHU region. South Dundas has one active case, South Stormont has one active case, and North Dundas has no active cases.
There have been 257 cases of COVID-19 in the region since the pandemic began.