Waterloo could see yellow when province announces COVID-19 pandemic levels on Friday: Wang

Earlier this week, the Ontario government announced it would be using a new colour-coding system to delineate restrictions placed on communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The five-level system varies from green, with the most permissive rules, to grey, which is a “lockdown” level where maximum measures would be instituted.

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As part of Tuesday’s announcement, the province placed Waterloo into the green category but the region’s top doctor says it may shift to yellow when the province provides an update on Friday.

“The province has indicated that the proposed classifications are based on data from the week prior and that updated data will be used for their final categorization, which we can expect Friday,” Dr. Hsiu Li-Wang said during an update to the board of health Wednesday night.

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“Our indicators, especially in the last several days when the number of new cases per day has increased,” she said, “somewhat are more in line with those under the yellow ‘protect’ category.”

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Over the past seven days, Waterloo Region has reported at least 17 new coronavirus cases each day.

This has pushed the region’s daily average of new cases over the past week up to 19.86, which is a marked increase from the 11.43 it stood at a week earlier.

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“So whether we stay in the green category or move to the yellow category this Friday. As a community, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we may be placed in the yellow category,” Wang said.

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If the area is placed into the yellow category, it will see new restrictions placed upon some businesses, although Wang says not all of the measures have been completely defined by the province.

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“These are the provincially proposed measures for restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments,” she explained.

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“For public health areas in the yellow category, the key changes would include establishments must close at midnight, liquor can only be sold or served between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. and a limit of six people dine together.”

She said similar measures would also be put in place for meeting and event spaces, retail spaces, personal care services, casinos, bingo halls, gaming establishments, cinemas and performing arts.

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—With files from The Canadian Press

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