Waterloo Region moves to yellow in Ontario’s new COVID-19 category system

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The province announced that Waterloo Region was moved from green to yellow in Ontario’s new system for determining COVID-19 measures Friday afternoon.

The move will last for at least a month, according to regional chair Karen Redman, who says the plan will help prevent further closures.

The plan will be to remain in this stage for two incubation periods or 28 days,” she told reporters ahead of the province’s announcement Friday morning.

“This is subject, of course, to change should the rates escalate quickly.”

The region was shifted to yellow because its weekly coronavirus incidence rate had crept up as well as other issues.

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Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s acting medical officer of health, said the area was also seeing two per cent of COVID-19 tests come back positive.

The new measures will see restrictions placed on when bars and restaurants are allowed to open and their music volume, as well as spacing between patrons at gyms, among others that were in place under the green level.

Wang said the green level was less restrictive than the rules previously being followed in Waterloo Region under Stage 3 of the province’s plan to reopen.

She said she was in favour of the province’s decision to add more restrictions in the region given that the number of cases had been escalating at a quick pace over the past week, including the 42 new positive tests for COVID-19 announced by Waterloo Public Health on Friday.

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“The green category is less restrictive compared to what we have now. Our rates are in line with the yellow category,” Wang said.

“The intent of the yellow category is to protect our gains and to prevent us from moving into more restrictive categories.”

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