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COVID-19: Waterloo Region won’t join rest of Ontario in Step 2 of the provincial reopening

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Waterloo Region has announced it will not move into Step 2 of the provincial reopening plan with the rest of Ontario next week.

“To give our residents more time to be vaccinated, to avoid having to take a step back, and based on our situation at this time, I anticipate the Region of Waterloo will be able to move into Step 2 in mid-July,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s Medical Officer of Health stated.

Read more: Ontario to officially move into Step 2 of reopening plan on June 30

“This approach gives us the best chance to hold onto the gains we have made.”

Earlier Thursday morning, the Ontario government announced that the province would move into Step 2 on June 30, two days earlier than initially announced.

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As a result of promising COVID-19 vaccination rates and improving health indicators, more measures will be relaxed and more businesses will be able to open in Step 2 of the plan.

The region did not provide a framework for what it will take to join the rest of the province in Step 2 although Wang made it sound as if it is weeks away.

“Dr. Wang added that in the coming weeks, the Region of Waterloo will be in a better position to provide a more specific date for an expected move to Step 2,” the statement read.

Read more: Doug Ford hints at possible early Step 2 reopening, even by a ‘matter of days’

On Thursday, Waterloo Region was once again worst in the province for number of new cases.

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The province announced 296 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday morning with 95 of those being reported in Waterloo Region.

“Without the power of the vaccine and without thousands and thousands of our residents getting vaccinated at our clinics, in pharmacies and at family doctors’ offices – our COVID-19 numbers would have grown exponentially over the last few weeks due to the Delta variant,” Wang stated.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced later in the day that help is finally on the way for the area.

“Today I spoke with Regional Chair Karen Redman and Waterloo Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wang about the ongoing challenges facing the Waterloo Region, particularly their fight against the Delta Variant,” he stated.

“The province is doing everything possible to support the Waterloo Region at this time, and have allocated over 44,000 additional vaccines to the region. We are also providing a mobile team capable of administering over 500 doses a day to high priority areas.”

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