It appears that Waterloo Region’s time in Step 2 of the province’s COVID-19 re-opening plan will be brief.
The region announced on Thursday that it will join the rest of Ontario in Stage 2 on Monday. Yet just a day after that announcement, the Ontario government announced it will move into Step 3 on July 16.
Read more: Ontario to enter Step 3 of COVID-19 reopening plan on July 16, days earlier than expected
Ontario’s move to Step 3 of the province recovery plan will occur nearly a week earlier than previously expected.
Kieran Moore, Ontario’s new chief medical officer of health, was expected to provide an update to reporters at noon.
The news appeared to catch Waterloo Region’s medical officer of health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang off guard as it arrived during her weekly discussion with reporters at 11 a.m.
That said, Wang explained that it is expected that the area will join the rest of the province in moving to Step 3 on Friday.
“The plan is to move along with the province going forward,” Wang said. “The metrics that I was looking for, for us to start moving forward, were the stabilization of our situation and rising vaccination rates and that’s what we see now.
“So we will continue to assess but the plan is to continue to move forward.”
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While new COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region remain among the highest due to the presence of the Delta variant, Wang says she has seen the numbers stabilize of late, allowing Waterloo to join Ontario’s recovery course.
Read more: What can residents do when Waterloo Region moves to Step 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening plan?
“Our weekly case rates are trending downwards,” she explained, noting that hospitalizations and outbreaks remain high as they tend to follow days and weeks after the cases jump.
“We’re heading in the right direction,” Wang said before issuing a warning.
“But we need to keep this up because of how aggressive Delta is. So we need to not let off the gas when it comes to getting our second doses in as soon as we’re able to, and continuing to be cautious and practising diligently our public health precautions.”