Code red across much of GTA as COVID-19 cases increase

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The yellow protection level will include Huron Perth, Middlesex-London, Sudbury, Southwestern and Windsor-Essex.

The new rankings go into effect Monday with the exception of Toronto, which turns red on Saturday.

The Ford government released its first color-coded framework less than two weeks ago to provide clear guidance on when businesses and social gatherings should be restricted based on defined criteria.

Prominent members of the medical community have criticized the original framework as being politically motivated and too lax, arguing that the spread of COVID-19 would be out of control by the time the thresholds are reached.

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Ford, in a sharp pullback on Friday, lowered the thresholds but blamed the newly released modeling for the change.

“Based on current projections, intensive care units could be overwhelmed in six weeks,” he said. “The impact on our hospitals would be absolutely devastating.”

Health Minister Christine Elliott said cases in Ontario were up 45% week over week.

The government has lowered the thresholds at which jurisdictions go on higher alert on the framework.

For example, in the previous framework, a jurisdiction would need to see the percentage of those who test positive over 10% to move it into the red zone.

The new threshold for red is greater than 2.5%.

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With each increasing level of alert comes tighter restrictions on businesses and social gatherings.

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