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Toronto, Peel to join Stage 3 of reopening on July 31; Windsor-Essex left behind [UPDATED]

Windsor-Essex region will remain in Stage 2 due to continued outbreaks on farms

July 29, 2020  The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario reported just 76 new cases of COVID-19 July 29, which is the lowest day-over-day increase in cases since late March.

The total number of cases now stands at 38,986, which includes 34,741 cases marked as resolved and 2,769 deaths.

The province reported one new death related to the novel coronavirus on July 29.

There were also 174 cases newly marked as resolved.

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Health Minister Christine Elliott says the number of people in hospital, in intensive care and on a ventilator all dropped.

She adds the province was able to complete more than 27,000 tests the previous day.

The numbers come as the province announced that more businesses and public spaces in Toronto and nearby Peel Region will be able to reopen on July 31 as those areas join most of Ontario in Stage 3 of the government’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

But the province said the Windsor-Essex region, which has been grappling with outbreaks on farms, will remain in Stage 2 for the time being.

In a release issued July 29, the province said it will continue to monitor the situation in Windsor-Essex and provide assistance through measures such as on-farm testing.

The three areas had been held back in Stage 2 because officials said they wanted more data before giving the green light for a broader reopening.

Twenty-four of Ontario’s 34 public health units were allowed to enter Stage 3 on July 17, with another seven joining them on July 24.

In Stage 3, nearly all businesses and public spaces can reopen, with health measures in place, and people can gather in larger groups.

“While more restaurants, theatres and businesses can hang up their Open for Business sign, we’re asking everyone to follow public health advice and act responsibly,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.

“We have made tremendous progress that allows us to return to something a little closer to our normal lives this summer, but we are not out of the woods yet. This virus is still among us and we have to be extra cautious to avoid sparking a surge or an outbreak. I strongly urge everyone to continue following public health protocols.”

Two cities in Stage 3, Ottawa and Sudbury, have seen new cases of COVID-19 emerge in recent days, but Ford said July 28 there are no plans to roll back the reopening in any areas.