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Premier Doug Ford indicated his willingness to grant the request by London officials.
He said his cabinet will discuss requests from mayors and medical officials from other areas of the province to extend restrictions.
“We’re going to be rolling (it) out to other areas across the province from the request of the mayors,” Ford said in Ottawa. “I listen to the medical experts. I’ll base this on the health and science.”
He also promised that his plan to address a possible second wave this fall will be released by the province next week.
Under the province’s enhanced restrictions, the fine for hosting a rule-breaking party starts at $10,000.
Mackie is anticipating the province will expand its gathering size restrictions to include the London-area in time for the weekend.
If the province doesn’t act immediately, the health unit is not ruling out issuing an order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act to restrict private gathering sizes, but the move would take up to a week to come into effect, Mackie said.
The decision to issue a Section 22 order would come Monday or Tuesday of next week if the province’s restrictions are not in place, Mackie said.
The health unit has reported 47 new COVID-19 cases, including 39 among Western students, in the last week and declared three outbreaks.
One outbreak is connected to post-secondary students and the downtown party scene, including the bar Lost Love. The second outbreak is linked to a large student party this past weekend that drew “dozens,” Mackie said. The third involved staff at the Walmart store in Hyde Park.
None of the 39 Western students who tested positive have required hospitalization, Mackie said.
The health unit reported 13 new cases Friday, bringing the total number of new cases in the area to 24 over the past two days — nearly the same number reported in the entire first two weeks of September.
For weeks, the daily growth in new London-area cases had held steady at about one to two each day.
The Thursday-Friday case increases are the biggest two-day jump since April 18 and 19, when the health unit reported 17 new cases each day.
“Depending on how we fare over the weekend, this could become the worst stretch of cases in London-Middlesex since the pandemic’s onset,” Mayor Ed Holder said Friday.
“Please wear a mask, physically distance, avoid large crowds. . . . We can do this, we just need more of us to do a little better.”
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