Sci-tech

Ontario to present new COVID-19 models ahead of expected shutdown announcement

Ontario to present new COVID-19 models ahead of expected shutdown announcement”

The announcement came hours after the province's science advisers said stay-at-home orders are needed to control the third wave driven by more contagious and deadly COVID-19 variants. "This is a new pandemic; we're fighting a new enemy".

Businesses not permitted to open include: museums, personal care services day camps, casinos and bingo halls, concert venues and more.

All regions across the province of Ontario will be entering a sweeping shutdown as of April 3 to curb the spread of unsafe variants of concern, and that means new indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also come into effect.

Schools will remain open for in-person learning while spring break will still go ahead the week of April 12th.

This morning, a group of more than 150 emergency and intensive care physicians published an open letter addressed to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and top health officials, calling for immediate and decisive action to ease the burden on hospitals.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said the emergency shutdown is different than a stay-at-home order.

Of the new cases reported in Ontario, 67 per cent are the result of a variant of concern.

Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited.

The capacity limit for weddings, funerals and other religious services indoors is 15 per cent, while outside can be the number of people that can maintain two metres physical distance.

More news: Ontario reports 2,333 new COVID-19 cases, 15 deaths

Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures. No indoor social gatherings are permitted and outdoor gatherings are limited to no more than five people.

The government says employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

Brown said variants of concern are now the dominate strain of the virus in the province.

He says the province's vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities, which is delaying its anti-pandemic impact.

The Ontario Science Advisory Table said that otherwise, the province could see up to 6,000 new infection cases by mid-April.

The last time the province reported a daily case total above the 2,500 mark was on January 22, during the height of the second wave, when 2,662 infections were reported.

"We are now seeing almost 14 per cent increase in hospitalizations, with COVID-19 patients in ICU increasing dramatically", Ford said. "And the fact that we have not been able to reopen up to today's date or the 12th, is what they promised us, and now it's back into this zone where you still have some things that are non-essential opening is outrageous", Kristen Gale, creator and CEO of The Ten Spot Beauty Bars told CP24 Tonight.

Stephen Lecce, who says "students deserve to be in class", calls the move critical for the mental health of students.

"They are useful from an infection control standpoint - this has implications on how these people are treated in the healthcare system in terms of precaution - but in terms of what the public actually cares about, it's how many people are critically ill due to complications from COVID-19".



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