Health Care

Ford announces four-week 'emergency-brake shutdown' of Ontario

Ford announces four-week 'emergency-brake shutdown' of Ontario”

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.

The premier said he was loath to take the step, but called it necessary to control the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19 that are fuelling the pandemic's third wave despite an accelerating vaccine rollout.

"We're now fighting a new enemy".

The order imposes restrictions on businesses and residents across the Canadian province of 14.7 million people, beginning April 3.

With 62,290 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate remains at 4.8 per cent. Ford stressed that the government will try to keep schools open and operational as much as possible, that the spring break will continue as planned for the week of April 12, and that child care will remain open during the shutdown "in order to support working families".

The province also reported 39 new virus-related deaths over the same two-day stretch.

The announcement comes as new modelling by the provincial government's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table warns that the daily case count could rise to 6,000 a day by the end of the month due to the presence of the virus's deadly variant-nearly tripling the current number of daily cases.

More news: Pfizer vaccine offers '100% protection against South African variant'

He said the province is pulling the emergency brake to put all 34 health unit regions in the province into shutdown, which is stricter than the grey-lockdown zone measures.

It was during the update where Waterloo Region's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hisu-Li Wang recognized the stricter measures will be hard and present hardships for many in the community but mentioned the province-wide shutdown will help control the impact and extent of the third wave. This includes prohibiting all indoor organized public gatherings and limiting outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gathering with members of the same household.

No. All personal care services are prohibited during the shutdown.

Hair salons will be closed and there will be no indoor or patio dining.

There will be a 25% capacity limit in retail stores and 50% in supermarkets.

But while the stay-at-home order may not have been well received, it did seem to stop people from coming into the big-box drugstore where 22-year-old Odessa Ordanza works as a cashier in Mississauga, Ont.

Ontario's hospital intensive care units had 421 patients critically ill with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, more than at the worst point of the pandemic's second wave.



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