Culture

With 'alarming surge in COVID-19,' Ontario begins emergency shutdown at midnight

With 'alarming surge in COVID-19,' Ontario begins emergency shutdown at midnight”

Non-essential retail can operate at 25 percent capacity.

The government is asking Ontarians to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication and other essential services.

Construction will remain open and some outdoor activities.

"Friends, right now we're into a third wave of COVID-19".

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

"This is a new pandemic". Those who live alone can choose to have exclusive contact with one individual from outside their household. Takeout and delivery remain an option, however.

Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies can continue with 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, or to the maximum number of people who maintain a two-metre distance outdoors.

Another four regions where cases counts are on the rise are switching Thursday to a more restrictive level of Quebec's colour-coded pandemic system. As Premier, it falls to me to make the tough decisions.

"We're not going to be producing a stay-at-home order, because we saw the last time that it had tremendous ill effect on both children and adults", Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Thursday.

The province is set to announce new restrictions Thursday, but schools are expected to stay open next week. "They spread faster and they do more harm than the virus we were fighting a year ago".

"If we don't think this and take action, we will be in deep trouble", the Premier continued.

Ford said that hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was up by 14 per cent, and that there were more Ontarians in Intensive Care Units (ICU) s was higher than it has ever been.

Brown and Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, also warned that Ontario's ICU admissions will likely top 800 this month, even if a four-week stay-at-home order was issued.

"The current measures and framework are not working to contain the spread of this virus", reads the letter in part. "The variants of concern are spreading rapidly". More than 260 of those 451 patients are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

More news: Ford orders province-wide shutdown for four weeks

It notes people being admitted to intensive care have contracted COVID-19 at work or have followed all the rules and only gone out for groceries.

The shutdown comes as Ontario's COVID-19 Science Table released new modelling data showing that without a new order, the province will be unable to curb the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Without those measures, the Ontario Science Advisory Table said the province could see up to 6,000 new infection cases by mid-April.

Below are some of the slides presented Thursday morning by the advisors. Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.

Ford said shutting down for the next four weeks is "our best chance to save lives" and to ensure a "good summer" with things reopening.

"The decision was not made lightly", Ford said in announcing the new measures.

Brown said vaccines aren't reaching communities at highest risk, limiting the effectiveness of the province's strategy.

Personal care services such as hair salons are closed.

At least two-thirds of the province's public health units have already been under lockdown (grey zone) or control (red zone) restrictions.

Since the province began reporting COVID-19 variants, there have been 22,371 cases of mutation discovered in positive tests.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy.

Ontario reported 2,557 new cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases in the province to 352,460, including 7,389 deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases now stands at 2,552, compared to 1,944 seven days ago.



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