Health Care

Ontario issues stay-at-home order

Ontario issues stay-at-home order”

Big box stores can only sell essential goods such as groceries, household cleaning supplies, pharmacy items, health-care items, personal care items and pet care supplies.

The province is declaring the third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic to invoke the new measures.

"Unless it's for an essential reason, please stay home", Ford said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. "Although this is hard, I urge everyone to follow these public health measures and together we will defeat this deadly virus".

During the four-week period, non-essential stores will be closed, except for curbside pick-up or delivery.

Ford said the province will begin deploying mobile vaccination teams throughout communities in hotspots such as Toronto, including providing vaccines to teachers and other education workers beginning next week.

While tighter restrictions will be in place for retail stores, schools and daycares are set to remain open for in-person care and learning where allowed by local health units.

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As vaccine supply increases, eligibility will expand to high-risk neighbourhoods in other hot spot regions, including Durham, York, Hamilton, Halton and Ottawa.

"The COVID-19 situation is at a critical stage and we must act quickly and decisively to stay ahead of these deadly new variants", said Premier Doug Ford in a news release. However, with the stay-at-home order coming into effect tomorrow morning, the emergency brake precautions will coincide and will be extended as a result.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says that enhanced safety measures will be put in place to protect students and staff once they return from the April break. The seven-day average of daily deaths is now about 15 - a figure that topped 60 per day during the second wave of the illness, before most long-term care residents were vaccinated.

The measures expected to be announced would go above and beyond restrictions put in place during the first stay-at-home order, which the province implemented January 14 and subsequently extended February 8. "We know it has helped us in the Fall", said Lecce. But such an order was recommended by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table as being one of the retrictions necessary to control the spread of COVID-19 variants.

"Even if we vaccinated everyone in Peel today, we would still not see changes in our trends for over four weeks", he said.

ICU admissions are rising faster than the worst-case scenario modeled by experts, Ford said.

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