Monday, 25 January, 2021

Ontario surpasses 5000 reported COVID-19 deaths as cabinet debates new restrictions

COVID-19 modelling shows daily deaths could double by mid-February State of Emergency declared; stay-at-home order issued
Gustavo Carr | 13 January, 2021, 21:25

The new restrictions were announced shortly after the province released projections that show the virus is on track to overwhelm Ontario's health-care system.

In active cases, the hardest-hit Ontario health units are Windsor-Essex County (436 cases per 100,000 people), Peel (406), Toronto (330), Niagara Region (278), Middlesex-London (264), Eastern Ontario (236), and York Region (226). The province says it will publish the "legal parameters" for the order online today and offer more clarification on the measure.

The press conference will be streamed live, and we will carry the livestream feed, so stay tuned. By January 20, Ontario's medical officer of health will advise the Ministry of Education on schools in the remaining public health units that will be permitted to resume in-person instruction.

The premier has also announced a stay-at-home order which begins on Thursday.

The province now also recommends wearing masks outside when physical distancing can not be maintained.

Ford cited the exponential growth of new cases, the growth of admissions into Ontario hospitals, the spread of B-117 COVID-19 (the more infectious United Kingdom variant of the disease), but above all, troubling modelling data showing over one-third of Ontarians are not following public health advice.

Provincial officials are anxious the new variant is already spreading rapidly.

That model assumes case rates continue to climb between three to five per cent a day, which is the current rate.

Brown said survey data shows two-thirds of Ontarians are following public health rules such as physical distancing and wearing masks, but a third of the population are still bucking the restrictions.

Another Chinese city goes into lockdown amid new COVID-19 threat
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 38 from 81 cases a day earlier. A volunteer security officer surnamed Wang said: "Measures have tightened since January 8".

Ford says the government will be supporting people in businesses through these tough times, noting the 24-7 off-peak electricity rate that is in place, providing $200 per child for the parents, and working with the federal government to put in place a new CERB program to help families and workers.

This, Brown said, makes not associating with members of your household all the more important to avoid the spread.

Ford said the number of cases and deaths related to COVID-19 are at the highest since the start of the pandemic last spring.

The stay-at-home order does not define what work or jobs are essential.

Another 41 people have died since yesterday, bringing the provincial death toll to 5,053. "It's because they need help to do it".

"The trends in key public health indicators are continuing to deteriorate, and further action is urgently required to save lives", said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Last week Quebec, Canada's worst-affected province from COVID-19, became the first in the country to introduce a curfew to limit the spread.

"Walmart, Costco and Amazon can continue to sell non-essential goods in-store or deliver them to Ontarians with no additional changes, but small retailers will not be allowed to hand a product to a customer outdoors or even deliver one after 8 p.m.", Dan Kelly said in a statement.

- with files from John Chidley-Hill.