Friday, 16 April, 2021

Mississauga and Brampton seeing highest daily COVID-19 cases since January

Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3 Ford declares province-wide 'emergency brake' due to COVID-19
Adrian Cunningham | 05 April, 2021, 19:18

And the restrictions will not be going away for a while.

The measures, introduced to combat what Premier Doug Ford called an "alarming" recent spike in COVID-19 infections and meant to last for at least four weeks, sounded economic alarm bells for some industry groups who say their sectors can not withstand additional closures and financial losses.

Announced on Thursday, Apr. 1, 2021, the so-call province-wide "emergency brake" will come into effect as of Saturday, Apr. 3, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and the province intends to keep the plan in place for at least four weeks.

"We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern", said Ford in a news release.

Of Ontario's 34 public health units, 14 reported 30 or more new COVID-19 cases.

"I know pulling the emergency brake will be hard on many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals". Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. "That is our best protection against this deadly virus", added the Premier.

The latest pandemic modelling presented by the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table shows COVID-19 variants of concern account for two-thirds (about 67%) of all new infections in the province. "We're now fighting a new enemy".

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.

As well, the province hit a record high on Wednesday for the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs.

Advisers said new pandemic modelling indicates the third wave is being driven by more deadly variants.

Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3
Ontario's science advisers say COVID-19 variants are killing faster and younger people

While the provincial government is not introducing an official stay-at-home order as experts have recommended this time around, Ontarians are once again being asked to leave the house only for necessities and to refrain from gathering with people outside their household.

There will also be further restrictions on people gathering.

Retail stores will see limits on capacity while restaurants will be restricted to takeout, delivery and drive-through service, the premier said. Particularly with the warmer weather, the government didn't want to limit outdoor access and activity, she said.

Gyms and personal care services will be closed and indoor and outdoor dining will be prohibited.

Schools are slated to reopen after the end of this week's postponed spring break, which concludes on April 9.

Thursday's lockdown will require the closure of hair salons, gyms, and indoor dining in regions not now under such restrictions.

However, the CBC's Mike Crawley reports the province has also created a new category of restrictions on its website called "shutdown". For outdoor services, two meters distance between individuals must be maintained. As I've said we will do what it takes to protect the people of Ontario.

And despite being under shutdown since last November, Toronto, Canada's biggest city and the country's financial hub, remains Canada's biggest COVID hot spot.

She said customers have resumed that habit since the order lifted in Peel Region less than a month ago - sometimes without masks on - and she hopes this shutdown will send the message that it's time to stop.

Earlier this week, the president of Ontario's Hospital Association (OHA), said hospitals reached a record high with at least 421 COVID-19 patients now in the province's intensive care units.

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