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

Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3

Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3

That's despite new modelling released by Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table on Thursday that shows the number of new cases in Ontario could drop to as few as 1,000 a day by the end of April if a stay-at-home order were implemented for up to four weeks, while vaccinations continue.

"We're facing a very, very serious situation", Ford said during a media conference in Toronto.

Ontario will go into a four-week, provincewide shutdown on Saturday as the government pulls its "emergency brake" in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 variants. "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.

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario is being driven by variants of concern and younger people are being hospitalized.

And it comes as COVID cases in Ontario have more than doubled since the first week of March while vaccines have not arrived quickly enough to slow the spread of more contagious and deadlier variants of the virus among the general population.

"I don't feel safe continuing to work non-essential retail in a third wave", Ghent said.

As well, the province hit a record high on Wednesday for the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs. "The new variants are far more risky than before", Ford said.

The province will not be issuing a stay-at-home order, but are asking residents to limit trips outside of their home, unless it's for essential reasons. The capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings is a maximum of five people, except for gatherings with members or the same household or gatherings with one household and one person from another household who lives alone.

Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. Supermarkets and pharmacies will operate at 50% capacity and other retailers at 25%.

Indoor and outdoor dining is prohibited.

United States authority says vaccinated people can travel domestically, should wear masks
The guidance says that fully vaccinated people don't need a test, and don't need to quarantine, when traveling domestically. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last recommended dose of vaccine, the CDC said.

All sports and recreational facilities are closed with the exception of day camps and childcare.

Ski hills, golf courses, and driving ranges are closed.

In-person dining, personal care services and gyms will close again for the next four weeks.

All North Frontenac municipal facilities will close to the public on Saturday, Apr. 3, 2021. 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 new restrictions are virtually identical to those now in place in areas already in lockdown.

The province of Ontario is entering into a new category of its COVID-19 response framework, which will see new restrictions and limits on gatherings. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

So, even if Waterloo Region and other health units are not seeing the same acceleration as other areas, Dr. Wang is still concerned, and mentioned a province-wide shutdown should be able to better control rates.

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.

For more than a week in Ontario, the daily case numbers have been more than 2,000.

The only other difference is that the shutdown is provincewide and will impact all 34 of Ontario's public health units. "We need more time for our vaccine program to take hold".

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