As expected, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has brought down new tough restrictions, less than a week after imposing a shutdown. Ford sent his province back into lockdown, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic’s third wave.
"I’m declaring a state of emergency with a province-wide stay-at-home order, effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday. This will be in effect for four weeks," Ford said Wednesday.
Ford begged people to stay at home except for essential reasons such as grocery shopping, work or for health care reasons. Schools and day cares are not being shut down, except in hot spots where public health units have already done so.
Ford’s announcement came after cabinet discussions over the past couple of days. He is heeding the calls from the medical community for tougher restrictions.
COVID-19 variants of concern are surging and intensive care units are filling up fast.
“In fact, we learned yesterday morning that admissions to ICUs in the past week are increasing faster than the worst case scenario predicted by our experts," Ford said.
ICU admissions have surpassed 500 and some health experts said that number could double by the end of the month.
Ford said the province is again ramping up vaccination efforts, expanding vaccine access to education workers and more adults in high-risk neighborhoods. It is also starting mobile teams and pop-up clinics to target high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based facilities and large employers.