Ontario premier calls emergency meeting, as 2,432 COVID cases recorded on Thursday

Dec 18, 2020

The Ontario Hospital Association is calling on the province to move all regions in the so-called "red zone" of the coronavirus into an enforced shutdown. The call comes as Ontario logs more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases for the third day in a row.

It’s not just the hospitals that are calling for a shutdown, but the Ontario Medical Association, registered nurses and the mayors of Toronto and Mississauga, too. The calls come as Ontario recorded 2,432 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. 

“It’s unfortunately necessary to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario and to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed,” said Hospital Association CEO Anthony Dale.

However, Premier Doug Ford said he won’t be rushed into making any decisions on lockdowns.

“We have to make sure if we do make this decision," Ford said. "Is it going to be two weeks, three weeks, is it going to be 28 days? There’s so many things to consider.”

Ford did say he wouldn’t hesitate to do what’s needed to slow the trend in cases of COVID-19. He has called an emergency meeting for Friday with Health Minister Christine Elliott, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and Ontario’s hospital leaders "to discuss next steps to break the concerning trends in cases and hospitals in our province. Everything is on the table."

An increasing number of hospitals are beginning to cancel scheduled surgeries and the Hospital Association said the burden on healthcare professionals has become heavy. 

As of Thursday, seven public health jurisdictions are in the red zone and four others, including Toronto and the Peel Region, are in lockdown, but even their numbers are not coming down.

WBFO's Marian Hetherly contributed to this story.