Ontario To Enter Province-Wide Shutdown Saturday

Clay Curtis
April 4, 2021

During the emergency shutdown, schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place.

An alarming surge in ICU admission forces Ontario to enter a third COVID-19 shutdown.

The government has said that the shutdown will last at least one month, or until May 3.

"We are facing a very serious situation", Premier Doug Ford said during a media briefing on Thursday.

There are 796 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, with 451 patients in intensive care and 261 on a ventilator. "This is a new pandemic; we're fighting a new enemy".

"We're working around the clock to help our hospital capacity", he says.

"We have never had more Ontarians in intensive care than we do today".

"We're ready to ramp up to 1,500 once we have more vaccines", Ford says, noting millions of additional vaccines are "on the horizon".

"The bottom line is that we need more time", he adds.

In addition, Ford says the government is doing everything they can to keep kids in class.

"This is a top priority", said Ford.

Fully-vaccinated people may travel now: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The new CDC guidance specifically greenlights vaccinated grandparents getting on airplanes to see grandchildren. The CDC cited recent research on the real-world effects of the vaccines for its updated guidance.

As the Easter long weekend approaches, Ford is reminding residents to avoid social gatherings and stay within family households.

He will be joined by Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, to make an announcement.

"People moving around from areas of high levels of community transmission, to lower levels. they also spread variants of concern", he said.

Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50% capacity limit for grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures.

Personal care services such as hair salons are closed. 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.

Weddings, religious services, and funerals are limited to 15 per cent occupancy per room, with two metres of social distancing required.

Ontario has also reported more than 2,000 new infections for the past seven consecutive days. "The new variants are far more unsafe than before", Ford said. "Younger people are ending up in the hospital and with these new variants, ICU admissions is two times higher, deaths are one-and-a-half times higher".

"We're now seeing a almost 14 per cent increase in hospitalizations, with COVID-19 patients in the ICU increasing dramatically", he says, adding Ontario is facing a very serious situation.

"If things go well and if people continue to follow these public health measures, we will be in a much better position to come out of the lockdown more quickly than others", said Ahmed.

"OHA President Anthony Dale says in an ideal world, the association would re-deploy the province's vaccine strategy", and bulldoze vaccines into the communities where we know COVID-19 is out of control".

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