Toronto's Lockdown Extended Until at Least March 8

A man walks past a COVID-19 retail supplies sign during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto Friday Feb. 5 2021

Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today

Premier Doug Ford said local officials know their regions best and his support for their public health advice is "unwavering".

"When they asked for more time, when Mayor Tory asked for more time, as premier, I will listen".

All of Ontario was under a stay-at-home order and the strictest public health measures until the government began easing restrictions gradually in certain regions last week.

"We are at a critical point in the pandemic and our efforts have begun to tip the balance in our favor", Tam said.

The continued phases of the vaccination distribution plan will focus on the increasing the capacity to vaccinate - Ontario now has the ability to vaccinate 40,000 people per day but does not reach that level - supporting outreach and awareness among priority groups and readying distribution channels, as well as developing new plans pending the approval of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, now being evaluated by Health Canada.

The Progressive Conservative government has been loosening health measures across the province this month despite predictions that doing so could set off a third wave of infections.

The decision comes as new national COVID-19 modelling, released by federal health officials on Friday, predicted that with variants continuing to spread across Canada even the current level of public health measures will not be enough to prevent a resurgence of the virus nationwide.

After returning to the Framework, public health regions are required to stay in their level for at least two weeks.

The president of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario expressed similar concerns.

The government said case rates are still too high in Toronto and Peel, and variants spreading in the North Bay, Ont., area meant that region also needed to remain under the stay-home order in order to preserve health-system capacity. "People in that region will pay the price in terms of an increased spike".

Lambton Public Health region meanwhile is moving from the Orange-Restrict level to the Red-Control level as a result worsening public health trends in the region over the past week.

"It is critically important that residents continue to stay at home as much as possible and only go out for essential trips", Scarpitti said in a statement. He encouraged people to reach out to those they know in that age group to ensure they learn about vaccine opportunities.

Health officials are cautioning, however, that even once a person is vaccinated, they will still be advised to follow the same health restrictions as the general population as questions remain as to whether vaccinated individuals may possibly be asymptomatic carriers.

A spokesperson for the Ontario health ministry said the projection of 2.6 million per month in the second quarter is based on supplies of the two vaccines already approved for use in Canada - the Pfizer Inc.

The supply increase will coincide with an expected expansion of Ontario's vaccine rollout to target the 80 and older group, seniors in congregate care, and all Indigenous adults.

Hillier said the province will work closely with all 34 health units to roll out the next stage of vaccinations for seniors who do not live in long-term care homes, most of whom have received their shots.

This was around the same time a Sun report revealed only 0.1% of all COVID-19 cases in the province could be traced to retail.

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