RELEASE: Statement from Warden Bob Crate on provincial shutdown

RELEASE: Statement from Warden Bob Crate on provincial shutdown

RELEASE: Statement from Warden Bob Crate on provincial shutdown

The announcement of the new shut-down will be made by Premier Doug Ford at 1:30 p.m., following the scientific advisors' report.

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

"As I've said many times, we will do whatever it takes to protect Ontarians", Ford said at the April 1 press conference in Toronto. The provincial government's scientific advisors are expected to release new modeling this morning showing the expected impact of the pandemic's third wave over the next few weeks, according to CBC Canada.

The briefing told reporters that in most health units across Ontario now, the COVID-19 case counts are above the the second highest level in the colour-code framework, which is the Red-Control zone.

The emergency lockdown also means stronger restrictions.

Under the shutdown restaurants will be closed to in-person dining but allowed to open for takeout and delivery.

Health officials stressed earlier in the day that further disruptions to in-person learning should be minimized.

She added, that's why the government chose an emergency shutdown rather than a lockdown.

Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.

Brown said variants of concern are now the dominate strain of the virus in the province.

A complete list of shutdown restrictions can be found on the province's website.

"We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern", said Premier Doug Ford in a statement Thursday. "We're now fighting a new enemy", Ford said of the COVID-19 variants.

Officials reported on Saturday that 796 people are now in hospital due to the disease.

"We are in the third wave of the pandemic".

Variants now account for about 67 per cent of all new infections in Ontario, the science table says, and seem to be causing more serious forms of COVID-19 in a younger cohort of people than seen during the first or second waves.

"We can not vaccinate quickly enough to break this third wave".

He says the province's vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities and that is delaying the impact of the vaccine.

Ontario's science advisers are suggesting a stay-at-home order is needed to control Ontario's third wave of COVID-19.

New variants of the virus risk overwhelming ICUs and threaten the care of all patients, warned Dr. Steini Brown, co-chair of the province's science advisory table.

More than 150 intensive care unit doctors signed an open letter to the government on Thursday, calling for new, stricter, measures.

In addition to his strong encouragement for everyone to get vaccinated when available, Ford said, "The next four weeks are our best chance to save lives and to make sure this summer we can get things open and get back to our lives".

The surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations also has a ripple effect on the entire health care system. It is estimated that over 245,000 surgeries have been delayed, cancelled or postponed throughout the pandemic.

But while the stay-at-home order may not have been well received, it did seem to stop people from coming into the big-box drugstore where 22-year-old Odessa Ordanza works as a cashier in Mississauga, Ont. Stay home whenever you can, maintain physical distancing, wear a mask as directed and wash your hands frequently.

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