Ford set to give announcement as Ontario's COVID-19 cases decline

Ford set to give announcement as Ontario's COVID-19 cases decline

After Friday's announcement of new federal travel rules, Premier Doug Ford says he is following Justin Trudeau's lead.

With the 43 new deaths confirmed by health officials on Sunday, the province's death toll is now 6,188. "That's why our government is taking immediate and decisive action, which includes mandatory testing of incoming global travellers and providing additional layers of protection for the people of Ontario, especially our seniors".

Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the figures that his health team will be taking into account when assessing when to open things up again also include things like ICU admissions and capacity, and that the original goals set were in regards to the regular COVID-19 strain.

The province has reported 58 lab-confirmed cases of the United Kingdom variant strain of COVID-19 (B.1.1.7).

The new plan also includes some changes to contact tracing and isolation procedures. Williams says a decision on that is coming shortly.

Public Health Ontario has reported 1,848 new cases of COVID-19 today.

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Hospitalizations fell below 1,200 across the province, but as is the case on weekends, not every hospital reported its updated data to the province.

It's part of a six-point plan that Ford says in the coming weeks will explore more testing measures at Pearson and Ontario's land borders.

The Ontario government has declared a state of emergency, the second since the start of the pandemic, and a stay at-home order is in effect until at least February 11, 2021.

Given the emerging evidence that the variants of concern are more transmissible and may cause more severe disease in some individuals, lifting of public health and workplace safety measures will not be considered at this time until more information on variant spread is known and overall trends in public health indicators improve.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said he has been calling on the Ford government to use rapid testing in schools, long-term care homes, and essential work places for months. Asymptomatic contacts will now be asked to repeat testing on or after day 10 of their quarantine, while the entire household of any contacts and symptomatic individuals will be asked to stay home until the contact has a negative test.

The province administered just under 3,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday, bringing the total up to 339,644.

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