Mississauga and Brampton seeing highest daily COVID-19 cases since January

Ontario to go into month-long COVID-19 shut-down starting April 3

Ontario is pulling its emergency brake and putting the province into at least a 4-week long shutdown beginning Saturday.

A province-wide shutdown went into effect starting today (April 3) and will last at least four weeks in an effort to reduce case numbers and hospitalizations across the province. 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.

Hours into the new provincewide "shutdown" Ontario reported 3,009 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 3,089 cases a day earlier.

"The cost of inaction is simply too high", Ford stated in his announcement.

While the shutdown comes with its own set of new or renewed regulations and restrictions, some of those are already in play here in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region, where Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore has already extended a Section 22 Class Order that limits the number of people allowed to gather in one space to five, both indoors and outdoors.

Schools are slated to reopen after the end of this week's postponed spring break, which concludes on April 9.

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

"What we are introducing is an emergency brake shutdown that allows some activities to be carried out but the lockdown, we know, with the warmer weather coming, with all that we've asked Ontarians to sacrifice, is too hard to do".

All indoor and outdoor sports and recreation facilities are also prohibited from operating. "This is the challenge of the new variants", said Brown.

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

"We need to take action now", says Ford, noting the situation is not unique to Ontario, as provinces across the country as well as some states are facing similar challenges".

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"This is a new pandemic. We're fighting a new enemy". With these new variants, the risk of ICU admissions is two times higher.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, who presented the modelling data, began by saying COVID-19 is killing people faster and younger and they are seeing entire families ending up in ICU.

The Premier's change in the course shows just how much of a threat the variants of concern pose on the province's ability to limit and control a third wave of the virus.

The spread of variants threatens the province's health system's ability to deal with regular intensive care admissions and care for all patients, he said.

With more than 800 admissions - nearly double what was seen in the height of the second wave - it is "definitely possibility" that doctors would have to implement a triage protocol, stated Brown.

That means physicians would have to determine who is most likely to survive their illness for 12 months and allocate care accordingly, leaving those who don't meet the criteria without care. "Knowing that non-essential stores need to open kind of makes me anxious". It is estimated that over 245,000 surgeries have been delayed, cancelled or postponed throughout the pandemic.

The latest round of measures stop short of the "stay-at-home" order imposed during another wave of infections in January.

It wasn't immediately clear if the shutdown would include a stay-at home order.

Ontario is reporting 2,557 COVID-19 cases Thursday with 23 deaths.

Health unit regions transitioned back to the COVID-19 Response Framework, with five colour-coded levels of varying restrictions.

Over the same time, the WDGPH case positivity rate has increased from 1.3% to 1.9%.

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