Stay at home orders extended

Ontario to get new AstraZeneca shipment, reserve doses for second shots

Ontario's stay-at-home orders and public health restrictions have been extended until June 2.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) has been vocal in their support for an extended stay-at-home order based on the current number of hospitalizations in the province, along with daily case counts.

Andrea Horwath, leader of the opposition at Queen's Park, said the extension of the stay-at-home order is the result of Ford ignoring the advice of health experts.

Under the order, stores providing essential goods remain open but are only permitted to sell grocery and pharmacy items.

The decision to keep outdoor sports shuttered contrasts with the opinion of health experts who stress these settings are safe.

The scientific director of Ontario's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table said this week that outdoor activities like golf, tennis and beach volleyball are low risk.

Dr. Peter Juni says that in some cases if physical distancing can not be maintained during the activity, people should wear masks.

Trudeau fired back at Ford's relentless attacks last week.

"We don't expect that there will be any, or perhaps just a few doses, that may expire", Health Minister Christine Elliott said.

Ford did say his goal is "to have the most normal a July and August as possible".

He has only made a total of four public appearances since April 16, two were at new conferences while in isolation and two were at question period.

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Ford also announced Thursday that youth between the ages of 12-17 will be eligible to book their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine as of May 31.

"At the same time, we want to see what is going to be the impact of our vaccination on our population at large".

The province says they will work with public health units to offer both doses of vaccine to youth aged 12 to 17 by the end of August, in collaboration with school boards and other partners.

"The federal government needs to protect us all from a fourth wave fueled by vaccine-resistant variants", Ford said. We must stay vigilant.

Meanwhile, Ontario passed another grim pandemic milestone on Thursday when the number of laboratory-confirmed cases of people with COVID-19 passed the 500,000 mark.

Thirty one more people have died. There are 1,632 people now hospitalized with COVID-19 across the province, including 776 in intensive care. The main issue right now is the load on our hospital system, ' said Dr. Williams. More details on Ontario's reopening plan will be provided at that time.

The health minister said the number of hospitalizations and patients in ICUs would have to go down and a backlog of surgeries would have to be worked through before the ban on outdoor sports could be lifted.

Ontario premier Doug Ford doubled down on his federal finger pointing on Thursday, accusing Justin Trudeau's government of "weak and porous" border policies that have allowed wealthy travellers to evade mandatory hotel quarantines by exploiting loopholes. The province ended in-person learning on April 19 as community transmission of the virus climbed.

On Monday, Dr. Williams said he wants to see schools re-open before anything else, and "as soon as we can".

Ontario reported another 2,759 cases of COVID-19 and 31 additional deaths linked to the virus this morning.

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