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. He also mentioned the prevalence of cases involving variants of concern, which have also been steadily increasing over the past month. We are now fighting a new enemy. Ontario is expected to announce new public health restrictions to address surging COVID-19 case rates.
The announcement came hours after a technical media briefing by Ontario's top health experts that shared a sobering assessment of the third wave of the pandemic in the province.
There will be prohibitions on indoor and outdoor dining, personal care services and sports and recreation services, and restrictions will be introduced for retail settings, and for wedding and funeral services and religious services.
One of the main services that have been removed with this "emergency brake" is both indoor and outdoor dining at restaurants. Essential stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores that primarily sell food can open at 50 per cent capacity, while all other retailers, including big box stores, are restricted at 25 per cent capacity. This includes prohibiting all indoor organized public gatherings and limiting outdoor gatherings to a five-person maximum, except for gathering with members of the same household.
The Education Minister confirmed that schools will remain open across the province until further notice.
Most of the new cases reported on Saturday are concentrated in hot spot regions in the Greater Toronto Area.
That's despite new modelling released by Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table on Thursday that shows the number of new cases in Ontario could drop to as few as 1,000 a day by the end of April if a stay-at-home order were implemented for up to four weeks, while vaccinations continue.
Ontario has also reported more than 2,000 new infections for the past seven consecutive days.
She said the latest shutdown stands to further erode her struggling industry, saying stylists and other beauty workers can't hold on much longer.
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Ontario's hospital intensive care units had 421 patients critically ill with COVID-19 as of Tuesday, more than at the worst point of the pandemic's second wave.
However, the province-wide emergency brake announced on Thursday - which the province is not calling a "lockdown" - does not include a stay-at-home order.
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.
"The best weapons we have for short-term control are the public health measures like masks, physical distancing, hand hygeine, [and] staying outside if you need to meet people and these measures only work if people understand them and can follow them", Dr.
"Younger Ontarians are ending up in hospital, the risk of ICU admission is two times higher, and the risk of death is one and a half times higher for patients", Brown said. Warner says the whole family is now sick and the woman recently needed to be intubated.
The only other difference is that the shutdown is provincewide and will impact all 34 of Ontario's public health units.
Brown said the province's vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities, hampering its impact as an effective strategy to fight the pandemic.
The shutdown rules are quite similar to the older version of the grey zone, the strictest tier in the province's COVID-19 framework.
"He marched us right into grave danger".