After analyzing other jurisdictions around the world experiencing COVID-19 surges driven by variants of concern, the local health officials say Ontario is not unique in that it needs strict lockdowns over large areas to discourage travel, cut down on unnecessary outings, and reduce transmission.
"We were getting just way too many cases coming in, and we wanted to make sure that we're keeping our schools as safe as possible", she said. "Many of them deteriorate quite quickly and have to be admitted to the ICU".
Canada has averaged almost 5,200 new coronavirus cases per day over the past week, and has recorded a total of more than a million positive tests and 23,000 deaths.
Of the 328 patients hospitalized as of Tuesday, 96 are in critical care. "This is a reminder that COVID-19 can impact people of all ages and severe illness can occur at any age". It comes amid a month-long provincewide shutdown to combat rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
"Obviously I think the big message here is that the third wave is very much here", Loh said.
On Monday, the letter was published on social media by Etches.
"Younger people think they are invincible", tweeted Dr. Kevin McLeod, an internal medicine specialist in Vancouver. "You have to turn attention on the whole province, but we're really focusing on the hot areas".
Under the last formal stay-at-home order, people were mandated to stay home for all but essential purposes, such as work if they are unable to work remotely, trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, medical appointments and outdoor exercise.
Days after a provincial shutdown was put in place, Ontario Premier Doug Ford hinted at further restrictions to come. A summary of the conversation provided by the Prime Minister's Office said they both agreed that it is important to keep working together on the vaccine rollout.
"No one is protected unless everyone is protected", Tam said.
Over 6.75 crore COVID vaccine doses administered in India so far
He added that there has been an increase of 24 per cent in the database for HCWs in the past few days. Registrations of persons aged 45 years and above will continue to be permitted on CoWIN platform.
The feds have delivered more than 10 million doses to provinces but as of last night, 3.5 million doses were not administered.
She said the variants are more highly transmissible and therefore more risky.
Tam said vaccines are helping but warned they aren't a panacea and, with the variants exploding, there is still a need to limit interactions and to wear masks. Over the past week, experts have seen an average of 6,100 new cases and 31 deaths reported daily, Tam said.
More than 90 per cent of confirmed variant cases are the B.1.1.7, first identified in the United Kingdom.
He said the government will be "very clear tomorrow".
Tam pushed again against Canadians travelling anywhere at the moment, be it internationally or within the country.
The P.1 variant is also growing.
Lab studies suggest vaccines are less effective against this variant, she said. Toronto Public Health says in-person learning is set to resume in Toronto on April 19, after next week's spring break.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce's office issued a statement Tuesday saying that schools have remained safe through the pandemic according to Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and local medical officers of health.