The new stay-at-home order will last four weeks and require non-essential retail to close
4:20 pm Ontario is expanding COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to people aged 18 and up in hot spot neighbourhoods.
Premier Doug Ford said today that people living in areas with the highest transmission rates will be prioritized as part of Phase 2, starting with the most at-risk regions in Toronto and Peel. Eligibility will expand to other hot spots based on transmission patterns.
“Mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over,” the government said in a statement. “Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighborhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in those hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within those communities.”
The provincial booking system for vaccination appointments will extend eligibility in hot spots on Friday, April 9.
3 pm Premier Doug Ford has declared a third state of emergency and is issuing another stay-at-home order, which takes effect at 12:01 am tomorrow and will last four weeks.
With variants of concern causing a surge in new COVID-19 cases, Ford said patients in the GTA are having to be flown to other parts of the province for care. He also said intensive care unit admissions are increasing faster than the worst-case scenario predicted by experts.
“Things are extremely, extremely serious right now and I’m extremely concerned,” Ford said. “The situation is evolving rapidly, hour by hour, and as things change, as we learn more about these deadly new variants, as we see new problems arise, we need to adapt.”
Ford said the new stay-at-home order will be similar to the previous one with a few exceptions. Grocery stores and pharmacies will continue to have in-person shopping with restrictions. However, big-box stores will only be able to sell essential items, such as groceries, medicine, personal care items, cleaning supplies and pet supplies.
Non-essential retailers must close for in-person shopping, but can operate from curbside pick-up from 6 am to 9 pm. Shopping malls will be limited to specific purposes, such as access to designated pick-up locations via appointment. Enforcement of residential evictions will also be suspended.
The new rules are in addition to the province-wide shutdown rules, which remain in effect.
The province is also expanding eligibility for vaccination. Starting next week, education workers who support students with special needs, as well as education workers in hot-spot areas in Toronto and Peel, will be eligible. As vaccine increases, Ford said eligibility will expand to other hot spots and all education workers as supply allows.
“The current level of vaccination is not enough to prevent the spread of the virus that we’re currently seeing,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said. She added the mobile teams will be organize to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations and locations occupied by large employers in hot spots to people age 18 or over.
Pop-up clinics will be set-up in hot spots as well.
Ford said that 40 per cent adults in Ontario will be vaccinated by end of four-week stay-at-home order.
The stay-at-home order requires people to stay at home and only go out for essential reasons. Employers are also being told to ensure employees can work from home if possible, and labour inspectors will enforce rules among businesses, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.
Ontario is reporting 3,215 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 new deaths on April 7 as hospitalizations continue to soar.
The province detected 3,065 new cases on Tuesday, 2,938 on Monday and 3,041 on Sunday. The seven-day rolling average has been steadily increasing, reaching 2,988 on Wednesday.
Ontario completed 49,889 tests in the past 24 hours, marking a positivity rate of 6.4 per cent – down from 8.9 per cent a day earlier.
Today’s count comes as Premier Doug Ford is expected to announce a province-wide stay-at-home order to combat surging infections and ICU admissions. Citing anonymous government officials, CBC and CTV have reported that Queen’s Park will close all non-essential retail for a month across Ontario starting tomorrow.
“We’re going to have further restrictions moving forward very, very quickly,” the premier said during a press briefing on Tuesday, adding that measures would specifically target “hot areas.”
Ford is holding a news conference alongside Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams at 2 pm today.
Meanwhile, the province administered 104,382 vaccinations in the past day, bringing the provincial total to 2,726,221 doses administered and 324,783 people fully vaccinated. To date, 636,718 COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered in Toronto.
There are currently 27,359 total active cases in the province, and hospitalizations jumped from 1,161 on Tuesday to 1,397 today. There are 504 patients in intensive care due to COVID-19, including 311 on ventilators.
An additional 126 confirmed B117 cases have been reported as of Wednesday, along with one additional B1351 case and 14 more P1 cases.
There have been 370,817 total COVID-19 cases in Ontario since the start of the pandemic and 7,475 deaths.
The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:
Toronto = 1,095
Peel = 596
York Region = 342
Ottawa = 225
Durham Region = 187
Middlesex-London = 113
City of Hamilton = 104
Halton Region = 75
Region of Waterloo = 74
Simcoe Muskoka District = 68
Niagara Region = 46
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 42
Windsor-Essex County = 38
Eastern Ontario = 32
Sudbury & Districts = 29
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 22
Hastings Prince Edward = 18
Brant County = 17
Haldimand-Norfolk = 17
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District = 12
Peterborough = 10
Thunder Bay District = 9
Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge = 9
Southwestern = 9
Porcupine = 8
Northwestern = 6