Ontario extending Toronto and Peel lockdowns, new restrictions to be announced
Doug Ford offered few details on what potential new measures might look like, except to say that he won't impose a curfew
TORONTO — Ontario will keep Toronto and Peel Region under lockdown and reveal new measures to fight the pandemic on Dec. 21.
Premier Doug Ford said Dec. 18 that restrictions set to expire next week in the two hot spots will remain in place and his government will contemplate new measures during emergency talks on COVID-19 this weekend.
He made the comments ahead of a teleconference with health officials and hospital leaders regarding the province’s surging infections.
“I want to listen to what’s happening on the ground within the hospitals, within (intensive care units),” he said. “We’re going to have a emergency meeting over the weekend and we’ll make a decision…moving forward.”
The meetings come amid calls from hospitals, doctors and nurses for stricter lockdowns in hard-hit regions.
The Ontario Hospital Association said Dec. 17 that the government needed to implement a four-week lockdown in every public health unit with 40 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
That would mean 11 public health units — including the hot spots of Toronto and Peel Region, as well as Simcoe Muskoka and Middlesex-London — would be affected.
The association said the province’s current lockdown restrictions should be “rapidly” reassessed by independent experts to determine if additional measures are required.
Ford has offered few details on what potential new measures might look like, except to say that he won’t impose a curfew.
Ontario reported 2,290 new cases of COVID-19 on Dec. 18 and 40 new deaths due to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 691 new cases in Toronto, 361 in Peel Region, 296 in York Region, 207 in Windsor-Essex, and 126 in Hamilton.
The province said 877 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 261 in intensive care. Of those, 168 people are on ventilators.
Ontario’s chief medical officer of health has said the province’s COVID-19 case load is headed in the wrong direction and he’s made new recommendations for Ford’s cabinet to consider.
Meanwhile, Ontario provided details on Dec. 18 about the 17 hospitals that will be distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.
The facilities, which include hospitals from Windsor to Thunder Bay, Ont., will join the University Health Network in Toronto and the Ottawa Hospital in giving the vaccine to health-care workers.
The hospitals in Toronto and Ottawa began administering the shots Monday, and the government said Dec. 18 that they have given over 2,300 doses to health-care workers thus far.
The province expects to receive an additional 90,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of the month.