“The new varieties are more dangerous than ever. They spread faster and more harmful than the virus we fought last year,” Ontario Premier Duck Ford told a news conference in Toronto on Thursday. “This is a new epidemic. We are fighting a new enemy.”
When retail stores and mails are open to a limited capacity, there will be no indoor or outdoor dining in Ontario, and all personal care and fitness facilities will be closed. Indoor community meetings are prohibited, while outdoor meetings are limited to five people.
Although some Ontario students learn almost from September, schools are still open for private learning.
In a statement released Thursday, the Ontario government, after consultation with its chief health officer and other health professionals, said it would “impose provincial-level emergency brakes” as a result of the dangerous rise in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitals.
While the Ford government has said it is concerned about the mental health of Ontario residents, the province has stopped issuing shelter orders.
Ford said Ontario, which has more than 14 million residents, will have the most restricted locks in North America next month.
But public health experts say they are concerned about Toronto and its neighboring suburb of Peel, which has been locked up since the end of November and could not prevent the virus from spreading.
Ontario officials released a new modeling on Thursday that shows variations are increasing at an alarming rate, and even with a shutdown, new daily cases are expected to take several weeks to reduce hospital admissions.
Provincial modeling predicts that if the new daily case is not significantly slower, ICU enrollment will double from an already historic level in a few weeks.
“One family member, often a parent or grandparent, is in intensive care, while other family members may have liked the milder form of the disease. Leading Dr. Adolstein Brown said when the new modeling details were released.
Ford said Ontario has never been in intensive care in its history. With new facilities and at least two field hospitals already open, Ford announced that dozens of hospital beds will be available at the Toronto conference facility in the coming days.
Dr. Theresa Tom said there has been a 64% increase in new variant cases detected in Canada in the past week alone. He said the P.1.1.7 variant was the first to be found in the United Kingdom, and described the current variation as “the tip of the iceberg”.