Ontario reports eight more United Kingdom variant cases

  • Ontario reports eight more United Kingdom variant cases

Ontario reports eight more United Kingdom variant cases

With one-third of Ontario's population ignoring normal COVID-19 pandemic precautions and with more people getting sick and dying, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has issued a stay-at-home order in the hopes that the "bad actors" out there will heed the advice.

"There will be soon some really dark days ahead, some turbulent waters, but we will get through this", Ford said.

Ontario hospitals will become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and daily deaths will double from 50 to 100 between mid-January and the end of February without further action, public health officials said on Tuesday.

And those projections don't include the potential for more infectious variants of the coronavirus to run wild in the province, something that could bring the doubling time for new cases down to as little as 10 days by March. Since January 1st 198 LTC residents and 2 LTC staff have died of COVID-19.

Schools in Toronto, Peel, York, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex will not go back to in-class learning until at least February 10.

That decision will be announced by January 20 by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health. "The impact on our health system is already greater today than we have ever seen in Ontario's history", said Brown.

As of Thursday, everyone in Toronto (like all of Ontario) is required to remain in their homes "with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work".

The stay at home order is meant to limit people's mobility, which is one of the primary means of transmission for COVID-19.

"All we're asking is cooperation from the people to stay home".

"The system is on the brink of collapse", Ford said.

Outdoor gatherings are now limited to five people and wearing a face mask or covering is now recommended outdoors when you can't physically distance.

Non-essential stores however, such as hardware or offering curbside pickup and delivery must operate in hours of 7 a.m.to 8 p.m.

Julie Kwiecinsky with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business slammed the approach. A Durham Region couple that tested positive for the United Kingdom variant has reportedly been charged with public-health related offences after initially telling public health officials they had no contact with travellers, which later proved to be false.

Rocco Rossi with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce agreed.

"Effectively a curfew on smaller businesses, a promise of enforcement on both individuals and businesses", he said.

"All enforcement personnel will also now have the authority to "temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order" and disperse people who are gathering anywhere".

As for children who aren't of school age, daycares and child care centres will remain open.

However, that was not one of the new measures introduced.

Given the amount of travel between Canada and the United Kingdom before flights were temporarily suspended December 20, "we should be operating under the assumption we already do have community transmission", said Dr. Irfan Dhalla, a general internist and associate professor at the University of Toronto.

"Please do everything you can to stay home as much as possible right now".