Premier's office tries to clear up some questions regarding stay-at-home order

Premier Doug Ford puts on a mask in August 2020

The additional measures put in place were put in place to introduce enhanced enforcement measures to reduce mobility amid the pandemic.

As case numbers grow, it will mean more hospitalizations, more people in intensive care, and more deaths.

One of the experts behind the projections said that if the province's COVID-19 positivity rate is at five per cent, there will be more than 20,000 new cases reported each day by the middle of next month.

The data also shows a quarter of the province's hospitals now have no intensive care unit beds free and another quarter have only one or two beds free.

Pressure has been mounting on the government to do more to help essential workers with symptoms, but also rent to pay and groceries to buy.

Right now, we are asking people to stay home and only leave their home for essential purposes, which could include emergency maintenance of a secondary residence.

Tuesday's case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 222,023, including deaths and recoveries.

All employers must ensure that employees who can work from home are told to do so.

In what soon could become an inevitable yet one more grim development, Ontario officials are investigating whether a highly contagious, mutated strain of the COVID-19 virus could already be circulating in Canada.

"The risky United Kingdom variant of COVID is being found across the province ... if we don't move fast, our hospital ICUs could be overwhelmed by the beginning of February", added Ford.

Under the current lockdown measures, which were imposed on December 26, Brown said mobility and contacts between people "have not decreased".

The government has also restricted hours of operation for non-essential retailers now offering delivery and curbside pick up to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.

Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction.

Nearly 40% of long-term care homes have active COVID-19 outbreaks.

Another 41 people have died since yesterday, bringing the provincial death toll to 5,053.

"We'll be going to cabinet with recommendations".

"Please be part of the solution", she continued, "Stay home".

He added that the association has asked the provincial government for guidance surrounding what will be expected of police officers.

"The need for us to take further action that is meaningful and that is comprehensive is very real", he said.

Currently, the number of Ontarians infected with COVID-19 doubles every 35-40 days. "It will take the collective efforts of us all to defeat this virus".

Effective Thursday, a stay-at-home order will come into effect and enforcement measures will be bolstered to catch violators, Ford said.

Those who decide not to abide by orders will be subject to set fines and/or prosecution under both the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, (ROA) and EMCPA.

All enforcement personnel will also have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open (such as a park or house).

In five of the hardest hit areas of Ontario - including the Toronto area, nearby Hamilton, and Windsor-Essex across the border from Detroit - schools will remain closed until at least February 10.

"We recommend that Ontarians consult their local public health unit or municipality to understand what recreational amenities are open in their community".



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