Ontario to present new COVID-19 models ahead of expected shutdown announcement

Premier Doug Ford announcing the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. 8 February 2021

The premier will speak at a news conference in Toronto at 1:30 p.m.to announce the changes.

If Ontario implemented a stay-at-home order for another four weeks while continuing vaccination efforts, COVID-19 cases could fall between 1,000 to 1,500 daily by the end of the April, according to the province's latest modelling.

A source with knowledge of the restrictions discussed at an hours-long cabinet meeting Wednesday night says the final details of the new measures will be worked out this morning.

Schools are scheduled to continue normally next week, though the province has not yet decided what will happen after the spring break, which takes place the week of April 12, the sources said.

Ford has urged families to not make plans as the Easter weekend approaches with cases reaching highs of 2,300 this week.

On Wednesday, Toronto reported 883 new COVID-19 cases, with 29 new admissions putting the number of people in hospital at 330, including 53 patients in intensive care.

More than 150 intensive care unit doctors signed an open letter to Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliott, and chief medical officer Dr. David Williams on Thursday, calling for new, stricter, measures.

The physicians noted that variants of concern have been quickly spreading across Ontario, which has impacted ICU capacity.

Variants now account for about 67 per cent of all new infections in Ontario, the science table says, and seem to be causing more serious forms of COVID-19 in a younger cohort of people than seen during the first or second waves.

In addition, patients admitted to intensive care units continue to get younger, as 46 per cent of people ages zero to 59 were in ICUs across the province between March 15 to 21, compared to only 30 per cent between December 14 to 20.



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