Doug Ford warns that another provincewide lockdown is on the table for Ontario
As Ontario's third wave continues to spiral out of control, Premier Doug Ford is warning residents that another provincewide shutdown is on the table.
Speaking during a press conference at the Humber River Hospital Vaccination Clinic Tuesday, Ford said he's extremely concerned about the rising COVID-19 numbers, especially the highly transmissible variants of concern — adding that talks about potentially making changes to the province's response framework are underway.
"Everything is on the table right now," Ford said. "Be prepared. I am asking you, don't make plans for Easter. I won't hesitate to lock things down if I have to. I did it before, I'll do it again."
Ford added that he is extra concerned about the number of young people being admitted to intensive care units.
Ontario is reporting 2,336 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 36,100 tests completed. Locally, there are 727 new cases in Toronto, 434 in Peel, 229 in York Region, 194 in Durham, 144 in Ottawa and 123 in Hamilton.— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 30, 2021
The premier's warning comes after Dr. Peter Juni, scientific director of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, proclaimed Tuesday that the current COVID-19 situation in the province is "completely out of control."
According to the table, variants of concern now comprise 67 per cent of all infections in the province and are associated with a 63 per cent increased risk of hospitalization, a 103 per cent risk of ICU admission and a 56 per cent increased risk of death.
Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also currently higher than they were at the time of the provincewide shutdown in December, leading experts to call on the province to refrain from relaxing any more restrictions and to instead introduce stronger public health measures.
But Ford has continued to make changes to the framework in favour of lifting restrictions as cases have risen, with outdoor dining and outdoor fitness now permitted in even the strictest, grey-lockdown stage of the framework, and personal care services expected to reopen by appointment in grey zone regions come April 12.
Following today's announcement, however, it seems that could all change just in time for Easter.
"Nothing is more important than our health," Ford said Tuesday. "The economy, yes it's important, but that can wait. Without people's health, we won't have an economy."
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