The Ontario government is expected to provide more details sometime Wednesday about the newly issued home order, as public health units reported another 2,961 cases of COVID-19 and 74 more deaths from the disease.
At some point today, the province will publish the legal parameters for the order, which will take effect tomorrow, providing more details on the measures. The office of Prime Minister Doug Ford has stated that it will probably not be published until this afternoon.
From Thursday, residents will have to stay home, except for basic purposes such as shopping, access to health care and exercise. Here’s what you need to know about the new rules.
The county said officers and police would have the power to place the order at home and issue tickets to offenders, but gave no details on how this would happen in practice.
MONITORING Provincial officials say police have the power to enforce new regulations:
However, Toronto fire chief and emergency management chief Matthew Pegg told a news conference Wednesday afternoon that the city did not yet know how it was supposed to enforce the new rules.
“Literally, the best information we have right now comes from a media bulletin and transparency,” Pegg said. “It simply’s not the technical detail we need to evaluate or understand.
“We are currently sitting in a position where … we have not even seen a draft of the regulations.”
MONITORING The Toronto fire chief says the city is in the dark with new rules:
At a news conference Wednesday, Ford said people should leave their homes for basic reasons only.
“I know what essentials mean different things to different people … that’s why we all need to use their best judgment. If you’re not sure if a trip is absolutely necessary, it probably isn’t,” he said.
In a statement Wednesday morning, the Canadian Civil Liberties Union (CCLA) said it was concerned about the enforcement of the mandate and the lack of details so far “about the settlement of constitutional freedoms”.
Michael Bryant, executive director of the CCLA, said Ontario could not escape a pandemic.
“During the first wave of the pandemic, there was a disproportionate number of tickets for the homeless, the vulnerable and the racial minorities,” Bryant said.
Ontario under 2nd state of emergency
The order was announced yesterday as the province declared a state of emergency – the second of the COVID-19 pandemic – and revealed a series of new restrictions aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus.
They included extending out-of-school dropouts in five hotspots in southern Ontario – Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex – until at least February 10.
However, childcare centers for children who do not yet have a school will remain open.
The government has also reduced the opening hours for unnecessary retail stores that currently offer delivery and pick-up from the edge at 7 p.m. until 8 p.m. and imposed a maximum of five people at outdoor social gatherings.
The use of a mask is also recommended outdoors when physical distance is difficult.
Vaccine plans for long-term care by mid-February
The provincial government also said Wednesday that it plans to give the COVID-19 vaccine to all nursing homes and high-risk retirement homes by February 15th.
In a technical briefing this morning, members of the Ontario Vaccine Distribution Team said residents, staff and primary caregivers at the facility will receive their first doses by that date.
The plan is based on a previous commitment to give the COVID-19 vaccine to long-term care facilities in hot spots by 21 January.
Officials say the government is now able to transport the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine safely to long-term care facilities, which has allowed it to speed up vaccinations in nursing homes.
Long-term care homes have been severely damaged during the pandemic, with 3,063 COVID-19 residents dying since March.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Ford was asked about the “iron ring” the province had said it planned to secure around Ontario’s long-term care centers. In response, Ford asked first-line healthcare workers to be tested for COVID-19.
“It doesn’t go in through the walls and the ceiling … unintentionally though our great workers are coming,” Ford said.
The prime minister also told a news conference that Canadian troops could be called in again to help in some of the affected homes, although he did not provide details.
However, a senior Ford government official later told CBC News that the province does not believe any long-term care units are currently in need of military assistance. The Red Cross is already assisting with homes and no facility has such a staffing crisis that military support is required at this time, the official said.
The county said it had given more than 144,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine since Wednesday and about 8,000 people had received the two doses of the vaccine needed for complete immunization.
Ford later said the province has provided more than 150,000 doses of the vaccine so far.
“That changes on an hourly basis,” he said.
“We are emptying our freezers.”
Ford said the province now has the capacity to deliver 20,000 doses of vaccine a day and is working on 40,000 a day through February.
The county is currently focusing on vaccinating healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities, but says people over the age of 80 will be the first priority group to receive the vaccine when Ontario enters the second. vaccine release phase in April.
No paid sick days in the revised schedule
Absent mainly from the provincial plan, sick days were paid for low-wage workers.
During a briefing Tuesday, two doctors helping guide Ontario’s COVID-19 response said more social assistance, especially on paid days, would be needed to reduce further cases of the disease.
The lack of paid days for many of the province’s key workers remains a major obstacle to reducing the transmission of the new coronavirus to many of the affected communities, she said. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
“People need to be supported to do the right thing,” he told reporters.
WATCH Increasing Calls for Paid Days for Low Wages and Key Employees in Ontario:
In addition, health practitioners in both Toronto and Peel have repeatedly asked the provincial government to provide relief to workers who cannot afford to take sick leave.
Speaking yesterday, Ford said he did not want to double in on a federal program that offers $ 500 a week for those who need a work permit to isolate themselves. However, critics have pointed out that the federal initiative does not offer protection at work and operates for less than the minimum wage.
The new restrictions were announced a few hours after the release of provincial screenings showing that the virus is well on its way to flooding Ontario’s healthcare system.
Predictions show that deaths from COVID-19 will exceed those in the first wave of the pandemic, unless people dramatically reduce their contact with others.
The death toll now stands at 5,127
The new cases reported today include 738 in Toronto, 536 in Peel, 245 in Windsor-Essex, 219 in York, 171 in Hamilton and 154 in Ottawa.
Other public health units with double-digit or triple-digit increases were:
- Waterloo Area: 146
- Niagara Falls: 131
- Durham Area: 119
- Middlesex-London: 103
- Halton Area: 88
- Lampton: 72
- Southwest: 52
- Simcoe Muskoka: 50
- Brad County: 22
- Sudbury: 18
- Haldimand-Norfolk: 16
- Chatham-Kent: 14
- Eastern Ontario: 12
- Wellington-Daferin-Guelph: 11
- Huron-Perth: 11
- Peterborough: 10
(Note: All information used in this story can be found in the Ministry of Health COVID-19 checklist or in Daily Epidemiological Summary. The number of cases for each area may differ from that reported by the local public health unit, because local units report numbers at different times.)
The seven-day average of new daily cases fell for a second straight day, falling to 3,480 from the pandemic high of 3,555 on Monday.
The Ontario Laboratory Network processed 50,931 test samples for the new Koranovirus and reported a positive test rate of 6%, slightly lower than in recent days, showing rates of more than 7.5 percent.
There were 1,674 patients in hospitals with COVID-19. Of these, 385 were in intensive care and 276 required a ventilator to breathe.
The 74 additional deaths recorded in today’s update increase official tolls to 5,127.