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COVID-19 stay-at-home order extended in Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound

(Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press) The provincial government is extending the stay-at-home measure and all existing public health and safety measures in Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound until at least March 9. York Region, meanwhile, will transition out of shutdown and return to the province’s COVID-19 response framework, the province said in a press release Friday afternoon. The region will be at red level starting at 12:01 a.m. on February 22. “Our government’s number one priority is the safety of all individuals and families, and that is why we are taking a gradual and cautious approach to bring regions back to the Framework,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement “These are difficult but necessary decisions, in order to protect against the COVID-19 variants and to sustain the progress we have all made together. Until the vaccines are widely available, we continue to urge all of them. Ontarians to follow public health advice and measures and stay home, stay safe and save lives. ”The province said earlier this month that it planned to cancel the order and move Toronto, Region of Peel, Region of York and North Bay towards its multi-level pandemic restrictions system next week. But top doctors in Toronto and Peel have since called for this to be delayed due to the presence of variant strains of the virus in their communities. Premier Doug Ford hinted Thursday that the province could accede to the request of Toronto and Peel, which recorded 376 and 264 more cases of COVID-19 in today’s update from the Department of Health. York Region has reported 108 more cases. At a press conference on Friday, Ford said he was listening to local health officials. “I know we are all tired. I know we have all sacrificed so much. But there is hope on the horizon,” he said. The province said Friday that in Toronto, Peel and North Bay-Parry Sound, the stay-at-home order will remain in effect until at least March 8, citing rates of COVID-19 which “still remain too high “and concerns about variants of the virus. The province also announced Friday that Lambton Public Health (Sarnia region) will be upgrading from Orange-Restrict level to Red-Control level due to deteriorating public health trends in the region over the past week. The change is also effective Monday at 12:01 am Officials say after returning to the framework, regions will need to stay at their level for at least two weeks, at which point the province will consider whether any changes need to be made. A region can be moved to a higher level in this window if changes need to be made, the province’s press release says. “While the health indicators have improved enough to allow us to bring an additional region back into the framework, we are not yet at the point where we can safely transition to the rest of the province,” said the Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of Health, in a statement. “Everyone is strongly advised to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, travel between regions only for essential purposes, and limit close contact to your household or those with whom you live. , regardless of the level of the frame you are in. Federal modeling presents disastrous picture Ford has also been asked about new modeling released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which warns that COVID-19 variants could lead to a resurgence of coronavirus cases across the country without stricter public health measures to prevent their spread. When asked why the province was easing restrictions in the face of the news, Ford said areas of the province that are behind the number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario are still on lockdown, and added that ‘he will always listen to health advice. “I’m listening to Dr Williams,” he says. Other public health units that saw a double-digit increase in COVID-19 cases on Friday were: Ottawa: 73 Hamilton: 43 Durham Region: 41 Waterloo Region: 41 Halton Region: 37 Simcoe Muskoka: 23 Windsor- Essex: 22 Niagara Region: 17 Wellington -Dufferin-Guelph: 17 Thunder Bay: 15 Eastern Ontario: 12 (Note: All numbers used in this article can be found on the Ministry of Health COVID-19 dashboard. Health or in its daily epidemiological summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, as local units report the numbers at different times.) Ontario has performed 65,372 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, and has recorded a positive rate. 2.1 percent, the lowest since October 16 of last year. The number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals fell to 689, from 758 the day before, and the fewest since early December. Of those, 269 were being treated in intensive care and 190 required a respirator to breathe, according to the Department of Health. Public health units also reported 47 more deaths of people with COVID-19, bringing the province’s official toll to 6,820. Vaccination schedule updated The province administered 16,967 doses of the vaccine yesterday, the highest number in a single day from the start of the vaccination campaign. A total of 217,715 people in Ontario have received both doses of a vaccine and are fully immune. Meanwhile, residents of Ontario aged 80 and over will be contacted about vaccination appointments in the coming weeks as the province expands its COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Provincial officials say senior physicians can start contacting older people in this age group while an online reservation system and service desk for appointments is still in development. Most appointments for these residents will begin in March, but officials say some public health units may move forward sooner once they complete immunizations for those with the highest priority, including long-care residents. duration. The province was due to receive nearly 157,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and says it expects its weekly company supply to vary between 173,000 and 186,000 doses through the end of March. Officials say Moderna vaccine doses for next week will be lower than expected, at 47,400, but supply is expected to increase in March. The increased supply will coincide with a planned expansion of vaccine deployment in Ontario to target the 80+ age group, group care seniors, and all Indigenous adults. Retired General Rick Hillier, who oversees the province’s immunization program, said the province hopes to vaccinate people over 80 by mid-March. Ford said the province is now preparing for phase two of its vaccination program, working with public health units across the province, and setting up mass vaccination sites. “It’s truly remarkable what our frontline partners have been able to do,” said Ford. “Now all they need are the vaccines,” Hillier said.

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