Ford "very concerned" ahead of stricter COVID-19 restrictions announcement

Mar 31 2021, 9:02 am

Premier Doug Ford hinted that stricter COVID-19 restrictions could be coming after his cabinet meeting Wednesday.

He told Ontarians to “stay tuned” for an announcement coming Thursday, ahead of the Easter long weekend.

Ford made the pre-announcement during a news conference about the new $925 million vaccine production facility opening in Toronto.

“You’ll hear an announcement tomorrow but I am very, very concerned to see the cases go up,” Ford said.

“I’m very concerned to see the ICU capacity and we all have to be vigilant, and through the holidays over the next few days I’m just asking people don’t gather in large groups, don’t have big, big gatherings, follow the protocols of the Chief Medical Officer and we’ll be able to get through this.”

Ontario has seen more than 2,000 new COVID-19 infections per day for a week straight now, and Toronto’s top doctor Eileen de Villa has characterized the rise as a “worsening resurgence.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory wants simplification of COVID-19 rules and buy-in from residents to bring down infections.

“One thing that has been confusing for people -is we have so many rules applicable in different places,” he said at the same news conference as Ford. “I’m in favour of consistency. A degree of uniformity.”

He also asked for the “absolute, 100%, sustained co-operation of people” to reign in new infections as Ontarians continue to get vaccinated.

At least one Toronto doctor is looking for tighter rules from the Ontario government as hospitalizations climb.

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, asked Ford for action as ICU admissions rose to an all-time high of 421 in Ontario Wednesday.

Provincial officials have relaxed some rules in Grey-Lockdown zones recently, including allowing patio dining and outdoor fitness classes as of this week.

The province also said that personal care businesses could open as of April 12 in Ontario’s hot spot regions.

But since that announcement, Ford also hinted that he wouldn’t hesitate to tighten restrictions to protect people’s health if infections continue to soar.

On Wednesday, Ontario announced 2,333 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total count to 349,903 since the pandemic began.

Megan DevlinMegan Devlin

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