Premier Doug Ford said that Ontario will release new COVID-19 modelling early next week and it will be “a wake-up call” for residents.
On Friday, Ford said that on January 12 the province will release new modelling data as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Earlier, the province reported over 4,000 new cases — the highest number to date.
“The modelling is a wake-up call to anyone who’s seen it, and the people of Ontario can see how serious the situation is,” he said.
The premier noted that while many residents understand the public health measures, there are “a lot” who are ignoring the safety measures and are meeting with others outside their household. He continued that if the people don’t cooperate, there’s only so much all three levels of government can manage.
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“I just can’t stress it enough, please please just follow the protocols we’re in a desperate situation and when we see the modelling you’ll fall off your chair. Everything is on the table right now, there will be further measures because this is getting out of control and we have to do everything it takes… everything is on the table right now,” Ford said.
“We are in a crisis, it’s scary.” He added that April, May, and June are the “crunch” months for vaccinations.
When asked if stricter measures are coming for the province Ford said it will be announced next week with the modelling.
“This is so, so serious, the most serious situation we’ve been in ever, ever since the beginning of the pandemic. I can’t stress this enough, please follow the protocols the health units have put forward.”
Ontario’s Association Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbra Yaffe also echoed the premier’s pleas and said the cases are “scary.”
She provided an update on the UK COVID-19 variant, which is 56% more contagious than the existing strains.
Yaffe said so far the province has been “pretty lucky” the cases have been in people who have travelled to the UK or are a close contact of a traveller and kept to their quarantine.
“But we might not be so lucky in the future. We need to consider all possible measures to contain this infection. We don’t want more people dying and ICUs being overwhelmed.”
While Yaffe said the province does not want to scare the population, she emphasized there is too much complacency, “as we look at the modelling and input from the medical officers we do need to consider more serious measures like in the spring.”
To date, there are a total of 208,394 cases with 175,309 recovered, and 4,882 reported deaths.