A province-wide Stay-at-Home order to prevent COVID-19 spread began in Ontario on Thursday.
It took effect at 12:01 am and is scheduled to last for at least four weeks. Additionally, another state of emergency has been issued for the province.
It’s the province’s second such order since the pandemic began, and Premier Doug Ford announced the measure after criticism that the shutdown imposed last week wouldn’t be strong enough to fight the growing third wave of COVID-19 infection.
All Ontarians must stay home except for essential trips outside for exercise, groceries, pharmaceuticals, trips to medical appointments or work that cannot be done remotely.
Many businesses deemed non-essential also had to close.
Although schools across the province can remain open, Toronto and Peel’s local health authority decided to pause classroom learning this week as infections and hospitalization climbed.
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Ontario has now seen about 3,000 daily COVID-19 cases for six straight days, and ICU admissions crossed the 500 threshold this week to reach their highest point all pandemic.
Ford said Wednesday that the rate of increase for ICU admissions has now surpassed the government’s worst-case scenario predictions, which is partly what prompted him to issue the Stay-at-Home order.
While the order is in effect, Ontarians are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible.