With COVID-19 numbers now at their highest levels yet since the start of the pandemic, Ontario is considering new measures that could make its stay-at-home order even more strict.
Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet are meeting again Friday to consider further restrictions to combat a worsening third wave that is pushing Ontario’s health-care system to the breaking point.
Ford is scheduled to make an announcement at 2:30 p.m. ET, alongside the ministers of health and labour, the solicitor general and the chief medical officer of health.
Ontario’s Science Advisory Table is to present its latest modelling shortly before 1 p.m. ET, a day after the daily COVID-19 count in the province reached a record 4,736 cases. According to a government source on Thursday, the province could see more than 18,000 new daily COVID-19 infections if current trends continue.
Doris Grinspun, head of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, says the organization is calling for a “complete lockdown” in the province, including a curfew. She says the RNAO wants the province to redefine essential services as only food and medications.
RNAO calls <a href=”https://twitter.com/fordnation?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@fordnation</a>: <br> 1. Redefine essential services to ONLY food & medications<br> 2. COMPLETE LOCKDOWN including curfew<br>3) <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/vaccinate?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#vaccinate</a> ON-SITE using all-hands-on-deck: hotspot neighborhoods & essential factories that will remain open. <br><br>BEYOND URGENT!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#onpoli</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/coronavirus?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#coronavirus</a> <a href=”https://t.co/5peAqTHmDY”>pic.twitter.com/5peAqTHmDY</a>
Ontario is set to make a formal request to the federal government for more than 600 critical care staff to help support the province’s hospitals, CBC has learned. The request comes as ICU admissions as a result of COVID-19 continue to rise in hot spots like Toronto.
The Canadian Medical Association is calling for a “truly national approach” in fighting COVID-19 as the third wave of the pandemic wreaks havoc on the health-care and public health systems.
Health-care resources should be deployed “where they are most needed to save the most lives,” the CMA said.
Further restrictions must also be considered in provinces and territories that are not experiencing the high rate of transmission seen in hard-hit Ontario and Quebec, the CMA said.
“Provinces with lower COVID-19 transmission rates must preserve their status in order to support jurisdictions in dire circumstances,” it said.
What’s happening elsewhere across Canada
WATCH | ICU nurse describes what it’s like to treat COVID-19 patients:
As of 7 a.m. ET on Friday, Canada had reported 1,096,722 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 83,142 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,500.
In Quebec, health officials reported 1,513 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths on Thursday. COVID-19 hospitalizations, as reported by the province, stood at 661, with 159 people in intensive care.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia on Thursday reported three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 42. In Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, health officials reported two new cases. One of the cases was related to travel within Canada while another was related to international travel, a statement said. New Brunswick reported eight new coronavirus cases. P.E.I. reported two new cases on Thursday.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba reported 153 new cases and one additional death on Thursday. The province also reported the P1 coronavirus variant of concern had been detected there for the first time.
Health officials in Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 293 new cases Thursday and two additional deaths. The province said that as of Friday, anyone age 48 or older would be able to book an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
In neighbouring Alberta, 1,646 new cases and five additional deaths were reported Thursday, and British Columbia reported 1,205 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths.
In the North, no new cases were reported in Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Yukon on Thursday.
WATCH | COVID-19 3rd wave takes hold across much of Canada:
The capital of Nunvut reported its first case of COVID-19 in weeks on Wednesday. As a result, all non-essential businesses, including government offices and schools, were ordered closed in Iqaluit, starting Thursday.
Nunavut’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson says more than 10 other people have had contact with the confirmed case, so others may have been infected.
–From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 7 a.m. ET
What’s happening around the world
As of Friday morning, more than 139.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. The reported global death toll stood at more than 2.9 million.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged legislators on Friday to approve new powers that would allow her to force lockdowns and curfews on areas with high infection rates.
The legislation seeks to end the patchwork of measures that have characterized the pandemic response across Germany’s 16 states. Passing the bill is an uphill battle for Merkel, with state governments reluctant to cede any authority over health care to the federal government.
“We are slamming on the brakes nationwide,” she told the German parliament. “I am convinced coming to an emergency stop across the country is urgent, it is overdue, because I have to say again today that the situation is serious, very serious. And we have to take it serious.”
Her speech came as the country recorded 25,831 new cases of COVID-19 overnight and 247 additional deaths, according to the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre.
In Asia, India closed its museums and tourist sites on Friday, including the iconic Taj Mahal, for a month to curb the country’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
India’s 217,353 new cases on Friday marked the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days and took total cases to nearly 14.3 million. India’s case count is second only to the United States, which has reported more than 31 million infections.
Deaths from COVID-19 in India rose by 1,185 over the past 24 hours — the highest single-day rise in seven months — to reach a total of 174,308, the health ministry reported.
–From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7 a.m. ET