Ontario to announce decision on COVID-19 hot spot restrictions


"Earlier today, following the advice of local health officials and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we announced that the stay-at-home orders in the hardest hit regions of the province will be extended for an additional two weeks", Premier Doug Ford said Friday.

"I want to assure the people of this great province that we are ready to get vaccines into as many arms as possible, we simply need the supply", said Ford.

The government also made a decision to maintain the stay-at-home order for the North Bay, Ont., area - which has seen a spike in variants of COVID-19 - while loosening restrictions for York Region, which had sought the removal of the strictest measures.

Top doctors for Toronto and Peel have asked for that to be delayed until at least March 9 because of the presence of variant strains of the virus in their communities.

The province says a stay-home order will lift for York Region as it moves to the second-strictest category of Ontario's tiered pandemic restrictions framework next week. "I urge our federal government partners to do whatever it takes to get us more vaccines so we can better protect people and eventually defeat this deadly virus".

The government has been moving ahead with its economic reopening despite warnings it could set off a third wave of infections.

Ottawa is reporting 65 new COVID-19 cases Friday. Every other region is staying at the same level for at least another week, including Southwester Public Health.

The president of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario expressed similar concerns.

"What happened in York Region is political entirely", Grinspun said.

Lambton Public Health region meanwhile is moving from the Orange-Restrict level to the Red-Control level as a result worsening public health trends in the region over the past week.

Most of the province has already transitioned into the government's colour-coded reopening framework, which governs what restrictions are in place in each region depending on the current COVID-19 situation.

Primary physicians may begin that outreach while an online booking system and service desk for appointments are still in development.

"Our Vaccine Task Force, led by General Hillier, is executing our vaccine distribution plan with military precision and we have now administered over a half a million doses". He encouraged people to reach out to those they know in that age group to ensure they learn about vaccine opportunities.

The province continues to expand capacity and ramp up efforts for Phase Two of its vaccination rollout, expected to begin in April 2021.

Ontario was to receive close to 157,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and said it expects weekly supply from the company to range between 173,000 and 186,000 doses through the end of March.