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article imageOntario to go into lockdown amid rising coronavirus cases

By Karen Graham     Dec 23, 2020 in Health
Canada’s most populous province - with 14 million people, or about 38 percent of Canada's 38 million people. is to enter a “hard lockdown” as Ontario experiences an alarming surge in new coronavirus cases before the Christmas holiday
On Wednesday, Ontario's provincial health officials reported 2,408 new cases of the COVID-19, marking the ninth straight day of case counts surpassing 2,100.
Wednesday's case count is the second-highest daily case count, with the last highest case count logged on Dec. 17 when 2,432 infections were recorded.
A total of 56,660 COVID-19 tests were completed in the province in the last-recorded 24-hour period, giving a positivity rate of 4.8 percent, according to the Ministry of Health. This brings the total to 162,663 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario reported to date.
Public Health Ontario
There are at least 1,002 patients infected with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals. Of those patients, 275 are in the intensive care unit (ICU) - with 186 of those patients on ventilators. At this same time last week, there were 932 COVID-19 patients in Ontario hospitals and 256 of those patients were in the ICU.
Ontario hospitals are in the same boat as many hospitals in the United States. The surge in coronavirus cases in the province threatens to overwhelm healthcare workers and put the number of ICU beds at risk of disappearing.
On Monday, COVID-19 modeling shows that the number of infected patients in Ontario’s ICUs will surpass 300 within the next 10 days in all possible scenarios. And looking at worst-case scenarios, the modeling shows that ICU patients could reach 1,500 by the middle of January.
The Ontario Hospital Association has already issued an announcement stating that healthcare workers are “stressed and overstretched” from the surge in cases.
Premier Doug Ford orders a lockdown
On Monday, Premier Ford ordered a "hard lockdown," citing the rising number of cases in the province. “Thousands of lives are at stake now,” said Ford, as he announced a slate of new restrictions that go into effect on December 26, Boxing Day. “If we fail to take action now, the consequences could be catastrophic."
The Guardian is reporting that the lockdown will last for two weeks for northern communities in the province – and a full month for densely populated cities in the south.
Toronto and the Peel Region, the two worst-hit areas, have been in lockdown for nearly a month, with indoor dining, salons, and gyms all closed. Only “essential” businesses — such as grocery stores and pharmacies — have been allowed to remain open.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, as of Wednesday, Canada has recorded 525,585 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 14,444 deaths due to the coronavirus.
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