COVID-19 modelling shows daily deaths could double by mid-February

Premier Doug Ford puts on a mask in August 2020

Canada's biggest province declared a new state of emergency Tuesday and is invoking a stay-at-home order as COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm Ontario hospitals.

All non-essential construction sites will also be closed.

More than 70 per cent of the Canadians who have died from COVID-19 to date were residents in long-term care homes. Stay home. Stay safe. "The impact on our health system is already greater today than we have ever seen in Ontario's history". "The system is on the brink of collapse".

Ontario reported 2,903 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including eight new cases of a variant from the United Kingdom.

There is a worry that without these steps, our hospitals could be overwhelmed by early February.

"I know the stay at home order is a drastic measure, one we don't take lightly. Urgent action is required to break this deadly trend of transmission, ensure people stay home, and save lives". I couldn't be any clearer.

Couto told the Globe and Mail that this measure is aimed at increasing enforcement for people doing things obviously wrong.

Ford said that provincial data shows that one third of Ontarians are not following provincial guidelines. "As simple as that", he said. "I'm talking about unionized members in the public sector, never mind folks in the private sector, never mind grocery store workers, never mind people who are working in these factories and other places where we understand workplace spread is a problem".

"In addition, all enforcement personnel will have the authority to temporarily close a premise and disperse individuals who are in contravention of an order and will be able to disperse people who are gathering, regardless whether a premise has been closed or remains open such as a park or house, the province said".

"The success of these measures will ultimately depend on you", Ford said.

The government has also restricted hours of operation for non-essential retailers now offering delivery and curbside pickup to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., and imposed a five-person cap on outdoor social gatherings.

All schools in the hotspot regions of Toronto, York, Hamilton, Peel and Windsor-Essex will also not return for in-person learning until February 10.

Forty per cent of Ontario's long-term care homes are experiencing outbreaks right now and one in 10 of the new cases reported in the province Tuesday occurred in long-term care. A Durham Region couple that tested positive for the United Kingdom variant has reportedly been charged with public-health related offences after initially telling public health officials they had no contact with travellers, which later proved to be false.

"If we do not follow these restrictions, COVID-19 will continue to aggressively spread before vaccines have the chance to protect us", Brown said, adding that grey zone level restrictions have not succeeded in reducing mobility among people. "I know the actions we announced today are hard, but they are absolutely necessary".

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