Ford says there will be 'further restrictions moving forward'

Ontario Premier Doug Ford discusses the COVID-19 vaccine rollout adjustments at Queens Park Toronto

Ontario has seen almost 6,000 new cases in the past two days, with Peel Region's top doctor ordering all schools to be closed.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he asked for one additional day to give parents time to prepare, but Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said the shutdown is needed immediately.

The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Ending in-person learning should only be done as a last resort and will be ineffective if not accompanied by other stricter measures that include things like ... paid sick days for essential workers, closure of non-essential retail businesses and where possible, sending all staff to work from home", the letter says.

The province has documented almost 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past five days, and hospitals now have more COVID-19 patients in intensive care than at any other time during the pandemic.

Ten deaths were linked to the virus on today's report and 12 on Sunday's update from the province. The expectation is that trend will likely have continued into this week, with concerns raised about variants, how younger people are being affected, and the increasing pressure on hospitals. The province's daily counts topped 1,000 both for the time periods between Thursday to Friday, and Friday to Saturday. The current five-day test positivity rate is 5.1 per cent provincially and 4.3 per cent in Winnipeg.

There were 955 new cases in Toronto, 561 in Peel, 320 in York, 165 in Ottawa, 128 in Hamilton and 101 in Durham.

"Cases have surged and people are having much higher numbers of contacts", said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Tuesday. Heather Morrison says there are eight active reported cases on the Island.

Ontario also reported 494 patients in intensive care because of COVID-19 and 293 on a ventilator. The province has four active reported cases.

Federal politicians and medical experts warn that COVID-19 vaccines are helping but will not be the pandemic panacea.

However, she added that the cases involving the strain first seen in Brazil are still a small percentage of the COVID-19 cases in Whistler overall. The province is moving into a second phase of its vaccination campaign, which includes inoculating essential workers who can not work from home, people with high-risk health conditions and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.

"And coming in quite ill", Williams said.

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1950 or earlier, Indigenous people 18 and older, and those who have certain medical conditions were able to book their appointments through the online portal.

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