Ontario reports 2,557 new COVID-19 cases

'Emergency brake' Ontario to enter month-long lockdown

New daily cases in the province have more than doubled since the first week of March.

"You'll hear an announcement tomorrow", he said, without providing further details.

"We are in regular contact, daily contact with the local medical officers of health and with Dr. Williams and the public health measures table ... if we need to take action and put on the emergency brake, we won't hesitate to do that", Elliott said.

The third wave of COVID-19 in Ontario is being driven by infectious variants that are straining that province's hospitals with increasingly ill patients.

The move comes amid soaring case counts in much of the province, which reported more than 2,300 cases on Wednesday. "This is the challenge of the new variants", he said.

Ontario says 84,060 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Wednesday's update. The latest analysis suggests variants of concern account for more than 65% of all infections in Ontario, with a 60% higher risk of hospitalization, double the risk of admission to intensive care and a more than 50% higher risk of death.

Although COVID-19 cases are rising in communities, Brown said schools should be the last service to close because of its damaging effects.

"We'll make the tough decision but it's the right decision. And we can not vaccinate quickly enough to break this third wave, this is the challenge of the new variants", Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, said Thursday morning.

Salons, barber shops and other establishments offering personal care services were also slated to reopen in grey zone regions next week - something that may now simply remain an unfulfilled promise.

The letter says doctors are seeing younger patients on ventilators and many are parents of school-aged children.

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