Ontario extends stay-at-home order

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: FANSHAWE STUDENT UNION PUBLICATIONS
Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that Ont. would be extending its stay-at-home order until at least June 2.

Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that Ontario’s stay-at-home order will continue until at least June 2.

The ongoing order had been set to end May 19. As new COVID variants continue to spread, health officials have recommended an extension to the stay-at-home order that was initially implemented on April 6.

“While we are seeing positive trends as a result of the public health measures put in place, we cannot afford to let up yet,” said Premier Ford in a statement. “We must stay vigilant to ensure our ICU numbers stay down and our hospital capacity is protected. If we stay the course for the next two weeks, and continue vaccinating a record number of Ontarians every day, we can begin looking forward to July and August and having the summer that everyone deserves.”

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This past week (May 2-8), the provincial cases rate decreased by 14.8 per cent, with the positivity rate also decreasing to 7.7 per cent compared to 8.6 per cent the previous week. However, the high alert threshold for positivity rates is 2.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, provincial health officials logged 2,759 new infections Thursday, up from the 2,320 cases confirmed on Wednesday and 2,073 infections recorded on Tuesday.

Ford continued to push stronger border control measures at today’s news conference, suggesting the current measures are not strong enough to protect against more contagious variants.

Additionally, starting May 31, the province will begin administering Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to youth aged 12-17 in an effort to finalize plans to safely reopen Ontario.

Students in publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province will continue to attend school remotely. The province says it is still assessing data to determine if and when students can return to in-person learning.

According to a statement, the province could consider reopening outdoor recreational amenities on June 2, depending on current trends.

“While the latest data shows that public health measures are having an impact, the situation in our hospitals remains precarious and variants continue to pose a significant risk,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott in the statement. “Experience from other jurisdictions shows that driving transmission to very low levels is needed in order to end the third wave. We must stay the course as we continue to quickly vaccinate more Ontarians, including our children and youth.”