Province issues stay-at-home order, declares another emergency

Local health unit reports two new cases, none resolved; 684 more vaccine doses administered

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The Ontario government has declared a third provincial emergency – and will put in place a stay-at-home order – due to rising COVID-19 cases in the province.

The province made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, citing consultations with the chief medical officer of health and other health experts.

The decision comes after the province issued a four-week province-wide shutdown that began April 3.

A statement released by the province points to the threat to Ontario’s hospital system capacity and the increased risk posed by COVID-19 variants.

“The COVID-19 situation is at a critical stage and we must act quickly and decisively to stay ahead of these deadly new variants,” Premier Doug Ford said.

“By imposing these strict new measures, we will keep people safe while allowing our vaccination program to reach more people, starting with our high-risk population and identified hot spots. Although this is difficult, I urge everyone to follow these public-health measures and together we will defeat this deadly virus.”

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Data shared by the province shows COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 28.2 per cent between March 28 and April 5, while the number of people in intensive care has risen by 25 per cent.

STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

The stay-at-home order will come into effect Thursday and requires everyone to remain at home except for purposes defined by the province as essential, including going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health-care services such as getting vaccinated, exercise close to home and with people you live with, and work that cannot be done remotely.

The province also is limiting the majority of non-essential retailers, including shopping malls, to curbside pickup and delivery between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery allowed between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Discount and big-box stores will only be allowed to offer in-person retail for groceries, household cleaning supplies and pharmacy items.

Certain stores will be allowed to offer in-person retail by appointment only, under a 25 per cent capacity limit.

Schools and child-care centres will remain open for in-person learning and care in public health regions where it is allowed.

During the April break, education workers who provide direct daily support to students with special education needs, as well as all education workers in high-risk neighbourhoods in Toronto and Peel, will be eligible for vaccination.

CASES

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit reported two new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and none resolved.

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The new cases include one in Nipissing District and another in Parry Sound District.

The health unit does not specify which district each individual case resides. However, the new cases involve one person 19 years of age or younger and an individual between 40 and 59 years of age.

Both came into close contact with a case and are isolating at home.

The change brings the number of active cases up to 13 from 11 Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the health unit reclassified four existing cases as being associated with an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The four cases were previously identified as resulting from close contact with a case.

That same day, a new case was reported as also being associated with an outbreak.

On Wednesday, the health unit reclassified another case as outbreak associated, bringing the total number of active cases that fall into this category up to six. Another case also was reclassified as related to travel outside of the province.

It is unclear whether the outbreaks are in Nipissing or Parry Sound districts, or from another public health unit region.

There are currently no declared outbreaks in long-term care homes, retirement homes, schools or child-care centres in Nipissing or Parry Sound districts.

The health unit did not respond to The Nugget’s request for comment Tuesday. The Nugget has asked again for clarification and will provide an update if a response is received.

VACCINES

The health unit administered 684 more doses of COVID-19 vaccine, as of Wednesday.

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This includes first and second doses to both residents and non-residents who were immunized in the health unit district. The health unit’s last update was Tuesday.

A total of 22,637 residents have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, representing 20.8 per cent of the health unit district’s adult population. This may include residents who have received a dose outside of the health unit district.

Of those, 20,885 people, or 19.2 per cent of all adult residents, have only one dose, while 1,752 people, or 1.6 per cent of all adult residents, have two doses.

mlee@postmedia.com

Twitter: @mtaylorlee

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