“We need people to hunker down right now and stay home”; Premier hints at more strict COVID-19 measures

Premier urging Ontarians to hold in until mass vaccinations can begin

A stern warning from Ontario’s premier as the province-wide caseload continues to grow: “We’re in a desperate situation.”

Premier Doug Ford on Friday hinted that more drastic measures might be needed as people continue to ignore the health and safety guidelines needed to control the spread of COVID-19. “Day after day, we hit new records in cases as hospital capacity is stretched to new limits. But we have to do everything we can right now to save lives. We need people to hunker down right now and stay home,” he said during a Friday morning media conference from Queen’s Park. “If these basic measures continue to be ignored, the consequences will be more dire. The shutdown won’t end at the end of January. And we will have to look at more extreme measures. In the meantime, more people will get sick or hospitals will become overwhelmed. So please, I’m asking all Ontarians, please stay home and save lives.”

This warning comes despite many politicians being caught travelling abroad over the holidays, flouting the very rules they urged others to abide by. This includes now-former Finance Minister Rod Phillips. Ford says he will hold any other rule breakers accountable. I think we addressed that very clearly as decisive. We took action. He, Mr. Phillips, has been held accountable. It’s unfortunate, the whole situation.”

Friday’s record-breaking caseload update of over 4,200 comes 14 days after Christmas. “Today’s numbers are, to be frank, they are scary,” said Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe. “It’s going the wrong way. We have more and more people hospitalized. More and more people in ICU more and more people on ventilators.”

Yaffe adds the virus spread is so great, it’s impacting some groups it really didn’t affect as much before. “We have increased rates of infectivity, of positivity, even in children now. From since the middle to the end of December, the rate the percentage of positive children went up dramatically.”

Premier Ford urged Ontarians to stick to COVID-19 health measures just a little longer, that further doses of COVID-19 vaccines are expected. “We have to hang in there till April, April, May and June. We’re hoping we’ll get 5 million doses every single month,” he said, adding the federal government needs to expidite delivery. “I spoke with the Prime Minister last night about the need for more reliable vaccine supply to meet our rapidly growing capacity. Every single day, we’re getting more and more needles into people’s arms and protecting more and more our frontline health care workers, long term care residents and most vulnerable. But we’re quickly running out.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday stated, with current agreements in place with suppliers, the country will have enough doses of one vaccine or another, for all Canadians who want one, by the end of September. “We need to hang in there,” said Trudeau.