Province declares state of emergency

Cheryl Sanders
March 17, 2020

"Our government is taking an important step to protect Ontarians by declaring a provincial emergency through the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, establishing Ontario's ability to quickly implement and enforce orders in the public interest", said Solicitor General Jones.

He says this is an unprecedented time in our history and this decision was not made lightly.

All facilities for indoor recreation, public libraries, private schools, licensed childcare centres and theatres will close immediately. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery stores, convenience stores as well as public transit will continue, but the province has placed a prohibition on gatherings of more than 50 people.

Provincewide, nine more cases have been confirmed, bringing the Ontario total to 186 including five recoveries.

This comes into effect immediately, and the province will reassess the situation following the two-week state of emergency.

The premier, through the Lt. Governor, can order an initial state of emergency for a period of up to 14 days.

"We must do everything possible to avoid overwhelming our health-care system", he said. Health experts are recommending people practice social distancing to lessen the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Ford said health authorities will add 75 critical-care beds and 500 post-acute care beds and have purchased additional medical supplies, including face protection, gowns and gloves.

Tuesday's number is down significantly from Sunday's record of 42 new cases in Ontario.

The 32 new cases represent the second largest one-day leap since the outbreak began, following Saturday's increase of 42 new cases.

Majority of new patients are reported to be self-isolating, but other information - including their ages and how they became infected - is sparse.

The province has earmarked $100 million for healthcare resources, with another $200 million being promised from the federal government.

He said the province has been preparing for every scenario.

Yesterday, the province and Ontario Health started to deploy approximately 130 nurses to conduct symptom assessments and referrals among callers who request a callback.

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