Confusing but helpful- northern Ontario reacts to province's stay-at-home order

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2021

Residents will have to stay home starting Thursday except for essential purposes such as grocery shopping, accessing health care and exercising.

She also worries that there is a lot of confusion about what exactly people are allowed to do when and would like to see a "clearer line" from the province on how to stop COVID. "In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home", said the news release. "Our government is providing police and bylaw officers with the tools, and the authority, they need to enforce these critical restrictions and protect public health".

With one-third of Ontario's population ignoring normal COVID-19 pandemic precautions and with more people getting sick and dying, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has issued a stay-at-home order in the hopes that the "bad actors" out there will heed the advice.

Ontario's health minister has confirmed eight new cases of the COVID-19 United Kingdom variant in the province, bringing the total to 14 cases.

Two of the deaths reported today were individuals between 40 and 59 years old, 20 were individuals between 60 and 79 years old, and 52 were individuals over the age of 80.

"As you can see, we are consumed with delivering and administering our vaccines as quickly, efficiently and equitably as possible", said General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier.

"I know the stay at home order is a drastic measure, one we don't take lightly".

The Ministry of Health says 10,400 doses of vaccine have gone into people's arms so far.

Health officials say hospitalizations rose to 1,516 in the last 24 hours and 229 hospitalized people were in intensive care.

The Ontario government now hopes to begin the second phase of its vaccination plan - which will involve seniors outside of long-term care and in other forms of congregate care - as early as April, as larger numbers of federally approved vaccines become more available. The rationale is if the staff coming in and out of the facilities - the prime entry method of the virus - are vaccinated they can't bring the virus in with them.

As well, an additional 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered in 158 long-term care homes since December 31, 2020. Now that it's been demonstrated that the Pfizer vaccine can be safely moved away from very-low-temperature freezers, the government will be using it more widely, including with mobile teams.

On Jan. 11, Ontario received close to 196,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the province said today.

They expect to receive 2.3 million doses of the BioN-Tech/Pifzer and Moderna vaccines up to March 31.

When the province enters Phase Two in February or March and lasting through July, the goal, Hillier said, is to vaccinate 8.5 million people.

-People already suffering from high-risk chronic conditions, and their caregivers.

Officials listed five groups who will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2 of their distribution plan. This could include nurse practitioners, registered nurses and registered practical nurses, along with pharmacists, pharmacy students, interns and pharmacy technicians.

The number of recovered Ontario COVID-19 cases Tuesday was 3,353, higher than the tally of new cases.

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