Ontario reports 4,250 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations hit record-high

Yolanda Curtis
April 19, 2021

The premier of Canada's most populous province says he will be limiting outdoor gatherings to those in the same household amid a record wave of coronavirus infections fueled by variants.

"We have made the hard decision to give police and bylaw officers special authorities to enforce public health measures for the duration of the stay-at-home order", Ford said.

A spokesperson for the Ontario government told CTV News Winnipeg these travel restrictions mean no person from Manitoba or Quebec will be allowed into the province unless the person's principal residence is in Ontario.

The province also granted police officers the power to stop individuals on the street or in their vehicles to question their reasons for leaving the house, a measure several Ontario forces say they are rejecting.

Ford says restrictions will be strongly enforced.

Capacity limits have been reduced to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted.

Denmark has withdrawn the shot, and Norway said last week it would take more time to decide whether to resume use.

It's the fourth time this month that the province has tightened public-health restrictions in response to a surging third wave of COVID-19 cases.

New COVID-19 modeling for Ontario is showing that the province could see 10,000 new daily cases by the end of May and with such stark figures facing the health care system, the provincial government is enacting stronger restrictions in an effort to slow the spread.

Starting on Monday, Ontario is tightening restrictions further.

Ottawa police officers will be stationed 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the Ontario side of the Champlain Bridge, Portage Bridge, Chaudiere Bridge and Macdonald-Cartier Bridge, as well as the Quyon and the Bourbonnais ferries.

2,065 people are now hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ontario, up from 1,955 reported yesterday.

"The reality is there's few options left", Ford said, during Friday's briefing. That makes it even more critical for people to follow public-health measures, Dube said.

New models suggest that if Ontario's stay-at-home order remains for six weeks, cases will fall below current levels.

"Prior to any change in our enforcement strategy, we will notify the public on how we plan to implement the new provincial orders".

"But we have never shied away from doing what's necessary", he added. By comparison, just 35 vaccines would prevent a single case if high-risk communities were targeted.

Other public health units that reported case numbers in the triple digits today include Ottawa, Simcoe-Muskoka, Middlesex-London, Hamilton, Halton Region, and Niagara Region.

Ontario reported 4,812 new cases - another record - on Friday, up from Thursday's record of 4,736.

In a letter to all provinces and territories sent Friday morning, Ontario's Deputy Health Minister Helen Angus said the province was short thousands of nurses and asked whether they had any to spare.

The previously announced hospitalization has now been moved into intensive care at the QEH.

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