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Stay-at-home order will control third wave, Ontario science advisers say

The group says that COVID-19 hospitalizations are up by over 40 per cent over the past two weeks
Ontario Premier Doug Ford answers questions from the media at a COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Wednesday, March 10, 2021. Ontario is expected to announce new public health restrictions to address surging COVID-19 case rates. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario’s science advisers say stay-at-home orders will control the third wave of COVID-19, which is being driven by rising rates of the more deadly variants of concern.

The Ontario Science Advisory Table makes the findings in its latest pandemic modelling data presented today.

Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the group, says short-term case projections will depend entirely on the public health measures implemented by the government and vaccination rates.

He says the province’s vaccine rollout is not reaching the highest risk communities, which is delaying its impact as an effective strategy to fight the pandemic.

Brown says the spread of variants threatens the province’s health system’s ability to deal with regular intensive care admissions and care for all patients.

The group says that COVID-19 hospitalizations are up by over 40 per cent over the past two weeks.

Meanwhile, The Canadian Press has learned that Ontario will announce a 28-day provincewide “shutdown” on Thursday to stop the spread of COVID-19 as an alarming spike in cases threatens the critical care system.

A source with knowledge of the restrictions discussed at an hours-long cabinet meeting Wednesday night said the final details of the new measures will be worked out Thursday morning.

The source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the announcement, said schools will remain open after the Easter weekend.

Premier Doug Ford urged Ontarians earlier this week to stay home and not make plans for the Easter long weekend in anticipation of the new rules.

The Canadian Press