Ontario could announce new restrictions today to curb surging COVID-19 rates

TORONTO — Ontario could announce new public health restrictions today to curb surging cases of COVID-19 which are straining hospital capacity.

The province’s associate medical officer of health said Thursday that additional recommendations have been made to cabinet.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe said the situation in the province is “dire” and worse than any other point in the pandemic.

Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said “everything is on the table” when asked about possible new restrictions on Thursday.

She would not say what specific measures cabinet was considering, or could be announced today.

Ontario’s science advisory co-chair Dr. Adalsteinn Brown is also expected to provide an updated pandemic modelling briefing today.

Meanwhile, another health network in Toronto says it will temporarily stop administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines at two hospital-based clinics due to supply issues.

Unity Health says the clinics at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s hospitals will close Sunday for at least a week, though existing appointments will not be cancelled.

The decision was made so the network can focus on vaccinating high-risk groups, including health-care workers and residents in hot spot areas, through pop-up clinics, mobile outreach and home visits, Unity Health said on its website.

Earlier this week, Scarborough Health Network and University Health Network said they were forced to cancel appointments and close immunization clinics as a result of vaccine shortages.

Both have said they will reopen their clinics as soon as they receive more vaccines.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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