The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.
“We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern,” said Ford. “I know pulling the emergency brake will be difficult on many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals. Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. That is our best protection against this deadly virus.”
Ontario’s key indicators and latest modelling show that additional measures must be taken. From March 26 to 28, 2021, provincial case rates have increased by 7.7 per cent to 101.1 cases per 100,000 people. Current COVID-19 related ICU admissions are already over the peak of wave two and hospitals in regional hotspots will need to further ramp down scheduled surgeries. COVID-19 related ICU admissions are projected to exceed 650 beds in a few weeks. These increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, which are transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.
The provincewide emergency brake would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:
- Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.
- Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;
- Prohibiting personal care services;
- Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
- Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
- Requiring day camps to close; and,
- Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
The current COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, will be paused when the provincewide emergency brake comes into effect. The impacts of these time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the next four weeks to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended. With more than $1.6 billion invested to protect against COVID-19, schools remain safe for students and staff. Keeping schools open is critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario youth. During the emergency shutdown, schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place. The spring break will continue as planned for the week of April 12. In order to support working families, child care will remain open during the shutdown. Child care settings will continue to adhere to stringent health and safety measures so that they remain safe places for children and staff.
Eastern Ontario Health Unit situation
There were 355 active cases of COVID-19 among residents of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s (EOHU) jurisdiction on Thursday, April 1. According to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said that approximately 70 per cent of the active COVID-19 cases across the EOHU’s jurisdiction were COVID-19 variants. The Ontario average for variant cases was approximately 60 per cent on Monday.
There were 32 COVID-19 patients in hospital across the EOHU’s territory as of Thursday. Eight of those patients were in intensive care.
The number of deaths resulting from COVID-19 across the area served by the EOHU as of April 1 had increased to 82. Five of those deaths were among patients at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital
As of April 1, 25,665 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered across the jurisdiction of the EOHU.
Within the EOHU’s jurisdiction, Ontario residents 75 years of age and older may book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment using Ontario’s online booking system. In accordance with the latest recommendations, those booking will be given appointments for first and second doses, 16 weeks apart.
The EOHU has launched an online pre-registration tool and asking all remaining individuals listed within the province’s Phase 1 priority populations, who have not yet been vaccinated or not yet booked an appointment, to pre-register. Pre-registration facilitates booking appointments quickly and easily as vaccine supply increases and more appointments become available.
Provincial Online Booking System
Ontario’s vaccine booking system has began accepting vaccine bookings for individuals who will be turning 75 or older in 2021 (born in 1941 or earlier). Booking is available at www.Ontario.ca/bookvaccine. Individuals who require assistance with booking can call the Provincial Vaccine Information Line at 1-888-999-6488.
The booking system will screen for eligibility based on age using health card information. Appointments can be made by an individual or with the help of family or an informal caregiver (note: family/informal caregivers born after 1946 cannot book an appointment for themselves at this time, however, they may use the EOHU Pre-Registration tool to pre-register for an appointment).
If you have a family member or provide care to someone who was born in 1946 or before, please encourage them to get vaccinated. Vaccinations will be available BY APPOINTMENT ONLY at vaccine clinics being held across the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry; the United Counties of Prescott-Russell; and the City of Cornwall. Alternate arrangements will be made for individuals who notify us of barriers preventing them from physically going to a clinic.
EOHU Pre-Registration Tool
Those who are not in the 75+ age group, but who are eligible for the vaccine based on the Phase 1 priority populations, must first pre-register using the EOHU online pre-registration tool at https://eohu.ca/en/covid/welcome-to-the-eohu-online-covid-19-vaccination-pre-registration-portal .
Once vaccine supply permits, those who have pre-registered will receive a code that will give them access to the provincial booking system.
Please note that pre-registration does not guarantee that you will get an appointment immediately. You may not get your appointment booking code for a week or longer, depending on vaccine supply.
Long-term care and hospital outbreaks
According to Roumeliotis, there were a total of 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 connected with the outbreak at Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) as of Thursday. Patients accounted for 28 of the cases and six of the cases were in staff. The COVID-19 outbreak at HGH is in the CCU Wing and East Wing. Contrary to incorrect rumours in the community, half of the patients at HGH do not have COVID-19. The hospital has 100 beds.
The following long-term care and retirement residences also had COVID-19 outbreaks as of April 1:
Heritage Lodge in Vankleek Hill
The Palace Long-Term Care in Alexandria
Le Genesis Retirement Home in Limoges
St-Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre –Complex Continuing Care side in Cornwall
Sandfield Place Retirement Home in Cornwall
Heartwood Long Term Care in Cornwall
Baldwin House in Cornwall
Chartwell McConnell in Cornwall
Woodland Villa in Long Sault
School and childcare facility cases
There were active cases of COVID-19 connected with the following schools under EOHU jurisdiction as of March 30.:
Upper Canada District School Board
One student at Pleasant Corners Public School near Vankleek Hill
One student at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute
Two students at Russell High School
One student and one staff member at Char-Lan Intermediate School in South Glengarry
One staff member at St. Lawrence Secondary School in Cornwall
One student at Longue Sault Public School in South Stormont
Two students at Morrisburg Public School
Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario
Four students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Russell
Three students and one staff member at Mother Theresa Catholic School in Russell Township
Two students at Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School in South Glengarry
One student at St. Andrew’s Catholic School in South Stormont
Two students at Our Lady of Good Counsel School in South Stormont
One student at Sacred Heart School in Cornwall
One student at St. Joseph Catholic Intermediate School in Cornwall
Five students at St. Mary’s Catholic School in North Dundas
Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien
One student at École intermédiare catholique-Pavillon Hawkesbury
One student at École secondaire catholique régionale de Hawkesbury
One student at École élémentaire catholique St-Joseph in Russell Township
Two students at École secondaire catholique de Casselman
One student at École élémentaire catholique de Casselman, Pavillon St-Paul/Ste-Euphèmie
Two students at École élémentaire catholique Sacré-Coeur in Clarence-Rockland
Three students at École intermédiare catholique-Pavillon Alexandria
Two students at École élémentaire catholique de l’Ange-Gardien in South Glengarry
Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario
One student at École élémentaire publique Le Sommet in Hawkesbury
Two staff members at École élémentaire publique Nouvel-Horizon in Hawkesbury
Two students at École élémentaire publique de L’Académie de la Seigneurie in Casselman
One student at École élémentaire publique Rose-des-vents in Cornwall
There were active cases of COVID-19 connected with a childcare facility under EOHU jurisdiction at the following locations as of Friday, March 26:
One child at Centre éducatif au Jardin des Câlins in Limoges
One child at Tiny Hoppers Rockland
One staff member at Centre éducatif Les Petits Trésors-New Sacred Heart Daycare in Cornwall
One staff member at Richelieu Day Care in Cornwall
One child and one staff member at The Learning Centre Longue Sault
One child at Happy Face Morrisburg
As of April 1, there were 2,557 new, active cases of COVID-19 across Ontario. According to calculations based on statistics from the Ministry of Health, there were 20,875 active cases of COVID-19 across Ontario as of Thursday.
There were 1,116 COVID-19 patients in hospital across Ontario as of Thursday. Out of those patients, 433 were in intensive care, and 259 patients were on ventilators.
There had been 7,389 deaths due to COVID-19 across Ontario as of April 1.
As of April 1, 2,276,313 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered across Ontario and 317,715 Ontario residents had been fully vaccinated by receiving both required doses.