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Ford says 'Stay Tuned,' potential lockdown announcement expected Thursday

Last Updated Mar 31, 2021 at 5:16 pm EDT


Ford said the government will use the "emergency brake" option if necessary

Premier also hinted his government is considering additional restrictions to combat a surge in cases

Ontario Hospital Association says intensive care units are seeing more younger people admitted

Premier Doug Ford has confirmed he will make an announcement on Thursday about a potential lockdown, telling the public to “stay tuned.”

Ford made the statement during a press conference on Wednesday when asked why Ontario was reducing restrictions while COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Wednesday marked the seventh day in a row daily reported case numbers were above 2,000 in the province.

Minister of Health Christine Elliott said the province will discuss internally just how severe of a lockdown they’re willing to implement.

She also noted everything would be on the table on the table — including another full provincial lockdown.

“As we’ve indicated, everything is on the table. I expect we will have a broad discussion.”

When asked why the province was delaying a lockdown announcement until Thursday, Elliott said there’s still talks to be had and that takes time.

“This is something that we take very seriously that we need to hear from, of course, Dr. Williams and the public health measures table,” she explained.

“We are also going to be having some modelling that’s going to be presented to us as well.”

This all comes one day after Ford warned Ontarians not to make plans for Easter, saying he is “extremely concerned” about rising COVID-19 numbers.

“Everything is on the table right now, so folks, be prepared, I am asking you don’t make plans for Easter,” the premier said on Tuesday.

“I won’t hesitate to lock things down if we have to. I did it before, I’ll do it again.”

Ford also said the government has the “emergency brake” option and won’t hesitate to use it if necessary.

“That’s why we have the emergency brake available, which we’ve used a few times in different regions and we won’t hesitate to do it again,” he said.

The province started to reopen its economy earlier this month but implemented an “emergency brake” measure that would allow it to move regions into lockdown if cases spike.

Ford also hinted his government is considering additional restrictions to combat the surge in cases.

He did not specify what measures are being considered but said that any decision he has made has been in consultation with the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said they are keeping a “very close eye on the situation.”

“We are in regular contact, daily contact with the local medical officers of health and with Dr. Williams and the public health measures table … if we need to take action and put on the emergency brake, we won’t hesitate to do that,” Elliott said.

The Ontario Hospital Association has said that intensive care units are seeing younger people, some with severe cases of COVID-19.

“I am extremely concerned on the situation we are seeing and the numbers going up. I am also very concerned about seeing the age group, the younger people, now in ICUs,” Ford said.

“Nothing is more important than our health … please, I am asking folks don’t make big huge plans with family members, that’s where the problem starts.”

Ontario reported more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday for the sixth day in a row, as the number of deaths and hospitalizations continued to rise.

The total number of patients being treated in hospital grew by 249 to 1,090. Of that total, 387 people are in the ICU and 249 are in the ICU on a ventilator.

With files from The Canadian Press