Ontario’s hospitals called for new 28-day lockdowns in all regions currently in the red tier of the province’s COVID-19 restriction framework on Thursday, as the Ministry of Health reported a record-high 2,432 new cases.
“Ontario remains firmly caught in the grasp of a major second wave of COVID-19. Daily infection is now above 2,000 new cases per day. Hospitalization is increasing rapidly, as is the occupancy of intensive care units,” the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) said in a statement.
It added that the situation has become “extremely serious.” The OHA’s board of directors held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss ongoing challenges to Ontario’s health-care system.
“We are now in the holiday season and if members of the public choose to ignore public health measures and gather outside their households, the consequences risk overwhelming Ontario’s hospitals,” the statement continued.
As a result, the OHA said it must “reluctantly and with deep regret” ask the provincial government to “implement and robustly enforce” four-week lockdowns in all public health units where the weekly incidence rate is 40 per 100,000 or more, a key threshold for the red tier.
The request comes as hospitalization figures in Ontario all reached second-wave highs this week. The OHA said that its member hospitals are struggling to keep up with current needs while working to catch up on about 150,000 procedures that were postponed during the first of the pandemic in the spring.
“Evidence is mounting that the hidden toll on human health from this disruption in scheduled services will be heavy. Our communities are tired, and so are those caring for them,” the statement said.
The provincial government should also offer paid sick leave and isolation accommodation to help those who cannot afford to take time off work if they contract the novel coronavirus, the OHA added.
Yesterday, the mayors of two of Ontario’s hardest-hit cities, Toronto and Mississauga in Peel Region, called for strict measures to remain in place throughout the holiday season. This Friday marks four weeks since Toronto and Peel first went into lockdown, while York Region and Windsor-Essex moved into lockdown later.
Nearly all of the rest of southern Ontario’s largest cities, with the exception of Ottawa, are in the red zone. That includes Hamilton, London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Oakville, Oshawa and Barrie.
Record day for new COVID-19 cases
Meanwhile, Ontario reported another 2,432 cases of COVID-19 this morning, the most on a single day since the pandemic began.
The additional cases include 737 in Toronto, 434 in Peel Region, 209 in York Region, 190 in Windsor-Essex, 142 in Hamilton and 102 in Halton Region.
Combined, the new cases push the seven-day average to 2,026, also a new high.
More to come.