Ontario has extended further two weeks state of emergency restricting interprovincial travel by placing new restrictions and powered police to implement stay at home order by force after the COVID-19 cases soar to record high.
Premier Doug Ford made the announcement on Friday, saying that “there are few options left” for the province as infection and hospitalization rates continue to hit record highs.
“I have never shied away from telling you the brutal honest truth, never shied away from tough decisions and today I am here to do just that. My friends we are losing the battle between variants and vaccines,” Ford said.
Ontario’s state of emergency and stay-at-home order will now be in effect until at least May 20.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said that police will now have the authority to stop a vehicle or person to inquire about an individual’s reason for leaving their residence.
“Police will have the authority to require any individual who is not in a place of residence to first question their purpose for not being at home and provide their address,” Jones said.
Starting Saturday, big box stores will only be able to operate at 25 percent capacity, while all non-essential construction projects must stop work.
Ontario also imposed a ban on outdoor gatherings.
The record-breaking case count comes amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and patients in ICU in the province’s third wave. In the past seven days, five of those saw daily case numbers above 4,000. The most recent 100,000 new cases came from the last six weeks.
According to Thursday’s report, 1,188 cases were recorded in Toronto, 983 in Peel Region, 526 in York Region, 342 in Ottawa, 216 in Durham Region, and 215 in Niagara Region.
Ontario is reporting 4,812 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, April 16, marking another single-day high for the second day in a row. The provincial total now stands at 408,383.
Friday’s case count surpassed Thursday’s which held the previous record of 4,736 new cases as the province continues to grapple with surging COVID-19 hospitalizations. In the past seven days, five of those saw daily case numbers above 4,000.
According to Friday’s report, 1,469 cases were recorded in Toronto, 851 in Peel Region, 491 in York Region, 366 in Ottawa, 268 in Durham Region and 204 in Hamilton.
All other local public health units reported fewer than 200 new cases in the provincial report.
The death toll in the province has risen to 7,664 as 25 more deaths were recorded