On Dec. 21, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that starting at 12:01 am on Dec. 26 (Boxing Day), Halton Region will officially go into lockdown along with the entire province.
While Southern Ontario is slated to experience a 28-day (at minimum) shutdown, Northern Ontario will face a 14-day (at a minimum) shutdown.
The newest shutdown will include temporary school closures until at least Jan. 11 for elementary schools and Jan. 25 for high schools.
Prior to this announcement, Halton Region was in the Red-Control level of the province’s colour-coded system in the fight against COVID-19 while Peel, Toronto, York Region, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex were already in lockdown.
Following Ford’s announcement today, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward issued a statement that supported the province-wide lockdown.
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Today (Dec. 22), Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott said, “We can all help save lives by staying home and wearing a mask when we must be out.”
The latest modelling data indicates that cases are expected to continue to grow and predict rates of at least 1,500 cases per day for several weeks under current restrictions.
Based on what has been seen in other jurisdictions, “hard lock-downs” of 4–6 weeks could reduce case numbers in Ontario to less than a thousand per day and possibly even lower.
“Additional restrictions will be challenging for many members of our communities, but we need to initiate changes to preserve hospital capacity and protect the health and wellbeing of healthcare workers as hospitalizations and intensive care cases continue to rise,” said Denise Hardenne, President & CEO, Halton Healthcare.
“Our staff and physicians have been doing an exemplary job responding to the care needs of patients with COVID-19 and other illnesses since the pandemic began but this level of strain on the system is not sustainable.”
“Our community must remain committed to doing whatever is needed to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Parm Gill, MPP for Milton. “This strong action, announced today, is needed to preserve capacity in our health care system, and make sure our intensive care units (ICU) can continue to save lives.”
Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, Stephen Crawford, MPP for Oakville and Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville-North Burlington also emphasized the importance of following safety precautions including hand washing and limiting contact with others.
“With outbreaks spreading, hospital beds filling up and transmission rates rising across Ontario, the time to act is now. Every time you wash your hands, put on a mask, practice physical distancing and stop yourself from going out unless it’s absolutely essential, you’re helping our hardworking staff here at Joseph Brant Hospital,” said Eric Vandewall, President and CEO, Joseph Brant Hospital.
“You are keeping them safe, you’re making sure that there’s a bed available for the people who need it, and you are preventing a crisis in our healthcare system. We need your help. Our community has supported us since the beginning of this pandemic, and we are grateful to all of you for your support at this critical time.”