If word leaking out of Queen’s Park is correct, Halton region’s reprieve from going into full lockdown may be short lived. Several news outlets are reporting that the entire province of Ontario will be placed into the grey-lockdown stage starting Christmas Eve.
Global news is reporting there will be a 28-day lockdown for all but the north, a 14-day lockdown for northern Ontario. Elementary schools will be shut until Jan 11 and High schools shut for in-class learning until Jan 21.
The move would restrict non-essential retail and prohibit indoor dining right across the province starting at 12:01 a.m. the day before Christmas.
Premier Doug Ford announced Friday that lockdown measures in both Toronto and Peel Region will be extended until January 4 and that Hamilton will go into the grey-lockdown zone on Monday.
The premier promised to announce additional measures at a 1 p.m. press conference on Monday after holding emergency meetings with health officials over the weekend.
The decision comes as hospitals and other medical organizations have been pushing the government for lockdowns to keep the hospital system from becoming overwhelmed.
An association of GTA hospitals joined the Ontario Hospital Association and the Ontario Medical Association in calling for stronger lockdown measures, warning that a surge in cases following the holiday season is expected to make the situation even worse.
The group says frontline health care workers are stressed and their efforts to battle the pandemic are being overstretched and is reaching a level that is “simply not sustainable for much longer.”
“We are seeing increasing numbers of staff becoming ill and not able to work – both with COVID-19 and other illnesses. While we are coping and planning for redeployment, we are seeing more illness and stress and hearing about the toll this is taking on people’s families,” reads the statement.
“We recognize that lockdown measures are challenging for many members of our communities, but we cannot afford to put patients and health care workers at further risk.”