- Coronavirus tracker: Follow the pace of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations in Canada.
- Alberta premier says lockdown not in the cards, citing ‘broader cost’ to residents.
- Federal officials say nearly 15% of eligible adult Canadians have begun vaccination process.
- B.C. residents with loved ones in long-term care facilities rejoice as visiting rules are relaxed.
Read more: Sources tell CBC News the murder investigation implicating an Ottawa-area doctor involves some COVID-19 patients; B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has a message for those thinking about filing a complaint over having to wear a mask as a customer.
Note to our readers: The next edition of the CBC News Coronavirus Brief will be published on Monday, April 5.
Ontario government announces ’emergency brake’ to last at least 1 month
The Ontario government is imposing a provincewide “emergency brake” for at least four weeks starting Saturday, but stopped short of a stay-at-home order, despite modelling showing such a measure could significantly curb the surge in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations.
The prohibitions announced Thursday include a ban on organized public events and capacity limits on both food and pharmacy outlets, as well as all other retail. Outdoor dining, which was only recently allowed under strict conditions, will be stopped for the foreseeable future, while personal care businesses — which had been suggested as a possibility to reopen in a limited way on April 12 — will stay closed.
Premier Doug Ford said the measures were necessary as the pace of vaccination cannot yet outpace the transmission of cases, most of which now feature the newer, more transmissible variants of concern.
“The new variants are far more dangerous than before. They spread faster and do more harm than the virus we were fighting last year,” Ford said.
The restrictions are unlikely to satisfy a group of 153 ICU physicians, who issued an open letter to the government Thursday urging stricter public health measures.
The letter warns that the doctors are seeing younger patients — including parents of school-aged children — and entire families sickened by the more contagious coronavirus variants of concern.
“Even if we had unlimited ICU capacity, allowing these [variants of concern] to spread exponentially is unethical,” the letter says.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that the province did not issue a stay-at-home order like the one from the start of the year, because the last time officials saw that it had “tremendous ill effect on children and adults.”
The premier also said keeping the province’s schools open is a “top priority,” adding that officials will “closely monitor the situation” and “not hesitate to act.”
Education Minister Stephen Lecce tweeted Thursday morning that schools will remain open, as they are “critical for students’ mental health & learning.”
At the news conference to lay out provincial modelling scenarios earlier in the day, Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table, said there had been a 41.7 per cent jump in overall hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19 in the last two weeks. The spillover effect is considerable, he said, with a surgical backlog now numbering over 245,000 cases.
The officials recommended a four-week stay-at-home order, and Brown said in an ideal world he’d like to see more vaccinations in the highest-risk communities as soon as possible.
From The National
div class=”player-placeholder-ui-container “>
div class=”player-placeholder-video-ui” title=”Why we’re having weird, vivid pandemic dreams” role=”button” tabindex=”0″>
div class=”player-placeholder-ui “>
div class=”video-item video-card-overlay” aria-labelledby=”1880273987614-metadata-” title=”Why we’re having weird, vivid pandemic dreams”>