#Ontario; #CompleteLockdownFromBoxingDay; #SurgeOfCoronavirusCases;
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Dec 21 in a news conference that all of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day, Dec 26 starting at 12:01 a.m. to contain soaring COVID-19 cases and prevent hospitals and their intensive care units from being overwhelmed in Jan 2021.
The lockdown is reported to remain in place until at least Jan. 23, 2021 in the 27 public health units that comprise southern Ontario.
Ford was joined by Ontario Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams, and President and CEO of William Osler Health System, Dr. Naveed Mohammad.
Ford continued to urge Ontarians to not gather for the holidays and said people should only leave home for essential trips such as work or groceries
"If we fail to take actions now, the consequences will be catastrophic. We need to do everything in our power to protect our hospitals and our most vulnerable," said Ford in the news conference.
When classes resume in the new year, schools in southern Ontario will switch to remote learning during the lockdown. Elementary schools will be closed for in-class learning until at least Jan. 11 while secondary schools will remain closed until Jan. 25.
All elementary and secondary public and private schools in Northern Ontario would be allowed to resume in-person learning on Jan. 11.
During the province-wide shutdown, child care centers will remain open.
"We've flattened the curve before and we can do it again," said Elliott.
It was revealed by the modeling forecasts that Ontario could see up to 300 patients with cases of COVID-19 in intensive care units by the end of December. which necessitated taking these stringent measures.
Ontario public health officials at a morning briefing said that in a worst-case scenario, that number could increase by about 75 percent of Ontario's entire intensive care capacity which could come to more than 1,500 by mid-January.
In a joint statement over the weekend, hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area, along with the Ontario Hospital Association, said that health-care workers are "stressed and overstretched."