Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet are set to meet again Friday morning to consider further COVID-19 restrictions to combat a worsening third wave that is pushing the province's health-care system to the breaking point.
The meeting comes ahead of a scheduled briefing from the province's COVID-19 science advise table that is expected include stark new forecasts for the weeks ahead.
A government source told CBC News revised modelling suggests Ontario could see up to 18,000 daily cases of COVID-19 by the end of May if current trends continue unabated, even with help from the province's ongoing vaccination campaign.
The projections show that cases could be limited to about 10,000 per day if additional public health measures are implemented, however they would have to be considerably more restrictive than what's currently in place to curb the rate of infection, the source said.
The source said cabinet is debating the following proposals on top of the stay-at-home order and shutdown already in place:
- Closing all non-essential retail, no curbside pick-up or delivery.
- Further restricting retail hours of operation.
- Restricting curbside pick-up (only permit non-essential retail to deliver).
- Shutting down non-essential construction, warehouses and manufacturing not related to health, food or automotive.
- Prohibiting all outdoor gatherings for non-family members in the same household.
- Tightening capacity of indoor events like places of worship, weddings and funerals.
- Increasing fines, increase policing powers.
Ford and his ministers met late into the night Thursday. Sources with knowledge of the ongoing discussions said cabinet talked about the option a curfew but ultimately decided against it.
Ontario reported its most-ever number of new infections as hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care also hit new pandemic highs on Thursday. According to Critical Care Services Ontario, a government agency that compiles a daily report for hospitals, 74 more people with COVID-19 were admitted to ICUs yesterday alone, again the most-ever on a single day in the province.