QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario’s Stay-at-Home order that was to expire May 20th has been extended to at least June 2nd. Premier Doug Ford made the announcement Thursday afternoon (May 13th).
“My goal is to have the most normal July and August possible,” Ford said. “We need to keep driving cases down and easing pressure on hospitals.”
Provincial case numbers have dropped to levels seen at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic around Christmas. Hospitalization numbers continue to be near capacity, especially in larger urban centres like Toronto and Peel region.
In addition to the Stay-at-Home order extension, all public health and workplace restrictions issued under the province-wide “emergency brake” will remain in effect.
According to the government, provincial cases of COVID-19 have decreased by nearly 15 per cent and test positivity is 7.7 per cent. Locally in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, test positivity is at 1.8 per cent, well below the provincial average.
The seven-day average of new cases provincially is 135 per 100,000 people, in the EOHU that number is 43.9 per 100,000 people.
Dr. David Williams, chief medical officer of health for Ontario said that the target needed to start reopening the province is fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases per day. Ontario reported 2,759 new cases on May 13th.
The extended shutdown means that recreation amenities like golf courses and soccer fields will remain closed.
Ford said that closing these types of amenities is to prevent region-to-region travel, not that the activities are unsafe.
He also announced that beginning the week of May 31st, youth between the ages of 12 and 17 years old, and their family members, will be able to book their first vaccination appointment to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The Premier indicated that there is not a consensus between the government, teachers’ unions, and public health doctors on reopening schools to in-person learning. Schools will remain remote-learning indefinitely.