COVID-19 Update for April 16 2021 – Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order
The worst-case scenario modeling projections have become a reality and now Ontarians will remain at home even longer.
With daily cases projected to top 5,000 over the weekend, Premier Doug Ford is extending the stay-at-home order for two more weeks, effectively immediately. Ford is also closing all non-essential construction and prohibiting all outdoor gatherings except for members of a single household. Outdoor recreational activities — including golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields and playgrounds — will also be closed, and all religious and funeral services will be capped at 10 people both indoors and outdoors. All stores that are permitted to have in-person shopping under the Emergency Brake designation, including grocery stores and pharmacies, will be limited to 25 per cent capacity effective 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
The province is also temporarily enhancing bylaw and police officers’ authority for the duration of the stay-at-home order, granting them the ability to question people’s purpose of being outside of their residence, asking for their address and stopping drivers to inquire about where they are going.
Beginning Monday, checkpoints will be set up at all interprovincial borders to restrict travel for all purposes except for work, medical care, transportation of goods and exercising Indigenous Treaty rights. Ford continues to call on the federal government to close international borders, limit travel and address issues with testing and quarantining to travelers arriving at Pearson.
In what Labour Minister Monte McNaughton called a “last warning,” inspectors will be adding law offices, accounting firms and other businesses to increased workplace inspections to ensure all employees who are able to work from home are doing so.
A modeling update provided by Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table today showed with “weak” public health measures, new case counts could reach more than 30,000 a day by June. With “moderate” measures, they are projected to range from 10,000 to 15,000 and with “strong” measures, such as a six-week stay-at-home order, they could be contained below 10,000 per day. ICU capacity is expected to exceed 800 patients in the next two weeks and continue increasing to more than 1,000.
Federal Support from the Canadian Red Cross
Addressing Canadians earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ontario has reached out for more vaccination support and the federal government is standing by to deploy Canadian Red Cross mobile vaccination teams to the province, in addition to their continued help with needs in select long-term care and retirement homes across Ontario.
Premier Ford rejected this offer, with spokesperson Ivana Yelich saying, “While we appreciate the Prime Minister’s offer, unless it is matched with an increase in supply, we do not need the Red Cross at this time for the administration of vaccines in Ontario. We do not have a capacity issue, we have a supply issue.”
More Pfizer Doses
The federal government also announced that Canada has signed an agreement with Pfizer for eight million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines. With the new deal, four million additional doses will arrive in May, two million additional doses in June and two million additional doses in July. The total of eight million doses in May from Pfizer is roughly double than expected, and Pfizer is also moving an additional 400,000 doses from Q3 up for delivery in June. In May and June, two million doses of Pfizer will be coming into the country every week, with the total in June increasing for a total of 12 million doses spread over five weeks. From April-June, a total of 24 million doses will arrive from Pfizer alone.
Canada is expecting to receive 300,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson during the week of April 27, which will then be delivered to provinces at beginning of May. From AstraZeneca, Canada is expected to receive 4.1 million doses from the Serum Institute of India and United States by the end of June, with further deliveries in Q3.
Despite fluctuations from suppliers, including Moderna where challenges in ramping up production have resulted in reduced shipments and delays, between 48 million and 50 million doses of vaccines are expected in Canada by the end of June.