Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Jan. 8 that the province may take more extreme measures if the COVID-19 situation in Ontario does not improve.
At a press conference accompanied by Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, and Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ford urged Ontarians to continue practicing public health measures including staying at home, practice distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands.
“If these basic measures continue to be ignored, the consequences will be more dire, the shutdown won’t end at the end of January, and we will have to look at more extreme measures,” he said.
Ford also said vaccine supplies in Ontario are running out and that he is hoping the federal government will help secure more vaccines for the province.
“All of Ontario will be out of Pfizer vaccines by the end of next week,” he said, noting that on Jan. 7 alone, close to 15,000 people were vaccinated.
“I spoke with the prime minister last night about the need for a more reliable vaccine supply to meet our rapidly growing capacity,” Ford said.
“We’re all hopeful the federal government will get us more vaccines. Without them hospitals will have to start cancelling appointments, and all the progress we’ve made getting our daily vaccine numbers up will be lost as clinics stand by waiting for vaccines from the feds.”
On Jan. 7, Ford announced that schools in southern Ontario will remain closed for in-person learning until Jan. 25, a move he said was needed to protect students and staff from surging rates of COVID-19.
Students in northern Ontario will still return to in-person classes on Jan. 11, but a lockdown in that region that was to lift this weekend will be extended for two weeks.
With files from The Canadian Press