As part of a suite of measures in response to record-high COVID-19 cases in Ontario, multiple sources tell Global News Premier Doug Ford and members of his cabinet are looking at measures such as a curfew, travel restrictions and ordering a shut down of certain construction-related activities.
The sources, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly, warned the deliberations at Thursday’s cabinet meeting are evolving and items being discussed are subject to change.
Also up for consideration, the sources said, is a further tightening of restrictions around non-essential retail sales and cutting back on curbside pick-up.
Global News was told Thursday’s cabinet meeting lasted approximately eight hours and will be reconvening Friday morning for further discussions.
News of an anticipated announcement, which is expected sometime on Friday, came as Ontario reported an all-time high of new COVID-19 cases, 4,736, earlier in the day.
During a news conference at Queen’s Park Thursday afternoon, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health called the current situation “dire.”
“I really wish I had better news to give you today,” Dr. Barbara Yaffe told reporters.
“I have been providing updates to Ontarians for over a year now and at some of the previous press conferences I referred to the situation as worrisome and even scary. What is truly scary is that when I used those words before, our rates and our trends were nowhere near where we find ourselves today.”
Earlier in the day, the Ontario government reported 1,932 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 55 from the previous day) with a record 659 patients in intensive care units (up by 17) and 442 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (unchanged).
Staff at hospitals across the province started ramping down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures on Monday in an effort to preserve the capacity needed to treat additional COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals in northern Ontario were exempt from cancelling non-urgent procedures. However, a recent memo from Ontario Health said staff at those facilities should prepare to ramp down quickly in the near future.
The memo also asked hospitals to identify staff who may be redeployed to other sites if necessary.
— With files from Gabby Rodrigues and The Canadian Press
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