Premier Doug Ford’s cabinet is meeting today as one of his top ministers says the Ontario government is extremely concerned about surging cases of COVID-19.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones confirmed cabinet is meeting but wouldn’t say if the government is contemplating stricter public health measures to tackle soaring infections that are putting immense pressure on the health-care system.
The meeting comes as Ontario reported a record 4,736 new cases of COVID-19 today and 29 more deaths linked to the virus.
It also comes ahead of new pandemic projections set to be released tomorrow by science experts advising the government.
Jones says the current COVID-19 situation in Ontario is serious and urged residents to follow public rules.
There are currently 1,932 people in hospital with COVID-19 across the province, with 659 patients in intensive care and 419 on a ventilator.
Hospitals have been ramping down non-essential and non-urgent medical procedures this week to ensure they have the capacity to care for COVID-19 patients as infections keep rising.
The government said a COVID-19 field hospital could be activated in Toronto later this month to help deal with an influx of patients.
The Ministry of Health said the mobile health unit at Sunnybrook Hospital is expecting to take patients in the coming weeks.
The field hospital has been set up in a parking lot at the site and is one of two in the province designed to help address growing capacity challenges.
The province said the temporary beds will provide increased capacity to the health system as a whole by freeing up acute and critical care capacity within hospitals.
The government said it will also help expand capacity by allowing the hospitals to transfer non-critical care patients to these general medicine beds.
Meanwhile, the Grey Bruce Health Unit told residents to stay home for the next two days as COVID-19 variants of concern surge in the region.
Public health authorities said all residents should consider themselves a COVID-19 carrier for the next 48 hours. Authorities said the steps are necessary after 70 new cases were confirmed in the region in the past 36 hours.
The public health unit said it needs to slow the spread of the virus in order to do contact tracing.
It is also shutting down the Grey Bruce Health Unit info-line and cancelling a mass vaccination clinic on Saturday to redeploy staff to case management and contact tracing.
The province says 105,430 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Wednesday’s update, bringing the total number of vaccinations to 3,528,404.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2021.
The Canadian Press