covid-19 cases and vaccine news

COVID-19 cases must drop to around 1,000 to lift lockdown: Ontario’s top doctor

Many Ontarians are wondering when lockdown restrictions will ease — particularly hard-hit regions of the province with the most stringent measures. Toronto and Peel Region, for example, entered lockdown on Nov. 23 last year, and just last week — in response to the daily number of COVID-19 cases reaching nearly 4,000 a day in early January — Premier Doug Ford declared a provincial state of emergency and a stay-at-home order for the province, effective for at least 28 days.

In a press conference on Monday, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said that the province must cut its daily COVID-19 case counts to “around or even below a thousand new cases a day” before lockdown measures can be lifted.

“It was only a few months ago, the end of October that we were there, and we can get back there I believe,” Williams said.

He added that if the province gets to less than 150 COVID patients in ICU beds, then “that starts to get you back down to where all the hospitals can start to do their other elective procedures.”

As of Jan. 18, more than 400 patients were reported to be in hospital intensive care units, 303 COVID-19 patients were on ventilators, with 1,862 admitted since Sept. 1.



MPP Roman Baber, who was removed from the Ontario PC Party Caucus last Friday after asking Ford to end the lockdown and for suggesting that “lockdowns are deadlier” than COVID-19, tweeted that the virus is real, but the crisis is mostly in LTC.

On Tuesday, Baber responded to Dr. Williams’ figures on loosening restrictions:

“Under 1000 cases a day & 150 ICU patients to #LiftTheLocdown? With Corona’s seasonal features that may not be till April.”



Ontario reported 1,913 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 242,277 cases. However, Health Minister Christine Elliott added that, due to a technical issue at Toronto Public Health, there was likely an underreporting of cases today.

Of the new cases, there were 550 cases in Toronto, 346 in Peel, and 235 in York Region.



In the last 24 hours, there have been more than 34,500 tests in Ontario completed (although, there is currently a backlog of 36,750 tests awaiting results). In all, 9,000,278 tests have been completed to date.

Resolved cases increased by 2,873 from the previous day, meaning 209,183 Ontarians have recovered from COVID-19 to date. A total of 46 more deaths were reported on Tuesday, increasing the overall death toll in the province to 5,479.

As of 8 p.m. Monday, 224,134 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

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Article exclusive to TRNTO