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The news prompted Ontario Premier Doug Ford to warn that parts of the province were “staring down the barrel of another lockdown.”
Ford warned new measures for Toronto and neighbouring Peel and York regions would be announced on Friday.
There are a number of steps to go through before we actually get to the point of distribution
“The virus is spreading at alarming rates in these areas,” the premier told a news conference. “Right now, we’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown in these regions.”
Ford issued the stark warning after Ontario reported 1,417 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, and 32 new deaths due to the virus.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, sounded the alarm over a rise in cases in vulnerable populations and settings.
“Cases have been increasing in elderly adults for several weeks, with those aged 80 years and older now having the highest incidence rate nationally,” she said in a statement.
“More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities.”
Tam also mentioned Nunavut, which began a two-week shutdown of schools and non-essential businesses amid what the premier described as a significant rise in cases.
The territory reported 10 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing its total from 60 to 70.
Tam said the rise in transmission puts lives at risk and presents significant challenges for health services, especially in areas not equipped to manage what she called complex medical emergencies.