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“Individuals must act now to ease the pressure on the system which is on the verge of collapse,” Etches said.
The province, which had a total of 732 new cases on Friday, announced new restrictions limiting the capacity of bars, restaurants, gyms and banquet halls in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel, the three provincial hot spots for COVID- 19.
The move, which limits the capacity of restaurants and bars to 100 and banquet halls and other facilities to 50, is nowhere near what health executives and others have called for.
Etches, however, encouraged people to rethink plans for the weekend if that includes going to bars and restaurants with friends.
Provincial officials also said on Friday they were taking action to help reduce pressure on hospitals, long-term care homes and public health in Ottawa after meeting with city health leaders this week. This includes greater capacity for long-term care and hospitals in the city and a plan to send some COVID-19 tests outside of Ottawa to reduce the number in local labs. In addition, the province has announced that all COVID-19 assessment centers will be by appointment only starting next week, a move that should help labs meet demand.
“We will support them in any way we can,” said Matthew Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health.
Since the second wave of COVID-19 began last month, Ottawa has been kind of a canary in the coal mine for the spread and impact of the pandemic in the province this fall.