Trudeau warns Canada faces serious third wave of Covid-19 cases as officials toughen lockdown measures

A Covid-19 vaccination site in Toronto.

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“Canada continues to face an extremely serious situation with this third wave, cases are increasing rapidly in many cases, in many places the numbers are higher than ever before and many hospitals are far too limited, ”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference in Ottawa on Friday.

He said the situation was particularly dire in Ontario, with Toronto now seeing broken records and hospital beds filling up.

Ontario broke more pandemic records on Friday for daily cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions.

“There is every reason to believe that we are now in the last part although the most difficult of this pandemic is not the time to slack off, not even for a second,” Trudeau said adding “It is now is the time for us to dig deep into what is hopefully the very last stages of this pandemic for all of us. ”

There has been a 35% increase in hospitalizations and a more than 20% increase in intensive care admissions in the last week alone, public health officials said. More worrying is the 38% increase in deaths last week, they said.
The situation is particularly serious in Ontario, the most populous province in Canada.

“Note that our hospitals can no longer function normally, they are bursting at the top of their lungs,” said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario Science Council. “We are setting up field hospitals and separating critically ill patients from their families by helicoptering them across the province for treatment, our children’s hospitals are now admitting adults as patients. This has never happened in Ontario before, it has never happened in Canada before, ”

Based on new pandemic projections, the demand for acute care is expected to increase in the coming weeks, regardless of how many additional restrictions are put in place, Brown said.

Strict lockdowns extended in Ontario

On Friday night, Ontario extended its state of emergency and stay-at-home order until at least May 15.

The province said it will also limit interprovincial travel and erect checkpoints to enforce that mandate while ordering non-essential construction work to be closed starting Saturday.

All outdoor recreation activities such as golf courses, playgrounds, basketball courts and soccer fields will be closed. And even outdoor gatherings with people who do not live in the same household will be banned. Indoor gatherings between households have been banned since the beginning of the month.

All of Canada’s largest provinces are struggling to contain the effect of variants, especially in the low-income pockets of Canada’s largest cities.

Health Canada says the vast majority of these variants are the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the UK, but added that public health officials are increasingly concerned about the spread of more variants, including variant P.1 first detected in Brazil, which is now spreading in British Columbia.

“The relative risk of these variants compared to the old version of COVID is much higher, higher for admission, higher for the ICU and higher for mortality. And affecting younger populations with much less inoculum or viral load causing infection very quickly, ”Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said in an update Friday in Toronto.

Trudeau echoed the fatigue of millions of Canadians who have now gone through many months of lockdowns and restrictions, revealing he had an argument with his 13-year-old son on Friday morning, telling him that public health measures were being taken. still needed.

“Xavier is 13 and misses his friends, he doesn’t want to go to school online, he wants to go out and play basketball with his friends, he wants to have the normal life that we all frankly want. right now, “he said,” but the reality is we know the best way to overcome this is for each of us to follow local public health rules. ”

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