Ottawa, April 13 | Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, announced that all schools will stay closed indefinitely to in-person learning as Covid-19 cases continue to surge in the province.
Ontario, with a population of 14 million, is currently operating under a provincewide stay-at-home order to stem the spread of Covid-19 and its variants, Xinhua news agency reported.
The month-long order, which came into effect last Thursday, sees the closure of all non-essential businesses, and requires residents to remain at home unless leaving for an essential purpose.
“We will keep a constant eye on the data, on case numbers, hospital capacity, and ICU admissions to determine when we get kids back in the classrooms,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford told a press conference Monday afternoon.
The announcement came after the province posted a record-breaking number of Covid-19 and intensive care admissions.
For the second day in a row, Ontario reported more than 4,400 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday as the number of patients in intensive care with the disease continued to climb.
Right now, there are 1,646 patients in hospital with Covid-19 and at least 619 of them are being treated in intensive care units.
“I want nothing more than to be able to open the schools up again as soon as possible. But we all need to work together right now to get the community spread under control,” Ford added.
Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health David Williams said the province’s surge of Covid-19 cases is being impacted by gatherings on the Easter weekend.
“We are not expecting the numbers to improve that well over the next few days as we’re seeing the impact of Easter weekend and we want to understand that before we make any further decisions,” Williams said. “Prolonged closure at this time is not only but prudent and necessary.”
Up to date, Ontario has reported a total of 391,009 cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. That number includes 348,684 recoveries and 7,567 deaths.
Transmission of Covid-19 in younger, more mobile and socially-connected adults is an ongoing risk for spread into high-risk populations and settings, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Monday.
As of April 11, a total of 33,133 variant-of-concern cases have been reported across Canada, including 31,567 B.1.1.7 variants, 1,212 P.1 variants and 354 B.1.351 variants. B.1.1.7, which has been confirmed in all provinces and two territories, continues to account for the majority of variants of concern in Canada and has likely replaced the original virus in some areas, according to the agency.
As of Monday afternoon, Canada reported a cumulative total of 1,066,591 COvid-19 cases, including 23,333 deaths and 967,394 recoveries, according to CTV.