Kayla Goodfield, Multi-Platform Writer, CTV News Toronto
Published Sunday, December 20, 2020 5:04PM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 21, 2020 5:03AM EST
These sources, who have direct knowledge of the situation, say the lockdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24 and will last for 28 days in the southern portions of the province (south of Sudbury) and 14 days in the northern parts.
This lockdown will look similar to the province-wide shutdown back in March, with only essential businesses being allowed to remain open.
Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Windsor-Essex are already under lockdown. Hamilton is set to join the grey zone of the province’s tiered COVID-19 framework on Monday.
The province-wide lockdown has not been formally announced by the provincial government.
Ford indicated on Friday that an announcement regarding additional measures being taken to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus will be made on Monday.
The sources say the decision to implement a province-wide lockdown was made based off COVID-19 modelling data.
The data has shown that under any scenario, Ontario will see about 300 people in intensive care by the end of December. At the current rate of transmission, that number would grow to 700 patients by the end of January.
The province has said that once the number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario’s intensive care units (ICU) surpasses 300 supporting other medical needs not related to the disease becomes nearly impossible.
There are currently 261 patients infected with the disease in ICUs across the province.
Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch said a "major pivot" is needed to reduce the spread and track down where the cases are stemming from.
“Certainly it’s not sustainable to have 2,000 cases of COVID-19 per day in the province and we’ve seen over the last month how the hospitals are filling up and how the hospital system is getting stretched beyond capacity and now we’re actually having to reduce care for non-COVID-19-related issues because of the influx of patients with COVID-19," Bogoch told CP24 on Sunday.
"I just hope that during the course of this time they look upstream and look at the root causes of these infections in the community and start dealing with the root causes of these infections so that we don't have wave after wave of lockdown," he added.
On Sunday, 24 hospitals across the Greater Toronto Area released a joint statement calling on the province to implement stricter measures to help curb the spread of the disease. The letter was in support of the Ontario Hospital Association’s (OHA) call for stronger lockdown measures in the province in the wake of record-breaking infections.
The letter said frontline workers are “stressed and overstretched” and that “this level of strain is simply not sustainable for much longer.”
“We are seeing increasing numbers of staff becoming ill and not able to work – both with COVID-19 and other illnesses,” the letter reads. “While we are coping and planning for redeployment, we are seeing more illness and stress and hearing about the toll this is taking on people’s families.”
On Thursday, the OHA called on the provincial government to implement a four-week lockdown in every public health unit placed, or considered to be placed, in the “red” control zone of the province’s COVID-19 response framework.
“(Frontline workers) are exhausted, they're emotionally and physically exhausted,” OHA President and CEO Anthony Dale said on Sunday. “And they see no end in sight to the accelerating surge of COVID-19 patients and what that's doing is it's crowding out all kinds of other very important care, some of that life saving care like cardiac and cancer care even organ transplants are being disrupted because of the uncontrolled surge in COVID-19.”
Dale added that lockdown measures worked in the first wave of the pandemic back in the spring and that those measures, or even stricter measures, need to be in place now to curb transmission of the disease.
Ontario has seen daily case counts surpass 2,000 for six days in a row. The seven-day average is currently 2,249.
The total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario is 155,930, including 4,150 deaths and 133,213 recovered patients.