Ontario extends emergency orders to May 14

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We’re going to have to stay at home for a while longer.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has extended the emergency orders that have closed non-essential businesses and kept students from school in the effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

MPPs approved legislation which continues the state of emergency until May 14. Ford says students will not be returning to school May 4. That was the last goal post the education minister set. Ford wouldn’t say when students might return to class but he says the extension of the emergency order doesn’t mean the school year is over.

Ford told reporters it appears the measures to slow the spread of the virus are working, but he is not prepared to open up the economy when lives are at stake.

Three hundred and thirty-four people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario since the virus came to Canada. Right now, 256 people are in intensive care units across the province – far less than Public Health Ontario projected there would be.

Ford says it shows a “glimmer” of hope but says there is still a big problem in Ontario’s long-term care homes. He’s vowing to put all the province’s resources into protecting Ontario’s seniors.

Almost half of Canada’s 735 deaths have been people in long term care homes including six at Sarnia’s Landmark Village. There are multiple homes in Ontario – in Toronto, Hagersville and Ottawa – who have had more than ten residents die.

Ford called it “an inferno” and vowed to spend experts from hospitals to help deal with any outbreaks.

Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Theresa Tam, says she expects the number of long term care deaths will continue to grow even as the number of cases decreases.

Ford says he will order employees to work in only one home during the pandemic. It’s a move health organizations have been asking for since the SARS outbreak in 2003.

And he says long term homes without enough personal protective equipment will receive it in 24 hours.

In Lambton, public health officials announce another person has died of COVID-19. Eleven people have died in all. There was only one new case in Lambton and 21 people have recovered.