“Worse than worst case” numbers result in stay-at-home order

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, citing increasing admissions to hospitals and intensive care units as a result of COVID-19 variants that were “worse than the worst-case scenarios” previously predicted, declared a new state of emergency for the province and issued a four-week “stay-at-home” order on Wednesday, April 7.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to stay open under restrictions, non-essential retail businesses can only offer home delivery and curbside pick-up services.

“Big-box” stores, unlike past lockdowns, will only be able to sell “essential” merchandise, not everything on their shelves.

By the end of the next four weeks, he said, 40 percent of all adults in Ontario should be vaccinated, “and things will start to turn in our favour.”

He also said that anyone 60 and older would now be able to make appointments to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, but that’s not actually true locally.

Southwestern Public Health confirmed that, for now, bookings in Elgin, St. Thomas and Middlesex would continue to be for those 65 and older.

Megan Cornwell, on behalf of the health unit, said many local residents were in the older age group and were being given priority for now.