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Positive news coming this week on COVID-19 restrictions, Ford says

Premier tells Ottawa radio station that he hates putting the public health measures in place, announcement expected later this week

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province is set to make an announcement later this week about reducing COVID-19 restrictions.

He told Ottawa radio station CFRA today that he hates putting the public health measures in place and that there will soon be some positive news on that front.

The government announced on Jan. 3 that, due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant driving up COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, restrictions would be placed on businesses until at least Jan. 26.

Restaurants were ordered closed for indoor dining, museums, zoos and other such attractions were shut down, as were gyms, indoor recreation facilities, cinemas and indoor concert venues, while retail settings and personal care services were capped at 50 per cent capacity.

Schools were also moved online for two weeks, and classes are resuming in person this week.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health said last week that he is watching for a peak or plateau of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and he can't guarantee the province will be ready to ease the restrictions on the 26th.

Ontario is reporting a record 4,183 people in hospital with COVID-19 today, including 580 people in intensive care.

That's up from 3,887 in hospitals on Monday, though not all hospitals report data from the weekends.

There are 37 new COVID-19 deaths being reported today.

Ontario is reporting 7,086 new cases of COVID-19, though Public Health Ontario has said the number is likely higher because of a current policy restricting who can access tests.

Eighty-two per cent of Ontario residents aged five and older have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and 88 per cent have at least one dose.

About 56 per cent of long-term care homes in the province have active COVID-19 outbreaks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press