Ottawa, Ontario face possibility of another COVID-19 lockdown. What would it look like?

OTTAWA — There is growing fear a lockdown in Ontario could soon be on the horizon.

“We’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a press conference Friday.

“I will not hesitate for a second if we have to go further.”

Those words come as the province continues to set records for COVID-19 cases in a single day.

Public Health Ontario reported nearly 1,600 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday — the highest single day total yet in Ontario.

For now, the government has lowered its thresholds for new COVID-19 restrictions.

Ottawa stays in the “Orange-Restrict” zone for COVID-19 restrictions, but changes to the thresholds in the coloured-coded framework means the capital moved closer to the “Red-Control” zone, just shy of a full lockdown.

“If we continue to practice the simple messages of public health of a mask and social distancing and washing your hands than at least we have some rational to explain why we shouldn’t be brought into a more severe category,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

And while the threat of a possible lockdown looms, what that would look like is still not clear.

“Quite honestly, I think it’s going to have to be even more restrictive than the first shutdown situation,” said Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, infectious disease specialist.

Sharkawy said while the length of restrictions could vary by region, a uniform approach right across Ontario is required.

“I think we are fooling ourselves into believing that we can continue with this grated, targeted, surgical, peace meal approach, it’s absolutely unrealistic, this virus is getting worse everywhere,” he said.

While Ottawa is doing better than other hotspots in Ontario, the mayor says the city will support any provincial effort to keep residents safe.

“It’ll be tough medicine, be we have to do what we have to do to save lives,” said Mayor Watson.

On Friday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches warned Ottawa is now on the “cusp” of the red zone.

There are still signs that the health care system is facing challenges in Ottawa.

According to Ottawa Public Health 97 per cent of acute beds are occupied and 92 per cent of ICU beds.

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