Yesterday, the province announced the lockdown in northern Ontario, which was expected to be lifted this weekend, has been extended until at least January 23, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the province.

Health units across the north, including the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU), were consulted about the continuing lockdown earlier this week and believe the lockdown is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Since the lockdown began on Dec. 26, there have been 32 cases of COVID-19 reported in the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area, with the majority being in the Kenora region and the Rainy River region.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the full effect of what has occurred over the Christmas season,” said Dr. Kit Young Hoon, medical officer of health at the Northwestern Health Unit.

“The interactions during the Christmas season is likely to still yet show up in our numbers,” Young Hoon continued.

The medical officer of health noted there are a number of health units across the north that are continuing to see an increase of COVID-19 cases, and that was a big factor in the decision to continue the lockdown in the north. Ontario reported 4,249 new cases of COVID-19 today, a new single day record.

The situation across the province is dire, in a press conference earlier today, Premier Doug Ford stressed that Ontarians need to follow COVID-19 rules and protocols.

“We’re in a desperate situation and when you see the modelling you’ll fall off your chair,” the premier said referring to new COVID-19 modelling which the province is expected to release early next week.

Ford added that “nothing is off the table,” when it comes to future COVID-19 restrictions.

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