Many residents and business owners have been frustrated by another lock-down and stay-at-home order in Ontario, especially with few COVID-19 cases in northwestern Ontario.

But Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford explains while it was a difficult decision to implement the new orders, it was necessary to ease pressures on our healthcare system and allow the ongoing vaccine roll-out to continue.

“As difficult as this stay-at-home order is and some of the restrictions that accompany it, what’s different from this time than any other, is we’re really having a showdown with the vaccine itself. But I can tell you right now, we’re winning.”

Rickford, who also serves as the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Energy and Indigenous Affairs, notes the Northwestern Health Unit is expecting additional vaccine shipments this week. As of April 13, the NWHU says they’ve provided close to 16,000 Moderna doses in the area.

“We expect another wave of vaccines in the next week that will start to put our population in northwestern Ontario into a very, very good place. We’re bringing a lot of vaccines into the region. The Northwestern Health Unit’s doing a great job.”

Rickford says by the end of this stay-at-home order, which is currently set to end on May 6 if its not extended, Ontario’s goal is to vaccinate roughly 40 percent of the population. The Minister adds northwestern Ontario is ‘tracking well’ to accomplish that goal.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province has the capacity to vaccinate ‘millions’ of additional residents but has repeatedly been slowed down by a lack of vaccine shipments from the federal government.

However, during his virtual daily briefing on April 13, Premier Ford said Ontario is targeting to vaccinate up to 9 million residents between April and June. He stressed residents should sign-up for their vaccine appointment as soon as they are eligible.

Anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in contact with a positive case of the virus is asked to immediately self-isolate, get tested and remain in isolation until your test results are known.