Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a second full province-wide lockdown Monday afternoon that will come into effect on Boxing Day.
The announcement comes as the province deals with an average of 2,276 new cases of COVID-19 over the last seven days—an increase of 23 percent from last week. Lockdown will begin on December 26 at 12:01 am, will take place for 28 days in southern Ontario and 14 days in northern Ontario, and will allow only "essential businesses to open, similar to the lockdowns seen in March.
"We saw this morning's modeling that our COVID-19 numbers are continuing to accelerate at an alarming rate... despite restrictions, we've seen growing numbers of people traveling throughout Ontario.
Ford said that cases were traveling form places with high case counts to low case counts, along with a 70 percent increase in hospitalizations, and an 80 percent increase in ICU visits in the past week.
"Above all, we need to preserve capacity in our ICUs and hospitals," said Ford, who said that increase in cases has put his government on "the verge of cancelling elective surgeries."
Ford also expressed concerns over the new strain of COVID-19 identified in the United Kingdom.
Ford called the lockdown a "temporary, but one-time measure in response to the exceptional circumstances" facing the province.
Ford announced on Friday that he had requested an emergency meeting with "CEOs of all hospitals in Ontario, I want to listen to what's happening on the ground, within the hospitals, within ICU units."
Ford said that those meetings contributed to the decision made on Monday.