Kim Phillips
BarrieCTVNewsca producer

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BARRIE, ONT – –
Premier Doug Ford announced a nationwide lockdown will begin at 12:01 p.m. on Dec. 26 and lasts at least 28 days

The lockdown would be what we saw in the spring, as only essential stores were open This time, however, the province decided that schools would not close completely and instead opted to extend the winter break

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr According to Charles Gardner, moving the region to a lockdown could prove beneficial as local COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise

“The Simcoe Muskoka pandemic is worsening,” says Gardner. “People are at higher risk and we have the potential for more hospitalizations, more serious diseases and potentially more outbreaks”

The top doctor in the area says his concern is with the outbreaks among the elderly “In particular, I am most concerned about those found in long-term care facilities because these people are just so vulnerable as they represent the majority of the people who contract COVID -19 die “

“Unfortunately, residents of long-term care and retirement homes are hardest hit by COVID-19, with a quarter of cases succumbing to the disease,” said the health unit

Health officials have urged the public to avoid their usual holiday gatherings and instead choose to stay in their households; However, according to surveys, most Ontarians plan to stick to their traditions

“It is critical that we do everything we can to take control of the pandemic and smooth the curve to reduce the number of our cases”At this point, we’re having trouble even slowing it down here in Simcoe Muskoka,” he says

Still, Gardner admits that regions further south that are closed do not report any change in the number of cases. “These areas are also continuing to increase,” he says

The health officer remains optimistic that locking down the area would slow the virus down, “Lockdown or Gray can help us with that”

With the lockdown, Ford announced that publicly funded schools would be closed for an extended winter break

“I want to make it clear that schools in our communities are not part of the COVID problem. As a precaution, school closings will be extended during the winter break,” Ford said during the announcement on Monday

Elementary school students will return a week later than planned on January 11, while high school students will return on Jan. Start distance learning on January 11 and return on Jan back to class 25

“By asking students and staff to stay home longer, you can make sure we are doing what it takes to control the spread,” added Ford,

The nationwide shutdown requires people to “stay home as much as possible” and limit travel outside the home

“We will launch the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant that will be at least 10%$ 000 and up to $ 20US $ 000 to give small business owners a chance to help them during this challenging time that’s up to 20US $ 000 to help hundreds of thousands of businesses across the province and they will decide where those funds are needed most, “said the Prime Minister

The lockdown will remain in place for Southern Ontario through January 23 but will end on Jan for Northern Ontario raise 9

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Source: https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/what-lockdown-means-for-simcoe-muskoka-1.5240165