Get used to closures and self-isolation, Ontarians. Premier Doug Ford delivered his latest update on COVID-19 in Ontario on Monday afternoon and announced that he will be extending the province's state of emergency by another two weeks as a minimum. The initial urgent period was set to end on Tuesday, March 31.

Back on March 17, which seems a lot longer ago than a fortnight, Ford declared emergency status in Ontario as a result of the spread of the pandemic.

That initial order included the shuttering of facilities like libraries, schools, childcare centres, bars and restaurants, and cinemas. 

Since then, both the case numbers and the responses to those numbers have progressed rapidly.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ford said he will extend that period by another two weeks.

Not only that, but he admitted the province is already planning for that to be a rolling two-week renewal.

So, if emergency status is considered to still be necessary in another two weeks' time, it will be extended again by the same period.

The second stage of the emergency period is set to end on April 14, the day that the House of Commons is set to reconvene.

In the meantime, Ontarians can stay up to speed on COVID-19 by visiting the province's new dedicated page.

In the daily briefing, Ford also insisted that he and provincial staff will not be afraid to enforce harsher and more restrictive measures to prevent people from endangering themselves and others to the virus.

The language used by Ford seems to follow on from Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, who warned last week that residents' "civil liberties" could be at stake.

On Friday, March 27, Ontario sent its first COVID-19-specific emergency alert to cellphones, TVs, and radios across the province. It will not be the last, according to Ford.

Ford's words on Monday may not have been quite as strong as when he put Pusateri's Fine Foods on blast last week, but it's clear Ontario means business.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said on Monday that the country is getting close to having the data available to assess how well social distancing measures have been working across the country.

According to the new Ontario COVID-19 page, the province has run over 48,000 total tests for the virus. Over 1,700 cases have been confirmed, with 23 deaths and 431 resolved.

Interestingly, information about pending and negative tests has been removed from that site's homepage, thus effectively limiting the data on Ontario's backlog of cases.

Last week, the number of cases under investigation in Ontario exceeded 10,000 for the first time.

NOW WATCH Ontario Just Set A New High With 351 More COVID-19 Cases Confirmed Today (VIDEO)

 
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