Ontario's cabinet is now discussing whether to issue a stay-at-home order after a request was made by three of the province's top doctors, sources have confirmed to CTV News Toronto.
"We're going to have further restrictions moving forward very, very quickly".
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he asked for one additional day to give parents time to prepare, but Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said the shutdown is needed immediately.
The decision to close schools in the region did not sit well with Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.
He said the government will be "very clear tomorrow".
"Don't close elementary schools".
"Ending in-person learning should only be done as a last resort and will be ineffective if not accompanied by other stricter measures that include things like ... paid sick days for essential workers, closure of non-essential retail businesses and where possible, sending all staff to work from home", the letter says.
Public health restrictions have tightened across Ontario as of Saturday with the province now under what it calls a "shutdown" but allows some businesses, including malls, to stay open.
They now represent at least two thirds of case growth, but their path to dominance was predicted by the Ontario COVID-19 Science Table as early as mid-February.
In recent months, it has shifted in a descending order through the oldest age groups in the province, with Toronto now starting to give the shot to people 60 years and older at its six mass vaccination sites.
In a Twitter thread, Etches said she is "in the process of reviewing the COVID data in schools to advise on an approach to take for schools in Ottawa".
ICU doctors have said numerous patients they're treating these days are essential workers who got infected in the workplace.
The province has documented almost 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the past five days, and hospitals now have more COVID-19 patients in intensive care than at any other time during the pandemic.
There were 942 people hospitalized with the virus during the same period, though the Ministry of Health noted that 10 per cent of Ontario's hospitals do not submit data on weekends.
Ontario also reports 494 patients in intensive care because of COVID-19 and 293 on a ventilator.