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Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks in Toronto, on Feb. 8, 2021.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

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Ontario will announce measures on Thursday aimed at fighting the pandemic’s third wave, the government said, as the number of COVID-19 patients in the province’s intensive care units hit a new high.

Premier Doug Ford told residents on Wednesday to “stay tuned” and urged them to refrain from gathering over the Easter weekend.

“You’ll hear an announcement tomorrow,” he said, without providing further details. “I’m very, very concerned to see the cases go up.”

Ontario reported 2,333 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and 15 more deaths linked to the virus.

Those figures follow weeks of rising case counts as more contagious variants of the virus spread across the province.

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The province also hit a new high Wednesday for the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.

Critical Care Services Ontario counted 421 hospital patients with COVID-related critical illness as of midnight.

Ford urged people to be “vigilant” in light of those figures.

“Don’t gather in large groups,” he said. “Follow the protocols of the chief medical officer and we’ll be able to get through this and we’ll be able to get more vaccines into people’s arms.”

Health Minister Christine Elliott said “everything is on the table” as the government contemplates more public health restrictions – repeating a phrase used by Ford earlier this week.

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NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the government hasn’t done enough to prevent people from getting severely ill as the third wave has taken hold.

She said she expects the government to announce a new lockdown on Thursday, but said the government should be taking action immediately.

“I don’t know why we’re waiting for the cabinet to have a conversation about politics versus public health,” she said.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner also urged the government to act.

“We need to ensure our hospitals and (public health units) have the resources they need,” he said in a statement.

“We also need a comprehensive safe workplace strategy for essential workers like those working in warehouses and grocery stores that includes receiving vaccines sooner.”

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