KITCHENER -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in the province on Tuesday as the government tries to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The announcement was made at Queen's Park at an 8:30 a.m. news conference.

Ford says the bans public events of over 50 people, including parades and services inside places of worship.

That ban will last until March 31. It's not clear if it will be enforced immediately, however, meaning the unsanctioned party on Ezra Avenue may not be subject to the ban.

All facilities for indoor recreation, public libraries, private schools, licensed childcare centres and theatres will close immediately. Bars and restaurants will also close, except to provide takeout food and delivery.

Grocery and convenience stores, pharmacies and manufacturing facilities will stay open, Ford says.

"I want to assure the people of Ontario the government is taking every step possible to flatten the curve. I want to urge calm. No expense will be spared to support Ontarians in need," he said.

He stresses that this is not a provincial shutdown, saying that the majority of businesses won't be affected by the order.

As of Monday morning, Ontario has confirmed 172 positive cases of COVID-19, with another 1,537 marked as "under investigation." Five have been resolved.

In Waterloo Region, eight people have been diagnosed with the virus. All of them began self-isolating at home, but two have since been moved to hospital.

The province has earmarked $100 million for healthcare resources, with another $200 million being promised from the federal government. Ford also says a provincial support package is in planning.

The COVID-19 numbers are expected to be updated on Tuesday at around 10:30 a.m.

This is a developing story. More to come...