The province is expanding the eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all residents aged 50 and older in response to rising cases of the Omicron variant. Chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore says people in that age group can make appointments for booster shots starting December 13th. Moore says more people will become eligible next month based on age and COVID-19 risk, with boosters offered approximately six months after a second dose. He is urging eligible residents to book booster appointments as soon as possible — saying vaccination is the best defence against a significant surge in COVID-19 cases and the Omicron variant.
Biden Is Now Making Canadians Provide A Negative Test To Get In:
By early next week, Canadians and all other foreign visitors who travel to the United States by air will need to get a COVID-19 test 24 hours before their departure.
US President Joe Biden is slashing the current 72-hour testing window for fully vaccinated travellers. Toronto travel insurance broker Martin Firestone says the Omicron variant has dealt the travel industry another body blow. As of now, the White House has left the Canada-US land border out of its plans.
Today, President Biden is announcing new actions to protect Americans against COVID, including the Omicron variant, this winter. Read more about the plan: https://t.co/HWvDt7ewQh
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 2, 2021
Pearson Airport Still Waiting For Info:
Pearson Airport in Toronto says it’s still waiting for more information about how to implement new COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements. A spokeswoman for the airport says more details will be available in the coming days. Tori Gass says they are working with the government on the specific details of the new testing requirements. Ottawa announced on Tuesday that all air travellers entering Canada, except for those coming from the US, would need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and isolate until they get their results, even if they are fully vaccinated against the virus.
House Speaker Sides With The Conservatives On Vaccination Rules:
House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota has sided with the Conservatives in saying the chamber’s governing body had no right to require anyone entering the Commons precinct to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Rota says only the House itself can make a decision to restrict access to the chamber and other parliamentary buildings. However, Rota’s ruling changes nothing for MPs or anyone else wanting access to the precinct. Last week, Liberals and New Democrats joined forces to approve a motion to resume hybrid sittings, which also specified that anyone entering the precinct must be fully immunized against COVID-19 or have a valid medical exemption.
Government May Finally Release Info On Fired Scientists At A Winnipeg Lab:
The opposition parties have yet to respond to the Liberal government’s proposal to compromise over the disclosure of documents related to the firing of two scientists at Canada’s highest security laboratory. Government House leader Mark Holland is suggesting a special committee of MPs from all parties, all with security clearance, be allowed to view the unredacted documents. A panel of independent arbiters would decide what material can be publicly released and what information should be redacted or summarized, which Holland says is similar to what was done in 2010 by the Harper government to allow opposition MPs to see documents related to Afghan detainees.
More Omicron Cases Popping Up in Ontario:
Two Toronto-area public health units reported cases yesterday of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The Durham Region Health Department announced a close contact of someone who was recently in southern Africa tested positive. And Halton Public Health says one person was confirmed to have the variant, and two others had probable cases. It says the three people were close contacts, and one of the people with a suspected case had recently been in Nigeria.
GlaxoSmithKline’s COVID Treatment Works on Omicron:
GlaxoSmithKline says its COVID-19 antibody drug appears to be effective against the Omicron variant. Antibody treatments remain one of a handful of therapies that can blunt the worst effects of COVID-19. Earlier this week, drugmaker Regeneron cautioned that its antibody cocktail appeared to lose effectiveness against Omicron.
Fauci Says We May Get Annual COVID Boosters:
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that American may need to be prepared to receive a vaccination for COVID every year to protect against infection, but said holiday travel is still safe for the vaccinated. Fauci said it was too early to tell whether an annual booster will be needed as new variants emerge, as he spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper during a town hall Wednesday evening. “Anderson, to be honest with you, we don’t know. We really don’t. You could say we might have this or we might require this, but we don’t know,” Fauci said.
Toronto Students Excluded From Sports Unless Vaccinated:
Students aged 12 and up at both of Toronto’s major school boards will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate in competitive indoor sports this winter. The Toronto Catholic District School Board sent a letter to parents yesterday announcing the vaccine mandate, which will cover coaches as well as players. It comes after the city’s public school board announced the same policy last week. The vaccine mandates are being imposed amid a rise in school-related cases of COVID-19 and school-based outbreaks.
New Loans for LTC Homes:
Ontario is setting aside $388-million dollars in loans for not-for-profit long-term care facilities. The province says the loans will be through Infrastructure Ontario, a Crown agency that manages infrastructure lending. Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips says the program is part of the government’s plan to speed up long-term care development in the province. The Ontario Long-Term Care Association says the program will help its non-profit members overcome challenges in accessing funding which, in turn, will help deliver more safe and modern homes in the province.
Ontario is inching closer to one-thousand new daily cases of COVID-19, recording 959 yesterday. Of those, the province says 469 are in people who are not fully vaccinated against the virus. Sixty-one are in those whose vaccination status isn’t known. The province is also reporting eight deaths due to the virus today.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated represent 23.5% of Ontario’s total population & amount to 469 of Ontario's 959 new reported cases. 61 cases are in individuals with an unknown vaccination status.
Today’s numbers will be available at 10:30 a.m. at https://t.co/ypmgZbVRvn.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) December 2, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health reported 31 new cases yesterday and 1 new death. It was a man in his 60’s. Active cases have increased to 239. There are still 11 people hospitalized.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health had just 9 new cases yesterday. Active cases sit at 74 heading into the weekend. There is just 1 person being treated in hospital.
— WDG Public Health (@WDGPublicHealth) December 2, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot