Almost 60 Per Cent Of Canadians Are Feeling Anxiety About Leaving The House – Full COVID-19 Update

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to linger, a new survey suggests more than half of Canadians say venturing out into public has become a stressful experience. Conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, the web survey found that 57 per cent of respondents said leaving their home for a public space caused them anxiety. While the figures were relatively consistent across the country, they reached a high of 64 per cent in Ontario and a low of 48 per cent in Alberta. 42 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they wore a mask in the last week while out in public.

Ontario Schools And Daycares:

Premier Ford says his government will provide an update next week on when child care centres and schools could reopen. Ford gave few hints about the plan yesterday but announced his government will move to extend the provincial state of emergency until June 2nd. That will be voted on when the legislature resumes sitting today, along with a bill that makes pandemic-related changes to various acts. A reduced number of MPP’s have returned to the legislature several times since the pandemic began but have now also agreed to regular question periods during periodic sittings through early June.

Ontario Taxes:

Premier Ford says he can’t rule out tax increases for the rest of his government’s current term as the provincial deficit skyrockets due to the COVID-19 crisis. But he says no one watches taxes more than he does and he’s confident the provincial economy will recover from the impact of restrictions imposed to contain the virus. Ford made the comments after Ontario’s budget watchdog projected the province’s deficit will quadruple to a record high of $41-billion dollars this year. But the Financial Accountability Office says that can be reduced to $25.3 billion in 2021-22 due to a strengthening economy — assuming Ontario eases restrictions gradually through the summer.

Prom And Grad Should Be Rescheduled:

Ontario has previously announced that publicly funded schools will be closed until at least May 31st. Education Minister Stephen Lecce is now encouraging school boards to only delay events such as proms and graduation ceremonies to the summer or fall, rather than cancel them outright.

Ford Visits On Mother’s Day:

Premier Ford has admitted that he recently had two of his daughters visit him, apparently contrary to official provincial advice. Ford was asked yesterday if the concept of two-household bubbles would come to Ontario soon, as it has in some other provinces. In his reply, Ford said two of his daughters who don’t live with him had already visited. Two other daughters live in the home. The province’s coronavirus website, however, advises no contact outside someone’s home. Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said his advice had not changed.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference:

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario reported 308 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, and 35 more deaths. That brings the province to a total of 20,546 cases, including 1669 deaths and 15,131 resolved cases. The total represents a 1.5 per cent increase over Sunday’s total, holding the same low growth rate.

Reopening The Border:

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Ottawa and Washington are working on plans to deal with what she calls the inevitable increase in cross-border traffic as states and provinces reopen. Freeland says traffic over the shared border is bound to rise when restrictions on personal mobility are eased. There’s currently a Canada-U.S. ban on non-essential travel. That agreement, which has allowed essential workers and trade shipments to continue, was first imposed in March. It’s set to expire on May 21st.

New American Models Project A Much Higher Death Toll:

A top coronavirus model has increased the projected American death toll to 137,000 by August due to social distancing measures being relaxed in the majority of states with California’s fatalities forecast to more than double in that time.   The influential model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is projecting a slight increase in expected COVID-19 deaths as a result of increased mobility across the country.   The projected death toll has increased by 2,700 since the model’s projections were updated this week.  The slight increase comes as some states continue to ease social distancing measures and people start moving more following weeks of lockdowns.   Currently, more than 80,000 Americans have died from coronavirus and there are over 1.3 million infections across the country.

Potential Vaccines:

Canada’s chief public health officer says there are more than 100 potential vaccines that officials are hoping will prevent COVID-19. But Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Ottawa is also looking at ways to make sure development and production of a vaccine doesn’t take away from work on the annual flu shots many get every year. A vaccine is seen as a key condition for resuming life as it was before the pandemic. Health authorities caution the research is still in its early stages.

Here is Prime Minister Trudeau’s news conference from yesterday:

Mental Health Crisis:

A new poll from the Canadian Mental Health Association says Ontario residents are bracing for a mental health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey from CMHA’s Ontario division is the first of three questionnaires meant to gauge the impact the outbreak will have on the way Ontario residents feel and behave. The majority of the 1,001 respondents to the online poll say they fear the effects COVID-19 will have on the national economy, the future for both older and younger generations, personal finances and the well-being of friends and family. The survey found 53 per cent of participants worry about their own mental health as a result of the pandemic, while 67 per cent say they’re concerned about the toll on their loved ones.

The Dunedin Blue Jays:

The Toronto Blue Jays may play some regular-season games this year, but might not on home turf. Major League Baseball is poised to put forward a proposal to the players union that would see a shortened season start in early July. But the Blue Jays may have to play their home matches at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida because of self-isolation restrictions required by anyone who travels into Canada. Toronto Mayor John Tory says he has discussed the possibility of the Blue Jays eventually being able to play games in the city at some point, but those talks haven’t progressed in the past couple of weeks.

Waterloo Region Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health confirmed only 8-new COVID-19 cases in the region. That brings the total to 940. But … the resolved rate finally crept above 50%. 493 are now resolved. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, there were only 3-new cases reported yesterday for a total of 328. Only one of the new cases was in Guelph. They now have 122 positive cases.  Wellington has 55 and Dufferin County has 143 cases.

Kitchener Extends Financial Relief:

Kitchener City Council has approved extending relief measures to support residents and businesses through the pandemic. The City will be waiving penalties and interest on property taxes, late payment charges on utility bills and invoices, and NSF fees charges for the month of June. They are also offering an application-based property tax deferral program which will allow residents and businesses to apply to extend 2020 final property tax bill due dates by 60 days. You can also apply to have the suspension of utility disconnection and collection activities put on hold up to August 31.

Waterloo Pandemic Charges:

Waterloo Regional Police say they have charged eight people for pandemic-related offences so far. Since March 17, seven people have been arrested as a result of aggressive behaviour, including coughing or spitting in someone’s face. In one case an officer was assaulted. Multiple involved people drive-thru restaurants and grocery store employees being assaulted. Overall, police say they have seen an increase in aggressive behaviour.

Waterloo Region And Guelph Flyover:

First it was the Snowbirds on Sunday and today we get another flyover from the Waterloo Warbirds. The T-33 Shark will be flying over Waterloo Region and the Harvard will fly over Guelph. This is a nod to our healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers. The flights will depart the Region of Waterloo Airport at 11:30am. They are reminding you to please follow all directives for social distancing and not to travel to the airport or any public sites to watch the flyovers.

Major Hospital Donation:

Here some great news and a much needed boost for Waterloo Region hospitals. The Mike and Ophelia Lazaridis Family Foundation is giving $8.5 million dollars to Cambridge Memorial, Grand River, St. Mary’s and the South Bruce Grey Health Centre. A release from the hospitals says the donation profoundly strengthened their ability to respond quickly and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will help them respond to future emergencies.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan