White House press secretary Jen Psaki says the Biden administration is finalizing efforts to send 1.5-million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Canada. She says the shots will be considered a loan and that details are still being worked out. Washington hasn’t yet approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine and has been criticized for stockpiling tens of millions of doses that could be used elsewhere. On the 58th day of his presidency, the US was on the verge of meeting Joe Biden’s goal of injecting 100-million doses of COVID-19 vaccine into American arms in his first 100 days in office.
Ford Thanks Biden for the Vaccines:
Ontario’s premier praised US President Joe Biden yesterday for offering some COVID-19 vaccines to Canada. The White House had announced plans to lend 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Canada. Premier Ford says he’s grateful the US is trying to help its allies. When Premier Ford first heard the news he said, “God Bless America”.
Here are Premier Ford’s remarks from yesterday:
Ford Open to Less Restrictions on Peel and Toronto:
Premier Ford says he’s open to loosening COVID-19 restrictions in Toronto and Peel region. Both regions’ public health officials have requested a modified version of the grey lockdown phase of the province’s pandemic response plan. They want some businesses — such as restaurants and gyms — to be able to operate outdoors. Ford says he’s open to the idea, and the province’s chief medical officer of health is considering it. A decision is expected today.
Mississauga, and all of Peel, has been one of the hardest hit regions in Canada during #COVID19. I am urging the Province that we receive vaccines proportionate to our needs & that all of our residents who aren’t able work from home are prioritized in the vaccine rollout. pic.twitter.com/qwavXgF6mk
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) March 18, 2021
Dr Williams Says We Are in a Third Wave:
Yesterday Dr David Williams said Ontario is in a third wave of COVID-19 but said we don’t yet know how big the wave will be. Here are his remarks:
Now the EU Says the AstraZeneca Vaccine Does Not Cause Blood Clots:
The European Union’s drug regulatory agency says the AstraZeneca vaccine is not linked to an overall increase in the risk of blood clots. The EMA says the benefits of use outweigh the risks, paving the way for European countries to resume administering the shots. Numerous countries in Europe and Scandinavia had suspended use of the vaccine in the wake of the reports. The EMA is recommending the addition of a description of these rare cases to the vaccine leaflets given to health workers and patients.
The Atlantic provinces are Bringing Back the Atlantic Bubble:
The four Atlantic premiers are set to reinstate the so-called Atlantic Bubble by April 19th. That would exempt residents from quarantining if they travel between the provinces. The bubble was first formed last summer and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey says the regions’ case numbers are low enough for it to form again. He notes vaccination rates are going up and COVID numbers are down. Travellers from the rest of Canada to the Atlantic provinces would still be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Canadian Vaccine Update:
Canada’s deputy chief public health officer says almost seven per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Doctor Howard Njoo says most of the doses have been given to the elderly and vulnerable. He is optimistic about the news. Barring any issues, the military commander handling logistics for Canada’s vaccine distribution program says there will be enough COVID-19 vaccine delivered to give a first dose to every adult who wants one before Canada Day.
Here is yesterday’s federal update:
Ottawa Hospital Outbreak:
An COVID-19 outbreak at the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus has claimed seven lives, making it the deadliest outbreak in an Ottawa hospital during the pandemic. The outbreak began last month and, since then, 27 patients and 15 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The Ottawa Hospital says the hospital is managing the outbreak and is no evidence to suggest that it was caused by a variant of concern. The hospital did not identify the unit where the outbreak was located. It says the last case related to the outbreak was on March 11th.
Waterloo Brewing to Help Out Struggling Bars & Restaurants:
Waterloo Brewing is cutting the prices it charges Ontario’s pubs and restaurants for its most popular brands. Waterloo CEO George Croft says the brewery will sell a selection of its most popular beers at essentially cost to Ontario pubs and restaurants. Croft says the hospitality sector has been among the hardest hit during the pandemic and that the coming months will be difficult.
#LocalsHelpingLocals is a new program that aims to help local business owners and hospitality workers. We will be selling kegs and tall cans of our most popular brands at a significantly reduced cost to restaurants, bars and pubs across #Ontario. https://t.co/ELflc40O9h pic.twitter.com/pULPWtnvzy
— Waterloo Brewing (@WaterlooBrewing) March 18, 2021
The province confirmed 1,553 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, based on nearly 58,600 tests completed. 57% of those cases came from the big 3 hotspots: Toronto, Peel Region and York Region. There were 15 new deaths in yesterday’s data release. 11 less patients were in hospital but 4 more were admitted to the ICU. 1,236 more cases were deemed resolved.
Ontario is reporting 1,553 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 58,600 tests completed. Locally, there are 404 new cases in Toronto, 294 in Peel and 176 in York Region.
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 1,359,453 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 18, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
There were 36 new COVID-19 cases announced yesterday by Waterloo Region Public Health. Only 31 of those were new cases. Hospitalizations dropped from twenty-four to 22 and there are still 10 people in intensive care. The number of active cases was up by four to 313.
In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, there were 21 new cases yesterday but the number of active cases dropped by two to 104. Hospitalizations dropped down to just 5 with 2 in the ICU. More than half of yesterday’s new cases were in Guelph. Only 6 were in Dufferin.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: The White House via YouTube