A group of 38 health leaders and doctors is urging the province to place restrictions on non-essential businesses and activities that facilitate social gatherings. The group says in a statement that immediate action is needed to curb rising cases of COVID19 and prevent another widespread lockdown of businesses and schools. The statement says restrictions should target dine-in restaurants and bars, nightclubs, gyms, theatres and places of worship. It also argues non-essential businesses should be asked to have staff work from home wherever possible.
Province wide, Ontario reported another 409 cases of COVID19 yesterday and one new death. 151 of the new cases were in Toronto, while 82 were in Ottawa and 46 were in Peel Region. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 63 per cent of the new cases were in people under the age of 40. The province also reported 31 new cases in schools.
Ontario is reporting 409 cases of #COVID19 as more than 30,600 tests were completed. Locally, there are 151 new cases in Toronto with 82 in Ottawa and 46 in Peel. 63% of today’s cases are in people under the age of 40.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) September 24, 2020
Calls for Retired Teachers to Come Back to the Classroom:
The agency that oversees teachers in Ontario is calling on retirees to return to the classroom. The Ontario College of Teachers sent a letter this week to retired teachers and those whose licences have been suspended due to non-payment, urging them to get reinstated. The letter says the province is facing a shortage of certified teachers that’s been magnified by measures aimed at fighting the COVID19 pandemic.
Ontario Testing Changes:
Premier Ford is defending the province’s temporary shift away from offering a COVID19 test to anyone who wants one. Ford says assessment centres are reverting back to testing only those with symptoms, who’ve come into contact with a case or who work in high-risk settings. He says Ontario needs to be more strategic about who receives a COVID19 test as long waits continue at assessment centres across the province. He adds low-risk asymptomatic individuals can still make test appointments at up to 60 pharmacies starting today. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is accusing the Ford government of rationing COVID19 testing because it didn’t properly plan ahead for a second wave. Horwath says the government’s plan to limit testing to symptomatic and high-risk individuals is creating confusion and further uncertainty for Ontarians.
Today, upon the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario has updated testing guidelines to prioritize those who are at the greatest risk, while shifting away from untargeted asymptomatic testing. https://t.co/8TJ2S7XOUF pic.twitter.com/iBYLrKRKGG
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) September 24, 2020
Pharmacy Testing Begins Today:
Some pharmacies across the province will start offering COVID19 tests today. Up to 60 pharmacies are offering the appointment-only tests to a subgroup of asymptomatic people — including those with loved ones in long-term care homes, close contacts of a case or high-risk workers. Meanwhile, the government announced yesterday that the province’s assessment centres will now focus on testing those with symptoms, exposure to a case and people involved in outbreak investigations.
We know we need to process more #COVID19 tests.
That’s why Ontario is expanding the provincial lab network capacity. This includes hiring more lab staff. As a first step, the province will increase testing capacity to conduct up to 50,000 daily tests.https://t.co/z7cA7KAHRw pic.twitter.com/SGb9dj822c
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 24, 2020
Student Testing Centres:
Lambton County in southwestern Ontario has established COVID19 assessment centres exclusively for school children. Local officials say the aim is to get students back to school faster if they’re dealing with mild seasonal illnesses but need to rule out the possibility of having COVID19. Two of the by-appointment centres opened earlier this month and a third was opened yesterday. The region’s top doctor says the centres have been very busy and had performed 247 tests as of Tuesday.
Infection in the Premier’s Office:
Premier Ford’s office says a junior staffer has tested positive for COVID19. It says Ford didn’t have close contact or prolonged exposure to the staffer, who was part of the premier’s tour team. Ford still participated in an announcement yesterday on a new part of his fall pandemic preparedness plan but he is closely monitoring for symptoms, just in case.
Here is yesterday’s update from Premier Ford:
Freeland Wants MP’s to Leave Health Canada Alone:
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says it would be wrong for MPs to pressure Health Canada to fast-track approval of COVID19 rapid-testing devices. Demand for testing has been overwhelming. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole — who has tested positive for COVID — has called for Canada to allow the use of the devices that can provide results in minutes. However, they are not as accurate as the lab testing currently performed in Canada.
NDP Will Support the Liberal Throne Speech Thanks to New COVID Benefits:
There is the makings of a deal between the minority Liberal government and the NDP to support the throne speech. This comes after the government introduced legislation yesterday aimed at securing the support of New Democrats. The bill creates a more robust employment-insurance system and increased the money unemployed Canadians receive in benefits to $500-dollars a week. It also includes a sick leave benefit of $500-dollars a week for two weeks for anyone who falls ill or must isolate because of COVID19.
Justin Trudeau and the Liberals wanted to cut help for people unable to work because of #COVID19 by 400$ a month
We fought back and made sure support stayed at 2,000$ a month
We know you’re worried about the second wave and we want you to know — we’ll keep fighting for you pic.twitter.com/2hG8AktFxM
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) September 25, 2020
Housing Prices to Fall:
A financial intelligence company is predicting home prices in Canada could drop nearly seven per cent next year due to the continuing impact of COVID19. Moody’s Analytics says unemployment will put a damper on a hot real estate market — pushing prices for single-family homes down 6.7 per cent and condos down 6.5 per cent. Moody’s says there is a dangerous oversupply of new, single-family homes in Calgary and Edmonton, on top of affordability issues in Vancouver and Toronto. But it suggests that if a COVID19 vaccine comes out in the latter half of next year, home prices will bounce back in 2022.
Tackling Climate Change During a Pandemic:
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says COVID19 is an immediate priority, but if climate change is left unchecked, it will cause at least as much global harm as the pandemic. He says he plans to move quickly this fall to set legislated targets to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, which the Liberals had promised during the 2019 election. The goal is to be at net zero by 2050, which would require Canada to drastically curb its emissions drastically over three decades.
New Infections in Manitoba Linked to Bars:
Manitoba’s chief public health officer says people need to be more careful in their contacts with one another. This after the province recorded 37 new COVID19 cases yesterday, 30 of which were in Winnipeg. Doctor Brent Roussin says about half of the patients reported in recent weeks had visited bars, pubs or restaurants. Manitoba is also reporting an additional death linked to the virus, putting the provincial death toll at 19.
Saskatchewan Resident Fined for Not Self Isolating:
A person in Saskatchewan has been fined $2,000 dollars for failing to self-isolate while showing COVID19 symptoms. The Ministry of Health has not released specific details about the case except to say the penalty was levied after a contact tracing investigation. The province reported five new cases of COVID19 yesterday. It warns there has been a spike in infections because people are not following public health orders limiting the size of gatherings.
BC’s Top Doctor Thanks Fans for their Support After Receiving Threats:
British Columbia’s top doctor is thanking supporters after revealing she has faced abuse and death threats related to her public health orders during the COVID19 pandemic. Dr. Bonnie Henry says she appreciates all the notes and positive feedback she has received since saying on Tuesday that she’s had security in her home after receiving abusive letters and calls to staff. Henry says COVID19 has created anxiety and fear and some people have lashed out in anger and frustration.
Here is yesterday’s BC update:
The Race to find a Vaccine:
A Chinese pharmaceutical company says its COVID19 vaccine candidate will be ready for the world by early next year. SinoVac currently has clinical trials in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia. The vaccine has passed stage 1 and stage 2 clinical trials, but has not finished stage 3 trials, which are the global standard. The company says it will prioritize distribution of the vaccine to countries hosting its human trials.
Trump on US Vaccine Approvals:
President Trump said on Wednesday he may or may not approve any new, more stringent FDA standards for an emergency authorization of a COVID19 vaccine, saying such a proposal would appear political. Trump has repeatedly said a vaccine for COVID19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, could be ready for distribution ahead of the November 3 presidential election. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would issue the guidance to boost transparency and public trust as health experts have become increasingly concerned the Trump administration might be interfering in the approval process to rush out a vaccine.
Research Finds Men More Likely to Die from COVID19:
It’s been discussed in vague terms for months that men appear to be more susceptible in general to the coronavirus than women. Now, a new study is providing more exact figures and a possible explanation for this discrepancy between genders. The research, conducted at University Hospital Regensburg, concludes that men have a 62% higher risk of a COVID19 associated death in comparison to women. Researchers say it may be due to higher levels of inflammation among male coronavirus patients.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
The COVID numbers keep climbing in Waterloo Region. Yesterday Public Health announced 18 new cases. Broken down it was 14 new cases yesterday, 3 added to Tuesday and another case added to Saturday. Nobody is currently being treated in area hospitals but there are now 155 active cases in the Region. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, they added 2 more cases yesterday, increasing the number of active cases to 44. There are now 2 people in area hospitals being treated for COVID19.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot