Ontario’s top doctor says he’s not sure if it will be safe for kids to return to school this fall without masks. Dr. Kieran Moore says there’s no guarantee that there will be high enough levels of immunity to COVID-19 across the province by September. Moore says he would support a regional approach to masking rules in schools, though that may be difficult to implement. The government’s science advisory table released recommendations yesterday for schools when they resume, including loosening rules on masking in low-risk scenarios.
Here is yesterday’s news conference:
Is Mexico The Reason The US Border Is Not Open Yet?
Border experts and political observers say challenges at America’s southern border likely have a lot to do with why US President Joe Biden is dragging his heels on re-opening the frontier with Canada. Some in the Biden administration reportedly fear blowback if one opens before the other. As of August 9th, fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter Canada. Rules for entering the US, however, remain unchanged. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions on visitors from the US have been more stringent than they are going in the other direction throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
By fully vaccinating 160 million Americans and 80% of our seniors – we’ve fundamentally changed the course of the pandemic. But we cannot let up – especially because of the Delta variant. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, now is the time.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 20, 2021
Trudeau Is Planning a Long Pandemic:
Justin Trudeau predicts the world will be dealing with COVID-19 for years to come. The prime minister says the cases that persist in Canada will be because of people who don’t get fully vaccinated against the illness. Federal health officials say more than 80 per cent of eligible Canadians have received their first dose of vaccine while about 57 per cent have been given their second dose. But they say vaccination rates have been slowing.
Mixed Dose Traveling:
Federal officials are expressing confidence around travelling with mixed and matched COVID-19 vaccines. Questions are swirling about how easily Canadians who mixed and matched will be able to cross into the US, where regulators have been reluctant to sanction the practice. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says he believes countries with a more conservative approach to the issue will come around in time. He says more data sharing and conversations between health authorities around the world is needed. Canadian health authorities say recipients of a Moderna dose should not hesitate to have Pfizer-BioNTech as their second jab — or vice versa.
WestJet Not Asking For Tax Payer Help:
WestJet says it is not seeking financial aid from the federal government after months of talks between Ottawa and the airline. It says each party has agreed to shift focus to restarting the travel and tourism sector, given encouraging vaccination rates. WestJet’s overall passenger volumes in 2020 were down nearly 90 per cent from the year before. The airline was forced to reduce its employee headcount from 14,000 before the pandemic to a low of four thousand. WestJet has already restored service to all of the airports it served before the pandemic.
Since the onset of the pandemic, @WestJet has been advocating for a plan that supports the safe restart of air travel and today's announcement by the government is a significant and positive step forward.
— WestJet News (@WestJetNews) July 19, 2021
More Funding For Skills Training:
Ontario is offering free online training for 100,000 workers looking to find jobs and restart their careers. The province says it’s spending 5.8 million dollars on the program. It says courses will focus on in-demand skills in fields such as information technology, finance and business administration. Workers can contact their local employment service provider or go to linkedin.firstwork.org to sign up.
Quebec Bar Owners Want Less Restrictions On Alcohol:
Quebec bar owners are railing against a COVID-19 health order preventing them from selling alcohol after midnight. Renaud Poulin, CEO of a Quebec bar owners’ association, says his group is writing to the provincial government to ask when restrictions on bars will be relaxed. Health orders require bars to close at 2am but prohibit alcohol sales after midnight. Poulin says those rules are encouraging some patrons to order large quantities of alcohol shortly before last call, which he says can cause problems.
The UK is Dealing With a Delta Variant Outbreak:
Britain has recorded 96 new COVID-19-related deaths — its highest daily toll in four months. It follows a spike in infections caused by the Delta variant. The increase in deaths came just a day after the British government ended lockdown restrictions, including on social distancing and mask-wearing. Critics warn it will lead to further spread of COVID-19 and potential deaths in the coming weeks.
This pandemic is far from over and that is why it is essential to keep up the system of Test, Trace & Isolate.
We will protect crucial services by making sure that a very small number of fully vaccinated, critical workers can leave isolation solely for work. pic.twitter.com/OPQ8TCourZ
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 19, 2021
There were 127 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario yesterday and two new deaths. 34 cases were in Toronto, 17 in the Region of Waterloo and 14 in York Region. The data was based on more than 13,500 tests. There are now 149 people in intensive care and 98 patients are on ventilators. Nearly 133,000 doses of vaccines were administered in the 24-hour period, for a total of more than 18.3 million.
Ontario is reporting 127 cases of #COVID19. Locally, there are 34 new cases in Toronto, 17 in the Region of Waterloo, 14 in York Region, 10 in Peel Region, 10 in Grey Bruce and 10 in Halton Region.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) July 20, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health announced just 12 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 1 new death. Active cases were down by 28 to 164 total. Hospitalizations were down by 4 to 23 patients receiving in-patient care.
Public Health of Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph reported zero new cases yesterday. There are now just 37 active cases, which is a decrease of 5. 3 people are hospitalized with COVID-19.
All sleeves up!
— WDG Public Health (@WDGPublicHealth) July 20, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot