Canada’s top public health doctor says a national decline in severe COVID-19 outcomes, such as hospitalizations and deaths, is levelling off. Dr. Theresa Tam says infection rates are highest among those between the ages of 20 and 39, who may then spread it to more vulnerable populations. Meanwhile, the federal government says more than three million, 330,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Canada as of yesterday morning.
1/2 #COVID19 key concerns in Canada 🇨🇦: nationally, disease activity has levelled off at a high level since mid-February and average daily case counts are now on the rise. Latest national-level data show a 7-day average of 3,194 new cases daily (Mar 10-16) https://t.co/qrDbXtqalC
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) March 17, 2021
Another 138,000 people were vaccinated across Canada yesterday. That means more than 3.4-million doses have been given to date, with about 2.8-million Canadians receiving at least one dose. More than 610,000 people — or 1.6 per cent of the population — have been fully vaccinated.
Toronto Now Has 3 Mass Vaccination Clinics Up and Running:
Three mass immunization clinics in Toronto are up and running. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Scarborough Town Centre and the Toronto Congress Centre will operate from 11am to 8pm seven days a week. They are currently serving people over the age of 80 who have registered for appointments. Mayor John Tory announced on Monday that three more city-run clinics would be open by the start of April.
Here is Mayor John Tory:
Peel Considers Modifications:
Peel region’s top doctor says the health unit is in talks with the province about adjusting local COVID-19 restrictions. The public health unit is currently in the strictest grey-lockdown level of the province’s pandemic response, and it’s set to make a recommendation on whether that should change next week. Dr. Lawrence Loh says they are discussing maintaining current measures in Peel but considering adjustments for outdoor activities.
Here is Mayor Patrick Brown:
Some Daycares Facing Closure Due to Low Enrollment:
The COVID-19 pandemic is being blamed for a steep drop in enrolment at many daycare centres, leaving some on the verge of closing. A new report on the cost of child care in Canada finds that daycare centres had on average 10 per cent fewer children in the fall of 2020 than in February of last year, before the pandemic began. The report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the drop in enrolment has dried up revenue that daycares rely on, leaving many hanging on by their financial fingernails. The report’s co-author, David Macdonald, says losing spaces could become a drag on the economy — and therefore the country’s recovery — as parents are unable to work.
Provincial Follow-Up Inspection Blitz Considered an Improvement:
The province says inspectors are seeing increased compliance with COVID-19 safety requirements in followup visits to small businesses. It says 110 provincial offences officers conducted more than one-thousand COVID-19-related workplace safety visits in Durham Region, Eastern Ontario and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph in late February. The Labour Ministry says followup visits in early March have shown significant improvement — especially in the areas of masking, screening and using COVID-19 workplace safety plans. It says in a release that about 73 per cent of businesses were in compliance with public health measures.
Our ministry team is out every day to ensure workers and customers are kept safe.
— Monte McNaughton (@MonteMcNaughton) March 17, 2021
Province Handing Out Big Money for OHL Scholarships:
The province is providing $2.35-million dollars to the Ontario Hockey League for post-secondary education programs. Sport Minister Lisa MacLeod says each of the 17 Ontario-based clubs will receive $138,000 dollars to help with player scholarship commitments while the league is sidelined. MacLeod also says talks continue with the OHL on COVID-19 safety protocols that would allow it to start its season, and she’s optimistic an agreement can be reached soon.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) March 17, 2021
Federal Reserve Predicting A Massive Economic Boom In America:
The US Federal Reserve has significantly upgraded its projection for economic growth in the US this year. The Fed says it foresees the American economy growing at a 6.5 per cent pace, up from a previous projection in December of 4.2 per cent. It also predicts inflation will reach 2.4 per cent by the end of the year — above its target of two per cent. But it says it still expects to keep its benchmark interest rate pinned near zero through 2023, and won’t speculate on the possible timing of any increase.
— Federal Reserve (@federalreserve) March 17, 2021
WHO Says to Keep Using AstraZeneca:
A top World Health Organization expert says the current benefit-risk assessment is for countries to continue giving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Kate O’Brien says people should feel reassured that even if health authorities turn up a link between blood clots and the vaccine, such cases are very rare. The WHO and the European Medicines Agency are trying to investigate after some countries temporarily suspended use of the vaccine. O’Brien told a news conference yedterday that both agencies are expected to present updated recommendations.
Ford Tells WFH Employees They Can Continue To Do So Indefinitely:
Ford has told about 30,000 of its employees worldwide who have worked from home during the pandemic that they can continue to do so indefinitely. The automaker says their schedules will become a work-office hybrid — with commutes to work mainly for group meetings and projects best-suited for face-to-face interaction. Ford’s announcement sent one of the clearest signals to date that the pandemic has hastened a cultural shift in Americans’ work lives by erasing any stigma around remote work. A report this week from the employment website Indeed says postings for jobs that mention remote work have more than doubled since the pandemic began.
One year later, we're still fully committed to protecting the members of our community against COVID-19.
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) March 15, 2021
Another Suggestion for Vaccine Distribution:
A new report says distributing COVID-19 vaccines to buildings with large populations of seniors is an equitable approach to protecting the most vulnerable. Scientists advising the Ontario government on the pandemic published the brief yesterday. They argue targeting buildings where at least 30 per cent of residents are 65 and older would be an efficient and equitable approach to vaccinations. It would also offer an age-friendly option for older adults who might be homebound or face challenges attending large vaccination clinics.
Ontario reported 1,508 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, based on 49,100 tests completed. More than half of the new cases came from the hotspots: Toronto (542), Peel Region (253) and York Region (107). 14 more deaths were reported. The number of hospitalized patients declined by 20 and there were 4 less on a ventilator. 1,488 more cases were marked as resolved.
Ontario is reporting 1,508 cases of #COVID19 and over 49,100 tests completed. Locally, there are 542 new cases in Toronto, 253 in Peel and 107 in York Region.
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 1,301,334 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 17, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health of Waterloo Region announced 45 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, although only 41 of them were new. There were no new deaths, once again. The number of hospitalizations dropped from twenty nine to 24. 10 of those patients are in intensive care. The number of active cases is 309, which is an increase of 3. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health reported 12 new cases yesterday. 2 were in Wellington, 5 in Dufferin and 5 in Guelph. Active cases from once again and now sits at just 106. Seven people are in hospital with 2 in the ICU. Those numbers are unchanged from the previous report.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube Screenshot