Premier Ford say a recent uptick in COVID19 cases is largely being driven by increases in Brampton, Toronto and Ottawa. But, Ford says his government is not yet at that point where it might consider re-imposing tougher public health restrictions in some regions. He says it might get there if people keep ignoring current guidelines and transmission of the coronavirus continues to creep upwards. Out of the 375 new COVID19 cases reported yesterday, 108 were in the Toronto region, 99 in Peel and 62 in Ottawa.
Here is the Premier’s news conference from yesterday:
Across Ontario, there were 375 new cases of COVID19 reported yesterday. That is actually two days worth of cases because numbers weren’t reported on Labour Day. It works out to 185 new cases for Monday and 190 from Sunday. 238 more cases were marked as resolved.
Ontario to Pause Reopening Plans:
Health Minister Christine Elliot says Ontario is taking a four-week pause before considering loosening any further COVID19 restrictions. The move comes as the province reported 375 new cases over a two-day period.
Based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario will take four-week pause – or two, 14-day cycles of the virus – before considering any further loosening of public health measures or reopening additional businesses, facilities and organizations.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) September 8, 2020
Ontario Quebec Summit:
The premiers of Ontario and Quebec are meeting today to discuss economic recovery and health system preparedness during the COVID19 pandemic. The summit convened by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault began last night in Mississauga. The premiers of the provinces hit hardest by the health crisis say they will share lessons learned and work on ways to boost economic growth. Ford and Legault are expected to hold a news conference this afternoon.
Here are the opening remarks:
It’s Back-To-School Week:
Confidence in new COVID19 prevention protocols in schools is being tested, as thousands of elementary and high school students head back to class this week. The Quebec government says up to 120 schools may have already been affected by COVID19 since classes began last week. Students at a Saskatchewan elementary school east of Regina began the year with online learning because a staff member tested positive for the virus. An Ontario Superior Court Justice says there are many disputes over sending students back to school currently before the courts and seeking urgent resolution as schools prepare to re-open.
Dr Tam’s Early Role In COVID19 Is Now Under Review:
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says she will be looking closely at recommendations that come from an independent review of the pandemic early-warning unit in her agency. The government ordered an outside review of the global health unit after reports that warnings from scientists about the burgeoning COVID19 pandemic weren’t properly sent up the chain of command. Tam’s deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, says officials at the agency relied on multiple sources of information, including from their international counterparts.
Very Few Canadians Had COVID in the Spring:
A study shows fewer than one per cent of Canadian blood donors in late spring tested positive for COVID19 antibodies. The seroprevalence study aimed to assess the country’s infection rate. The results suggest that by the end of May, as few as 0.7 per cent of healthy Canadians had been exposed to the virus that causes COVID19. The results are based on more than 37,000 blood samples collected from donor centres across Canada, except Quebec and the Territories.
Trust in Doctors Remains Steady But Trust In Trudeau Has Tanked:
A new online survey finds the vast majority of Canadians still put their trust in science and medicine, nearly six months into the COVID19 pandemic. The Labour Day weekend poll by Proof Strategies found more than eight in 10 Canadians trust doctors and nearly eight in 10 trust scientists — little change from a similar study conducted at the beginning of May. The poll found that while provincial premiers seem to be earning more trust from their constituents than they were before the pandemic, faith in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fell from 39 per cent to 32 per cent between May and September.
Is There a Link Between COVID and Obesity?
Doctors are trying to figure out why serious COVID19 complications appear to be linked to obesity. Excess weight already increases the likelihood of chronic health problems that can make it more likely a person will contract the virus, but evidence suggests obesity itself raises the risk of getting very sick.
The Federal Rent Relief Program:
Critics say the federal government’s underused commercial rent relief program will wrap up without any of the changes needed to prevent stores from permanently closing their doors. The Liberals say the program, intended to give hard-hit small businesses a break on their rent, will be extended for the final time through the end of September. Property owners have to apply for the help, and overall take-up of the program has lagged behind expectations. Spending is projected to fall far short of the nearly $3-billion-dollars the Liberals have budgeted.
Possible Vaccine on Hold:
Late-stage studies of one COVID19 vaccine candidate have been put on hold. AstraZeneca is investigating whether a recipient’s potentially unexplained illness is a side-effect of the shot. Two other vaccines are in massive, final-stage tests in the United States. One is made by Moderna and the other by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech.
Women in the Economy
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce says the COVID19 pandemic has seen women’s participation in the labour force falling to its lowest level in three decades — what it calls a “she-cession.” In a report, the provincial business organization says affordable child-care, flexible work arrangements and support for job training are all key to helping women recover from the economic effects of the health crisis. Other measures include a rapid increase in child-care spaces that allow for physical distancing, earmarked funding for a potential second wave of COVID19 and enhanced resources for parents to support their children with remote learning.
BC Closing Clubs and Banquet Halls Again:
NEW: B.C's Dr. Bonnie Henry says she’s ordering the immediate closures of nightclubs and banquet halls to control the spread of COVID-19.https://t.co/Ksb7K64peK
— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) September 8, 2020
Porter Is Keeping It’s Flights Grounded:
Porter Airlines has announced it’s keeping its flights grounded for another five weeks due to the COVID19 pandemic. Porter flights were first suspended on March 21st and will now not resume until at least November 21st. The airline has cited travel restrictions and plummeting demand for its decision to push back its relaunch date several times. CEO Michael Deluce says all of Porter’s markets are affected by travel restrictions on who can come to Canada.
Due to ongoing government travel restrictions, we are modifying our return-to-service date to Nov. 12. To read more visit: https://t.co/hcIz1TH85Q
— Porter Airlines (@porterairlines) September 8, 2020
Five People in French Language Schools Test Positive:
Health officials in Ottawa say they’re conducting contact tracing after people in five French-language Catholic schools tested positive for COVID19. They say the cases are in four elementary schools and one high school, but have released no other details about them citing privacy concerns. Ottawa Public Health says it has issued a letter to parents, guardians and staff to inform them of the situation. The agency says anyone who has not received a direct call from health officials should assume their child was not in close contact with any of the cases. No outbreaks have been declared at this time.
Quebec Introduces a Provincial Warning System:
Quebec is introducing a regional alert system in the hopes of curbing a potential second wave of COVID-19. Provincial Health Minister Christian Dube unveiled the four-level, colour-coded system yesterday. The levels range from green for vigilance, moving up through yellow, orange, and red for maximum alert. Montreal is currently at green after entering the yellow level last month.
British Columbia’s education minister says the vast majority of students across the province are returning to classes in person as the COVID19 pandemic wears on. Rob Fleming says he expects there will be flexible options for families who aren’t comfortable sending their kids back to class, particularly when it comes to medical or related concerns. But some parents say they’re frustrated by the lack of remote learning options, large class sizes and inconsistent messaging when it comes to physical distancing.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health reported four new COVID19 cases. The number of active cases is back up to 32 in the Region with zero people currently hospitalized. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph there were 5 new cases yesterday. 1 was in Wellington, 2 in Dufferin and 2 in Guelph. There are now 15 active cases currently and still zero people hospitalized with COVID19.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot