The Ford government has indicated a paid sick-leave program for essential workers is coming in a matter of days. House Leader Paul Calandra says the government is acting now because Ottawa failed to deliver important changes to the federal sick benefit program in Monday’s budget. Calandra also says the situation is different in the third wave of the pandemic than in the first two waves.
America is Sending Canada More Shots:
US President Joe Biden is hinting at plans to send surplus COVID-19 vaccines north of the border, adding to the 1.5-million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine the US has already sent to Canada. The AstraZeneca shot has yet to be approved by US regulators. Health Canada maintains the vaccine is safe and effective for all adults, despite a possible link to a very rare and treatable blood clot syndrome. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has yet to update its recommendation that the shot only be used on those over the age of 55.
My Administration is working around the clock to get America vaccinated as quickly as possible. Tune in as I deliver an update on our progress and the state of vaccinations. https://t.co/jxOtlPOzsW
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 21, 2021
New Calls to Ban At Least Some International Flights:
Canada’s top doctor says there may be a case for banning flights from India, as COVID-19 infections there surge to nearly 300,000 a day. Dr. Theresa Tam says a variant of interest may be fuelling the massive outbreak in India. She notes that Ottawa has generally opted for more broad measures for screening incoming flights, such as testing pre-boarding and on arrival and government-mandated quarantine. Ontario is urging Ottawa to ban travel from India and other hot-spot countries.
Here is yesterday’s federal update:
Younger And Sicker Patients Are Dying Now:
An ICU doctor at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital says the rate of COVID-19 deaths among younger Canadians has increased dramatically in recent months. Dr. Michael Warner says younger daycare workers, ride-share drivers, factory workers and their families are dying. Warner says between September 1st of last year and the end of February, one patient under 50-years-old in intensive care died of COVID-19 every five days. He says in the first 48 days of the third wave, which began March 1st, the rate has jumped to one in just 1.78 days.
Popular COVID Drug Now in Short Supply:
Ontario’s science advisers say the province needs a plan to manage the dwindling supply of a drug used to treat COVID-19 patients. Anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab can increase a COVID-19 patient’s chances of survival and reduce their need for mechanical ventilation. It’s in demand around the world and the COVID-19 science advisory table says demand might soon exceed supply in Ontario. The group says Ontario could set up a provincial dashboard and develop an allocation lottery to manage demand.
Yesterday the City of Toronto provided an update on the battle against COVID-19.
Freeland Says Companies Need to Be Patient About The Border Reopening:
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is asking Canadian companies to have patience around reopening the economy and the border. Freeland was pressed about the government’s plans today at a virtual event hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. She underscored the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said everyone needs to be flexible. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair extended restrictions on non-essential travel from overseas and across the US border for another month.
It was great to be with the @halifaxchamber to discuss how #Budget2021 will accelerate job growth in the economy with measures like support for tourism and hospitality, as well as build and grow early learning & child care in #NovaScotia so Canada can come roaring back. pic.twitter.com/xuDQXo78ZQ
— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) April 22, 2021
Ontario Courts are Basically Shutting Down Again:
Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice has directed courts to defer all but the most serious cases as the province remains under a COVID-19 stay at home order. The aim is to reduce the number of staff, lawyers or parties required to leave their homes to go to court. Chief Justice Geoffrey B. Morawetz has issued a notice that also says virtual hearings should be deferred. He says courts will focus on the most serious child protection matters, urgent family matters, critical criminal matters and urgent commercial or economic matters.
Chief Justice Morawetz's Notice to the Profession and Public Regarding Court Proceedings was updated today in light of the stay-at-home order in effect until May 6, 2021. Please see the notice at: https://t.co/2nzG8OrVrA
— Superior Court of Justice (ON) (@SCJOntario_en) April 8, 2021
Daycare Workers Want Vaccine Priority:
Daycare workers want Ontario to prioritize them for COVID-19 vaccines sooner. The Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care and the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario have written to Premier Doug Ford asking him to make daycare staff a priority for shots. The letter has more than 10-thousand signatories. Daycare workers interact with unmasked children at work every day but aren’t yet eligible for shots.
Cirque du Soleil is Starting Up Again in Las Vegas:
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group has announced plans to re-open two shows in Las Vegas this summer. These would be the first shows to resume since the company cancelled all performances last year and cut nearly 35-hundred employees due to the pandemic. Cirque says its touring group will open another show in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic in November — followed by another at London’s Royal Albert Hall next January. The company was sold to a group of its creditors led by Catalyst Capital Group late last year after it was forced to file for creditor protection.
— Cirque du Soleil (@Cirque) April 21, 2021
Third Wave Hits India:
India is reporting a global record of more than 314,000 new COVID-19 infections. The surge in the world’s second-most populous country is sending more sick people to an already fragile health care system critically short of both hospital beds and oxygen. Yesterday, Canada’s top doctor admitted that while the federal government has generally avoided country-specific travel restrictions during the pandemic, flights from India could soon be blocked.
Hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care for COVID-19 are continuing to surge across Ontario. A daily report from Critical Care Services Ontario shows there were 788 patients with COVID-related critical illness in provincial hospitals as of midnight Tuesday night. The Ministry of Health says 2,335 people are in hospital with the novel coronavirus and 566 are on a ventilator. The province reported 4,212 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 32 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 1,249 of those new cases were in Toronto, 771 in Peel Region, and 386 in York Region.
Ontario is reporting 4,212 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 51,900 tests completed. Locally, there are 1,249 new cases in Toronto, 771 in Peel, 386 in York Region, 276 in Hamilton and 214 in Durham.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) April 21, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Region of Waterloo Public Health confirmed 74 more new COVID-19 cases yesterday. Every one of them were the variants. There was also a new death. Hospitalizations shots up by eight to a total of 51. The good news is that active cases dropped substantially. They were down by ninety-three to 586.
In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health announced 79 new cases yesterday. There are still 24 people hospitalized with 9 in the ICU. The number of active cases dropped by two to 607. Of the new cases: 5 were in Wellington, 21 were in Dufferin and 46 were in Guelph.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot