Premier Ford says some government inspectors were too afraid to go into long term care homes at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ford says he understands the inspectors are not medical professionals but he isn’t going to continue “taking bullets” for OPSEU, which is the union representing the inspectors. He adds the situation contributed to his decision to ask the federal government to call in the military to help out in five of the hardest hit homes. The Canadian Armed Forces released a report two days ago alleging “horrific” conditions in the homes. Ford also called on operators of some for-profit homes to put people ahead of the bottom line or his government would hold them accountable.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Ontario reported 383 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. That’s a small increase from the previous two days but the number of tests done was up too. 17,615 tests, compared to just over 15,000 the previous day. Province-wide there are now 26,866 confirmed cases and 2,189 deaths.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) May 28, 2020
Global Financial Fallout:
A major, virtual United Nations conference co-hosted by Prime Minister Trudeau has heard the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic could result in the world economy losing nearly $8.5-trillion-dollars over the next two years. Leaders were told yesterday approximately 34.4 million people could be forced into extreme poverty this year. Trudeau told the gathering of more than 50 heads of state and government that citizens of the world need to have confidence that international institutions are capable of overcoming global challenges by working together.
Canada is ready to do our part as we help bring the world together in the fight against #COVID19. Read PM Trudeau's remarks from today’s meeting with world leaders and international organizations: https://t.co/8ZVZbn6PA3 pic.twitter.com/xOcrLSixzP
— CanadianPM (@CanadianPM) May 28, 2020
Armed Forces to Stay in Long-Term Care Homes:
The Prime Minister says the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to help out in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec. But he says it was never meant to be a long-term solution to the issues plaguing the facilities, as they struggle with deadly COVID-19 outbreaks. Ottawa and the military have started looking for an exit strategy amid discussions with Quebec, which has asked for the deployment to be extended until September.
We are looking for innovative material and designs to aid in decontamination of Personal Protective Equipment, operational clothing and equipment for personnel responding to events involving biological hazards. Do your #DefenceIDEaS fit the bill? https://t.co/Hxp8VFeHX2 pic.twitter.com/BrusySexTY
— Canadian Armed Forces (@CanadianForces) May 28, 2020
BOC on Cash Payments:
The Bank of Canada is warning the move to completely cashless payments by some retailers could be disastrous for some of society’s most vulnerable. As they re-open following COVID-19 lockdowns, Best Buy, the Shoe Company and even Longo’s grocery stores say they will only accept debit or credit cards. While the central bank says it is legal to refuse cash, it points out those without bank accounts or with low incomes could be left behind. Both the Bank of Canada and the World Health Organization say handling cash is about as risky as touching other common household objects, such as doorknobs.
Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says the government’s $17-billion-dollar pandemic action plan actually provides just $13.5-billion dollars in new COVID-19 support. The Financial Accountability Officer says the package includes $3.5-billion in new health sector spending and electricity price mitigation that is not directly related to pandemic response. It also warns that revenue measures in the action plan will fall short of expected levels due to the deterioration of the economic outlook since the March 2020 Update.
Tam on Reopening:
Canada’s chief public health officer says a new COVID-19 outbreak in New Brunswick and a resurgence of cases in Ontario show the importance of provinces being cautious as they gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions. Doctor Theresa Tam says while most of Canada has flattened the curve of infections, she points to significant numbers of cases still reported in vulnerable settings such as long-term care homes, as well as in parts of Ontario and Quebec.
New Case in Newfoundland and Labrador:
For the first time in three weeks, Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting a new case of COVID-19. The patient is a man aged between 40 and 49 who lives in the province’s Eastern Health Region — which includes St. John’s — and health officials say contact tracing is under way. The province has a total of 261 confirmed cases of the virus, and three people have died.
Is Car Pooling Safe?
Infectious disease experts advise against giving someone outside your household a ride in your car during the COVID-19 pandemic. University of Calgary researcher Craig Jenne says that it’s hard to maintain a safe two-metre distance when you’re in a vehicle. He notes that face masks, worn by both the driver and the passenger, can help minimize risk if you decide to travel in a car with others. But they don’t offer complete protection.
Boston Marathon Cancelled:
For the first time in its 124-year history, the Boston Marathon has been cancelled. The race had originally been scheduled for April 20th before being postponed for five months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers say participants who verify that they ran 42.1 kilometres on their own will receive their finisher’s medal as part of a virtual event.
Municipalities Worried About Funding:
Some municipalities in Ontario say they’re worried they’re stuck in a stand-off between federal and provincial governments over a financial aid package for hard-hit cities. The mayor of Guelph and chairman of the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario says an urgent plea for help issued to federal and provincial governments a month ago has gone unanswered. Cities aren’t allowed to run deficits by law and Cam Guthrie says they have had to lay off thousands of employees as a result. He says vital city services like transit could face cuts.
Waterloo Region Numbers:
It was good news from Waterloo Region Public Health yesterday. They reported only 3 new coronavirus cases. And for a third straight day: there were no deaths. In total there are 1,098 cases in the Region and now 782 are resolved. That’s 71%. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, after 2-days with no new cases, they reported 4 new ones yesterday. They now have 374 but 263 are resolved. That’s a 70% recovery rate.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Government of Ontario via Twitter