Ford Says Schools Are Staying Closed – Full COVID-19 Update

Ford Says Schools Are Staying Closed – Full COVID-19 Update

Premier Doug Ford says the risk of COVID-19 spreading in classrooms is too great to allow schools to re-open for the final month of the academic year. Ford announced the decision yesterday, despite the advice of the province’s top doctor, numerous public health units, scientists and his own Education Minister.  Ford says he understands kids will be losing out on valued experiences, so he’s asked all school boards to allow for outdoor graduation ceremonies for all grade levels. The premier says students will be able to return to class in September, when he expects all teachers and education workers will be fully vaccinated.

Ford Might Reopen The Economy Early But Won’t Say When He Will Announce It:

The Ontario government is looking at ways to speed up parts of its re-opening plan. Doug Ford says he’s consulting with the chief medical officer of health to figure out when restaurant patios and non-essential retailers can safely re-open. The province had planned on entering that phase on June 14th, but Ford says he’s trying to move that date up. He made the comment a day after the Canadian Federation of Independent Business called for the immediate re-opening of parts of Ontario’s economy, including non-essential retail, restaurants and gyms.

Feds Dragging Their Feet On Reopening The US Border:

The federal government is being pressured to re-open the border, but the foreign affairs minister says Canada isn’t quite ready yet. Marc Garneau says he’s aware of growing impatience. But he is not listing the criteria for re-opening. He says he and cabinet colleagues are talking to the provinces. He adds he is reluctant to do anything that would spark a fourth wave of COVID-19.

Airlines Preparing for a Rough Summer:

Airlines in Canada say they’re ready to contend with what could be a turbulent summer season after months of reduced air travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Air Canada and the Air Line Pilots Association of Canada say there has been in increase in disruptive passenger behaviour on flights since the beginning of the pandemic. In the US, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have announced the suspension of alcoholic beverage services because of sometimes violent incidents of passenger disruption. Pilots union leader Timothy Perry says restricting alcohol in some or all parts of a plane isn’t an unusual tactic on Canadian flights and is one of the very first steps in de-escalating unruly behaviour.

Vaccine Effectiveness:

Some experts are saying the world’s leading COVID-19 vaccines may offer lasting protection that diminishes the need for frequent booster shots. That’s according to scientists, who are finding clues in how the body remembers viruses. But they say more research is needed and that virus mutations are still a wild card. Pfizer and Moderna have fuelled booster questions by estimating that people might need yearly shots, just like with flu vaccinations.

Toronto Vaccination Update:

The city of Toronto says nearly 46 per cent of youths aged 12 and older have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It say that works out to nearly 75,000 people aged 12 to 17 since pilot clinics began on May 17th. The city says the next phase of the youth vaccination effort will target areas where vaccine uptake is lower and will directly reach out to youth through schools in those areas. A two-week youth vaccination blitz will also take place across the city during the weeks of June 14th and 21st, to ensure all youth have a chance to get their first dose of vaccine before summer begins.

Canada Numbers:

Canadian health officials reported just over two-thousand new confirmed COVID-19 infections Wednesday, and 46 new deaths. While the average new case count is still trending downward, many provinces reported small upticks in new infections. They include Ontario which reported 733 new cases, Alberta had 410, Newfoundland and Labrador reported 17 new infections and Nova Scotia had 16. Meantime, one of the critical COVID patients Manitoba had transferred to Ontario has died. Health officials say the man in his 30s had been cared for in Ottawa since May 20th.

Ontario Numbers:

There were 733 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday and 25 more deaths linked to the virus. 173 of the new cases were in Toronto, 134 in Peel Region, 69 in York Region and 66 in Hamilton. Nearly 134,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the 24-hour period for a total of over 9.3 million. Hospitalizations continued to drop. There were 96 less patients in hospital and 7 less in the ICU. 1,733 more cases were marked as resolved.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Public Health of Waterloo Region announced 32 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths. The number of active cases has dropped to 307, which is a decrease of 15. Hospitalizations are down to 17. The Region’s vaccination totals are up to 63%.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health confirmed 17 new cases but thanks to a lot of recoveries, the number of active cases dropped to 145. Hospitalizations were down by two to 14.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

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