More Regions Changing Colour:
A number of regions move to different restriction levels today in Ontario’s colour-coded pandemic response framework. The Brant, Chatham-Kent and Leeds, Grenville and Lanark regions are now in the red zone — the second-most restrictive, while Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph is now in orange. Four others — Timiskaming, Porcupine, North Bay Parry Sound and Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington — are now in the yellow zone.
WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR REGION?
What does this mean for you?
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 21, 2021
Some Doctors Critical After Ontario Moves To Allow Expanded Indoor Dining:
An infectious disease expert is warning that newly loosened restrictions for restaurants in several Ontario regions could lead to so-called super-spreader events. Dr. Andrew Morris calls the decision to significantly increase restaurants’ indoor capacity in two zones of its colour-coded pandemic response system baffling. Food and drink establishments in regions in the red category can now increase capacity to 50 percent of their capacity indoors, up from the previous limit of 10 people. Establishments in orange zones can now have 100 people indoors, twice the previous cap of 50. Morris says the measure sends a false message to the public that the pandemic situation is improving. Restaurant owners have universally been praising the move by the province.
Ontario is increasing indoor dining capacity limits at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments for regions in Red-Control and Orange-Restrict. #PublicHealth measures will be strengthened to ensure the continued safety of Ontarians. https://t.co/N4Y2UpXMmr pic.twitter.com/HqNd9gvvQE
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 20, 2021
More People Can Book Vaccines Today:
As of today, anyone aged 75 and older can book a COVID-19 vaccine in Ontario. Up until now, the minimum age was 80. The province is a couple weeks ahead of schedule in its vaccine rollout. People in the 75 to 79 age group were initially set to become eligible by the first week of April, but the government announced last week it was moving up the date.
Those 60-64 Can Now Register For a Vaccine at a Pharmacy:
As of today, the province will offer the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot to anyone aged 60 and older. The pharmacy project previously only offered the shot to those aged 60 to 64. The government says it’s removing the upper age limit after new guidelines deemed the shot safe for those 65 and older as well. The province will also allow those aged 75 and older to schedule vaccine appointments through its booking portal today. And it will allow certain pharmacies to administer vaccines to more seniors next week.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference on Friday:
Lots of Vaccines Arrive This Week:
Canada’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is set to go into overdrive as a significant number of doses are expected to arrive this week from manufacturers. The federal public health agency says Pfizer-BioNTech is expected to ship nearly 1.2 million doses. That will kick off weekly shipments of at least a million doses for the foreseeable future. Meantime, a batch of shots from Moderna is also set to land in the next seven days.
Here is the Prime Minister’s remarks on Friday:
New Test Results on the AstraZeneca Vaccine:
AstraZeneca says advanced trial data from an American study on its COVID vaccine shows it is 79 per cent effective. While the shot has been authorized in more than 50 countries worldwide, scientists have been awaiting the results of the US study in hopes it will clear up some of the confusion about just how well the shots really work. After a bit of uncertainty, Canada approved the vaccine for use by adults of all ages.
Sudbury Hospital Preparing for a Possible Surge in Patients:
A hospital in Sudbury says it’s scaling back non-urgent outpatient services to prepare for a possible increase in COVID-19 patients. Health Sciences North says recent outbreaks at the hospital, as well as the increasing number of COVID-19 patients, have prompted it to do this. It says the changes are expected to remain in place for two to four weeks. Surgeries at the hospital will be scaled back to 80 per cent of historical volumes.
Spring Break Went Wild in Miami:
Riot officers in bulletproof vests shot pepper spray balls to break up rowdy, spring break crowds that descended on sunny South Beach, Florida by the thousands. Crowds trashed restaurants and flooded the streets without masks or social distancing. After days of partying and confrontations between police and large crowds, Miami Beach officials have ordered an emergency curfew. It went into effect Saturday night, starting at 8pm, forcing restaurants to stop outdoor seating entirely during a three-day emergency period.
Yesterday Ontario reported 1,791 new COVID-19 cases. On Saturday there were 1,829 new cases. Heading into this week, there are 760 patients hospitalized across the province with 305 in the intensive care unit.
Ontario is reporting 1,791 cases of #COVID19 and over 49,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 495 new cases in Toronto, 350 in Peel 177 in York Region and 106 in Durham.
As of 6:00 p.m. yesterday, 1,521,705 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 21, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Over the weekend, COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region went down substantially. There were 35 new cases yesterday and just 19 on Saturday. The number of active cases has dropped to 275. That’s 38 less than on Friday and the first time Waterloo Region has been under 300 active cases since the Fall. There was a new death on Friday, which increases the local death toll to 240. There are currently 20 cases hospitalized. 9 of those are in the ICU. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph doesn’t publish weekend numbers but on Friday they had 21 new cases. Heading into this week there are 114 active cases with just 5 people hospitalized.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Doug Ford via Twitter