Ford To Introduce New Guidelines For COVID19 Hotspot Cities – Full Update

Premier Doug Ford says he will introduce new guidelines for COVID19 hotspots in Ontario in the coming days. Ford says he has spoken with the mayors of Toronto, Brampton and Ottawa, cities that have seen the bulk of the new COVID19 cases in recent weeks, about their needs. On Monday, Ford warned that Ontario’s rising virus rates could force the province to move some regions back into lockdown.

Ford Wants to Eliminate Long Lines for Testing:

Premier Ford says the province is doing everything it can to quickly address long lineups seen at COVID19 testing centres. Ford calls the lineups ridiculous and says an announcement to deal with them is expected over the next day or two. He says the province has been in discussions with pharmacy executives including Shoppers Drug Mart to rapidly move forward with testing in some pharmacies. But he says nothing has yet been finalized.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario reported 251 new cases of COVID19 and four new deaths related to the virus yesterday.  There were 117 cases newly resolved.

Long-Term Care Inquiry to Begin:

Ontario’s long-term care minister says a commission of inquiry into the COVID19 response in Ontario’s nursing homes has begun its work. The commission, led by associate chief justice of the Superior Court Frank Marrocco, is tasked with investigating why nursing homes were hit so hard by coronavirus disease and whether the province did enough to prevent and contain its spread. While Minister Merrilee Fullerton says the commission will hold public hearings, the commission itself says it has yet to make a decision on that. To date, 1,822 residents and eight staff have died in Ontario’s long-term care homes during the pandemic.

More PPE to be Produced in Guelph:

The province is ramping up production of Ontario-made ventilators as it prepares for an expected second wave of COVID19. Premier Ford has announced a $2.5-million dollar investment to help Guelph-based Linamar retool its auto parts assembly line to manufacture ventilator components. That will allow other partners to produce 10-thousand ventilators. Ford says the province is building homegrown capacity so it does not have to scramble to obtain Personal Protective Equipment from other countries as it did in the spring.

Indoor Community Events and Private Social Gatherings are Behind the Increases:

Canada’s chief public officer of health says the rapidly rising rate of COVID19 infections is cause for concern, with a daily average of 838 new cases over the past seven days. Doctor Theresa Tam says multiple outbreaks have been linked to indoor community events or private social gatherings. She says there’s still time to pump the brakes, noting the increase comes as Canadians move indoors for fall and winter. Tam says hosts have the power to stop their event from becoming another outbreak.

Here is yesterday’s federal news conference:

Too Soon To Say If The Second Wave is Upon Us:

Canada’s health minister says it’s still too early to determine if the rising COVID19 numbers across the country are just a temporary blip, or a sign that a second wave of the virus is upon us. Patty Hajdu says that’s because there’s still time to get those numbers under control — providing Canadians work together — both within the government and as individuals. The rise in cases has Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet preparing for the worst — including the possibility of renewed lockdowns.

1 in 4 Canadians Feel The Government is Exaggerating The Threat of COVID19:

According to a new poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, almost one-quarter of Canadians believe public health and government officials are exaggerating the threat of COVID19. They are skeptical about the warnings, including the need for measures like physical distancing. About 57 per cent of respondents said that they have eased their own adherence to one or more of public health safety measures over the last month. Physical distancing was the most likely to be relaxed at 37 per cent, followed by wearing a mask outside the home at 33 per cent and not gathering in large groups at 31 per cent. People from Alberta are more likely to believe the threat is embellished, followed by Atlantic Canada and Quebec, with Ontario at the bottom.

Adults More Likely to Spread COVID Than Kids:

A small, new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics suggests that while both children and adults can be asymptomatic carriers of COVID19, adults are more likely to transmit the virus. Researchers looked at the routine COVID19 testing results of children and adults who had no symptoms, and were admitted to hospital for a reason other than infection. Asymptomatic adults were more likely to have an incidental positive COVID19 test than asymptomatic children.

NDP to Prop Up Liberals and Avoid Fall Election:

The recent resurgence of COVID19 has led the federal government to change its plans for next week’s throne speech. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously suggested would lay out a bold plan for rebuilding Canada’s economy. But the government now says it will largely focus on limiting the effects of the novel coronavirus. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh threw cold water on federal election speculation Tuesday. He suggested his party would hold its nose and give the government a pass on the throne speech.

Liberal Retreat:

Prime Minister Trudeau and his cabinet are discussing how to save both Canadian lives and the Canadian economy at a retreat in Ottawa that comes as the country is bracing for a second wave of COVID19. A rising number of new infections in recent weeks have all but hijacked the Liberal government’s talk of setting a bold new post-pandemic course for Canada. The increase in cases is also sparking fears that renewed lockdowns may be necessary in order to get the spread of the virus back under control.

Yves-Francois Blanchet’s Partner Tests Positive:

The spouse of Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says she is in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID19. In a tweet, Nancy Deziel says she was tested yesterday after losing her sense of smell. Deziel says she and those close to her will be in isolation until next Tuesday. She’s continuing to work remotely as a scientist and city councillor in Shawinigan, Quebec. Blanchet was already in isolation as a precaution after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID19 yesterday.

Deaths Reported After Ottawa Outbreak:

A long-term care home in Ottawa says five residents have died after a COVID19 outbreak that started last month. The deaths happened at the West End Villa home, and at least 28 residents and five staff members have tested positive at the facility since August. The company that manages the home says a second round of testing is underway.

Long Lines for COVID Tests:

There were long lineups at a London COVID19 testing centre yesterday morning, hours before the centre even opened. Cars were seen waiting at the Oakridge Assessment Centre as early as 7:30am, despite the location not opening until 9am. Hours-long lineups have also been seen at multiple Toronto testing sites. Premier Ford has said there’s a need to increase testing capacity as COVID19 cases rise again.

Top Trump Health Official Apologizes:

A Trump health appointee is apologizing for a video in which he reportedly says scientists battling COVID19 are conspiring against the US president. Michael Caputo also warned of shooting in America if Trump loses the election. Caputo is the top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services. He is also accused of muzzling an important publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention amid the pandemic.

American Seniors Are Struggling:

Older Americans already struggling financially amid the COVID19 pandemic probably won’t find much solace in their Social Security checks next year.  The 68 million people – including retirees, as well as disabled people and others – who rely on Social Security are likely to receive a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment next year because of paltry inflation, according to an estimate by the Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group. For the average retiree who got a check of $1,517 this year, that would mean an additional $19.70 a month.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

That’s more like it. Yesterday Region of Waterloo Public Health only had 3 new cases of COVID19 to report. There are 68 active cases in the Region but still no hospitalizations. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph reported 4 new cases yesterday and 1 person is now hospitalized with COVID19. There are 25 active cases in the Region. Out of yesterday’s report, 1 of the new cases is in Dufferin County and another 3 are in Guelph itself.

Waterloo Region Mask Law:

If you live in Waterloo Region, prepare to wear a face covering until at least the end of May, 2021. By unanimous vote, the Region has extended it’s mandatory face covering bylaw through May 31. Should COVID19 disappear or go dormant, council has the power to revoke the bylaw prior to that date.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube Screenshot

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan