Health Minister Christine Elliot says the provincial government will not make the COVID19 vaccine mandatory in Ontario. But Elliott says the province will issue proof of vaccination that may be necessary to take part in some activities once the worst of the pandemic passes. She says those who opt not to get immunized could face restrictions on travel, access to movie theatres or any other places where people will be in close physical contact. Ontario has said it could start receiving doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks and plans to offer it first to vulnerable seniors and health care workers.
Today, I was pleased to visit @UHN with @fordnation, @SylviaJonesMPP & General Hillier to learn more about the equipment needed to store #COVID19 vaccines, including freezers that can reach -70 degrees to ensure vaccines are stored at the right temperature. pic.twitter.com/wTvYe5R2ZO
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) December 8, 2020
Ontario Will Only Be Able to Vaccinate 1.4 Million People in Q1:
Retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading Ontario’s vaccine task force, says the province will receive 2.4 million doses during the first three months of 2021. This would allow the province to vaccinate 1.2 million people. Health Minister Christine Elliott had said that the province will provide residents with a document to prove vaccination.
Here is yesterday’s provincial numbers update:
1,676 more people have tested positive for COVID19 in Ontario and there were 10 more fatalities announced yesterday. Health Minister Christine Elliott says the cases remain concentrated in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region. There are 794 people currently hospitalized due to COVID19, including 219 in intensive care.
Ontario is reporting 1,676 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 39,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 588 new cases in Toronto, 349 in Peel and 141 in York Region. There are 1,549 more resolved cases.
Today’s numbers will be available at 10:30 a.m. at https://t.co/ypmgZcdsmV.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) December 8, 2020
Ford Has Stashed a Contingency Fund in Case It’s Needed:
Premier Ford is disputing a report that says his government was sitting on $12-billion dollars in unspent reserve funds by the end of September. The Financial Accountability Officer says the money is earmarked for three contingency funds, including two related to the COVID19 pandemic. The opposition says the funds should be used to help people and businesses during the second wave of the virus. Ford told the legislature yesterday that all but $2.6-billion dollars has already been allocated to costs and the rest is being kept as a contingency in case of unexpected expenses such as a third wave.
Update on the Pfizer Vaccine:
Canada’s chief public health officer says the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID19 vaccine are likely to be given only to people who can physically be at one of the 14 delivery sites. Doctor Theresa Tam says many long-term care home residents won’t get the initial doses. Long-term care residents and staff are among those who are to be prioritized for the first doses of vaccines but Tam says most residents can’t easily be moved to another site. Major-General Dany Fortin, who is leading logistics for delivery of the vaccines, says more sites will be opened soon.
Here is yesterday’s federal update:
Will the Vaccine Impact Interest Rates?
Canada’s central bank is set to update the public on its key interest rate today. Observers will be keeping a keen eye on whether the news about a COVID19 vaccine will give a shot in the arm to the Bank of Canada’s economic outlook. The most recent forecasts were based on having a vaccine becoming widely available in 2022, not by next year as now appears the case.
When a #COVID19 vaccine is approved for use in Canada, the #GoC will be ready to safely manage the timely distribution of vaccines across Canada, including to remote and isolated communities.
Learn more: https://t.co/LDti1DXrbz#Vaccineswork #COVIDVaccine pic.twitter.com/KKH9QKu2et
— Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) December 7, 2020
FDA About to Approve the Vaccine in America:
Pfizer’s COVID19 vaccine is entering the final phase of review by US government regulators. The Food and Drug Administration has released a positive review of the vaccine. The review is a key step to verifying vaccine safety, effectiveness and side effects. On Thursday, a group of independent experts will review the FDA’s findings and vote on whether to recommend use of the vaccine.
Update on the AstraZeneca Vaccine:
Partial results published in the medical journal Lancet suggest the COVID19 vaccine candidate from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is safe and about 70 per cent effective. But it’s not clear how well it will help protect people in the 55-plus age bracket. Oxford’s Andrew Pollard says the team has no safety concerns about the vaccine, with results from all study locations consistently showing benefit.
Many factors determine the degree to which a vaccine is effective, including broad, timely and equitable access for those in need. This cornerstone of our #COVID19 strategy has the potential to truly change the course of the pandemic. https://t.co/hQMmYRpCuw pic.twitter.com/SiFkIftyty
— AstraZeneca (@AstraZeneca) December 8, 2020
Trudeau Firm on Keeping the Border Closed:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he won’t give in to pressure to reopen the Canada-US border to non-essential travel. Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Assembly of First Nations yesterday, Trudeau said he was going to be very cautious since opening the border too soon could be catastrophic. The Canada-US border is currently closed until December 21st — but Ottawa has hinted strongly that the closure could be extended.
Promoting Tourism in a Pandemic:
Canada’s economic development minister says federal marketing strategies for tourism may need to shift away from attracting foreign visitors. Melanie Joly says the strategy will likely be to first promote people travelling within their regions, then across the country, before lastly wooing overseas visitors once the COVID19 pandemic is in the rear-view mirror. Meantime, Joly says details about a new, low-interest, government-backed credit program for the hard-hit industry are still being ironed out.
Manitoba Extends Restrictions Through Christmas:
Restrictions on visitors in Manitoba homes and public gatherings will be extended through the holiday season. The province reported 245 new cases and 13 more deaths yesterday. Premier Brian Pallister says he knows it will be difficult not to gather as usual during Christmas. Starting Saturday, drive-in services at churches and other venues will be allowed in Manitoba.
Here is yesterday’s announcement:
Nevada Hospital Treating Patients in the Parking Garage:
A Nevada hospital is now treating patients in a converted parking garage as figures show COVID19 hospitalizations in the state have surged 230 percent over the past month. Renown Regional Medical Center opened an alternative care site with two floors of supplemental hospital beds inside a parking structure on November 12 to accommodate an overflow in COVID19 cases. Since then they have treated 265 people in the garage.
Yesterday, the U.S. surpassed 15 million coronavirus cases – with almost exactly 1 in 22 Americans having tested positive.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health reported 67 new COVID19 cases and a lot more people hospitalized. There are now 40 people in area hospitals being treated for the coronavirus. 11 are in the ICU. Thanks to many more resolved cases, the number of active cases has dropped to 456.
The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit reported 13 new cases yesterday but thanks to a lot of recoveries, the number of active cases dropped back below 200 to 199. There are 13 people hospitalized in the Region with COVID19.
Waterloo Region Infections:
- Seven patients and four staff members have tested positive at St Mary’s hospital in Kitchener.There was also a confirmed case in an individual who may have acquired the virus while visiting another unit at the hospital. The seventh floor Medicine Unit is now closed to new admissions except COVID resolved cases.
- A staff member at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Elementary School in Waterloo has tested positive.
- A student at Meadowlane Public School in Kitchener has tested positive. This is the school’s second case.
- A student at Jacob Hespeler Secondary School has tested positive for COVID19.
- A staff member at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge has tested positive.
- A 7th student at Linwood Public School has tested positive.
- One student at Grand River Collegiate Institute, Kitchener
- One student at Elgin Street Public School in Kitchener has tested positive.
- One staff member at Galt Collegiate Institute in Cambridge has tested positive.
- One student at Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener has tested positive.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Christine Elliott via Twitter