Health Minister Christine Elliott says cabinet will meet this morning to discuss whether to lift a stay-at-home order next week for four COVID-19 hot spots. Elliott says cabinet’s decision for Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and North Bay Parry Sound will be announced later in the day. She say the province is carefully considering a request from health officials in Toronto and Peel to keep the stay-at-home order in place until at least March 9th.
Ontario Reports Catastrophic Job Losses Due to COVID-19:
The economic pain inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighted yesterday in a report showing record-setting job losses in Ontario. The report from the Financial Accountability Office says 355,000 jobs disappeared last year, while another 765,000 people had their hours cut. It shows young people were hit the hardest as youth unemployment jumped to 22 per cent. The office says the job losses were the single largest annual decline on record.
Yesterday the provinces top medical advisors held their weekly briefing.
Vaccines Are Finally on the Way:
Only a tiny fraction of the Canadian population has had a COVID vaccine shot, but federal officials say that’s about to change. Major-General Dany Fortin, who is overseeing the federal vaccine distribution effort, says Canada remains on schedule to receive six-million doses of vaccines by the end of March. With the two authorized vaccines, the government expects to fully vaccinate 14.5-million people by the end of June. Federal officials say about one million Canadians have had at least one shot so far.
Here is yesterday’s federal update:
Study Finds One Dose of Vaccine Helps Fight Off The Variants:
There’s some encouraging news about COVID vaccines. A report says a single jab of COVID-19 vaccine appears to be highly effective, which could allow better use of scarce supplies. Health authorities in Ottawa say experts were looking at whether one shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could be almost as good as the recommended two. Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, calls the data in a new Canadian-authored study compelling. The report is in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Federal Government Confirms the Tax Payers Will Foot the Quarantine Hotel Bill for Newly Arrived Refugees in Canada:
Newly arriving refugees will have the cost of their mandatory hotel quarantines covered by the federal government. The government is also covering the cost of mandatory COVID-19 testing on arrival. As of Monday, most incoming travellers to Canada are required to stay for up to three nights in government-approved hotels while they await their COVID-19 test results. Canadian travellers will have to cover the costs of their hotel stays.
Today, I was happy to speak at the Canadian Resettlement Conference. Welcoming refugees has been a key part of our policies as a government. 🇨🇦 has welcomed over 70,000 Syrian refugees since 2015 and we’ve kept our doors open to the world's most vulnerable during #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/kqjtgjCCcv
— Marco Mendicino (@marcomendicino) February 16, 2021
Calls to Extend the Canada Recovery Benefit:
Labour groups want the federal government to extend eligibility for the Canada Recovery Benefit at least until the end of the year. The Canadian Labour Congress and other groups say that’s because many workers who have relied on it since its launch will exhaust their eligibility at the end of next month. The CLC’s Larry Rousseau says it’s unlikely workers in hard-hit sectors like restaurants and tourism will be back to full-time hours by then, or even this summer.
— Canadian Labour (@CanadianLabour) February 18, 2021
Barrie LTC Outbreak Declared Over:
The outbreak that killed 70 residents at a long-term care home in Barrie has been declared over. The outbreak at Roberta Place involved cases of the COVID-19 variant first detected in the UK. More than 200 people at the home caught the virus since the outbreak was first declared on Jan. 8.
— BarrieToday (@BarrieToday) February 18, 2021
Unifor Wants the Feds to Step In and Help Out De Havilland:
Unifor president Jerry Dias is calling for immediate action from the federal government to protect jobs in Canada’s aerospace industry. The call comes after De Havilland Canada announced it would indefinitely halt production of its new Dash 8-400 aircraft in Toronto once current orders are filled. Unifor says the company’s suspension of the Dash 8 program and exit from its facility in Downsview will affect more than 700 members.
Unifor urges immediate federal government action to support aerospace workers as De Havilland suspends Dash 8 production and announces it will exit Downsview plant: https://t.co/tOwcbKx8hl #cdnpoli #canlab #BuildBackBetter pic.twitter.com/VWqI3Wa2Sj
— Unifor (@UniforTheUnion) February 18, 2021
COVID and Canada’s Zoos:
COVID-19 is threatening Canadian zoos and aquariums. An industry association says their 29 members are struggling to survive and barely hanging on — even with the help of available government programs. Accredited Zoos and Aquariums Association’s executive director Jim Facette says the institutions need to get visitors inside and get capacity up in order to make it through the pandemic.
There Will Be a Virtual G7 Meeting Today:
A virtual G-7 leaders meeting is set for today, aimed at bolstering efforts to get vaccines out to as many countries as possible. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hosting, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will take part. Johnson recently announced that the UK would be donating its surplus vaccines to an international program designed to help poorer countries get access to the often pricey shots. Canada has recently taken flack for announcing its plan to access the program’s vaccine pool. Trudeau has defended the decision, saying Canada is one of the leading contributors to the program.
Africa Passes 100,000 COVID Deaths:
Africa has surpassed 100,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19. The continent was praised for its early response to the pandemic but now struggles with a dangerous resurgence and medical oxygen shortages. The 54-nation continent of some 1.3-billion people has barely seen the arrival of large-scale supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.
Across Ontario there were 1,038 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday, based on over 56,000 tests completed. Here were also 44 new deaths. For the first time in several days, hospitalized patients increased. There were 39 more patients admitted. Icu numbers dropped to 271. That’s down 21 patients from the previous day. 1,277 more cases were marked as resolved.
Ontario is reporting 1,038 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 56,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 376 new cases in Toronto, 142 in Peel and 122 in York Region.
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 501,867 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) February 18, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday 38 new COVID-19 cases were reported by Waterloo Region Public Health, along with 2 new deaths. Both were men in their 50’s. That raises the local death toll to 220. Active cases in the Region increase to 330, which is up by 14. Hospitalizations increase by 3 to 24 total, including 8 in the ICU. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 17 new cases yesterday. Active cases dropped down to 141. That’s a decrease of 9. Hospitalizations went from 12 to 10.
Asymptomatic testing for school/board staff now available at local pharmacies. This is an expansion of the asymptomatic testing currently offered at participating pharmacies for specified groups. Read more at: https://t.co/FJzXWGSx2i pic.twitter.com/W40Y5tp7XA
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) February 17, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Christine Elliott via Twitter