Premier Ford says his government is considering additional restrictions to address a surge in new cases of COVID-19. Ford told reporters yesterday that everything is on the table and he won’t hesitate to lock things up if needed to address rising cases fuelled by the spread of more infectious variants. He says he will consult the province’s top doctor before making a decision on any changes but is urging people not to gather over the Easter weekend. The comments come just days after Ford announced personal care services including hair salons would be allowed to re-open on April 12th in regions in grey lockdown zones.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Spring Break Is Still On:
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says spring break in the province’s schools will go ahead as scheduled for the week of April 12th. Lecce says the government continues to follow advice from the province’s top doctor and the break originally set for March will not be postponed again. He adds safety protocols will be stepped up when students and staff return to in-class learning on April 19th. Lecce’s comments came a day after Premier Ford told reporters he couldn’t give a direct answer on whether the break would be postponed or altered.
Trudeau Says Take AstraZeneca If That’s What You Are Offered:
Prime Minister Trudeau says he understands how the continually changing advice on use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine might be confusing. But he stresses that all vaccines being offered to Canadians are safe to use, and the right vaccine is the one you are offered first. On Monday federal health officials recommended temporarily suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Canadians under 55 years of age, amid a few reports of patients in Europe developing blood clots post vaccination. No blood clot cases have been reported in Canada.
Here is yesterday’s news conference from Prime Minister Trudeau:
The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine is Finally on the Way:
Shipments of the fourth COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Canada should begin to arrive in the country by the end of next month. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says the federal government is still finalizing the delivery schedule with Johnson & Johnson. Canada has bought 10-million doses of the J-and-J vaccine, with the option of securing up to 28-million more.
🚨 @PfizerCA is accelerating deliveries to 🇨🇦 with 5M doses arriving in June.
🚨 🇨🇦 will receive at least 1M Pfizer doses per week now until end of May and 2M per week every week in June. pic.twitter.com/2EPirnoby5
— Anita Anand (@AnitaOakville) March 30, 2021
Dr Tam Sounding the Alarm Over Holiday Gatherings:
Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says COVID-19 variant case numbers represent the tip of the iceberg. She’s calling a 64 per cent jump in infections involving the variants the most concerning development of this phase of the pandemic. Tam says the variants are driving the continuing spike in new cases and hospitalizations. She is urging everyone to remain isolated as much as possible over Easter, Passover and other holidays.
1/3 As Spring brings warmer weather and important religious observances such as #Passover, #Easter, #Vaisakhi and #Ramadan are here/coming, we too must do our best and remember our duty to protect one another.
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) March 30, 2021
Updated data on Canada’s COVID-19 file has the number of confirmed cases across the country at more than 976,000. There were nearly 4,900 new cases reported yesterday, about 300 more than the day before. And there were 26 new reported deaths. Every single province — but none of the territories — reported new COVID cases yesterday. Ontario reported the most new cases in the country with over 2,300.
National Vaccination Numbers:
Another 170,000 COVID-19 vaccines were administered nationwide on Tuesday, making for nearly 5.5-million doses given to Canadians to date. More than 679,000 people — or 1.8 per cent of the population — has been fully vaccinated. Over 6.5-million doses of vaccine have been delivered to the provinces and territories so far.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 30, 2021
Canada And Allies Concerned About the New Report On COVID-19’s Origins:
Canada and 13 other countries have signed a joint declaration voicing concerns with an international report on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The countries decry what they call significant delays and lack of access to complete, original data and samples faced by World Health Organization experts when they travelled to China’s Wuhan province to study the original outbreak. The statement says the international community must understand how COVID-19 began circulating in the local population to improve future pandemic responses. It says that can only happen if experts are free from interference and undue influence.
Halton Residents 65+ Can Now Register for a Vaccine:
Halton Region’s health unit says it will move ahead with offering vaccinations to people aged 65 and older starting today. York Region also announced that it would start to vaccinate residents aged 65 and up. This is ahead of the provincial schedule, which would start in April.
UPDATE: Starting March 31, #HaltonON residents aged 65+ can book their #COVID19 vaccine appointment through our online booking system. Other groups remain eligible and can continue to book their appointments. For more on Halton's vaccine program, visit: https://t.co/jFABpH3ZCy pic.twitter.com/BmXVy4ykMX
— Halton Region (@RegionofHalton) March 30, 2021
Shortages Closed Down Three Vaccination Clinics:
Vaccine supply shortage has forced a COVID-19 hot spot to close three vaccination clinics. York Region says the clinics would close from April 2 to 5 due to delayed Moderna vaccine shipments. The clinics include the Canada’s Wonderland site that just opened Monday. The shortage is blamed on the federal government who is in charge of procurement.
LTC Residents Want Some Freedom:
Some residents of long-term care homes in Ontario are urging the province to act on what they say is a gross violation of their basic human rights during the pandemic. They are calling for changes to the COVID-19 restrictions that have kept them confined to their rooms — even though 90 per cent of residents have now been vaccinated. Many of an estimated 150,000 nursing home residents have been cut off from most relatives as well as the outdoors for as long as 15 months. Lawyer Jane Meadus says seniors continue to suffer while anti-pandemic measures loosen in the rest of society. Premier Ford expressed sympathy for long-term care residents yesterday but gave no indication he would act on the concerns.
Massive Outbreak declared At The University of Waterloo:
The University of Waterloo says a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in all of its student residence buildings. The university says in a release that 10 more cases have been confirmed — bringing total cases at the school to 21. It says all of the cases are related to a large cluster linked to off-campus gatherings of students from both universities in Waterloo. Students living in residence halls are urged to remain in their own accommodation except for essential purposes – like classes, exercise or getting food.
Update: A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared in all #UWaterloo residences.@ROWPublicHealth confirmed 10 people, who live on or visited campus, have tested positive. All cases are connected to a large cluster linked to off-campus gatherings. Learn more: https://t.co/bJWJn5N2VZ pic.twitter.com/VaMLEjeVTZ
— University of Waterloo (@UWaterloo) March 30, 2021
The Outbreak at Brock Continues to Grow:
A COVID-19 outbreak at Brock University in St. Catharines has grown to include 31 students. The university says the students are self-isolating on campus. The outbreak was declared on Friday, and consisted of 12 cases at the time. Public health officials have said the outbreak appears to be related to students’ social activities over the previous week.
— Brock University (@BrockUniversity) March 30, 2021
More Than Half Of Toronto’s Elderly Have Received At Least One Shot:
More than half of Torontonians 80 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to public health officials. But that’s compared to the 77 per cent of Ontario residents in that age group who have received a shot. Toronto Mayor John Tory has urged seniors to get vaccinated, noting the city has the doses and appointments to do it. The province has also said it is looking at ways to combat vaccine hesitancy among older residents.
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) March 30, 2021
Americans Are Ready to Shop Again:
Consumer confidence in the US has surged to the highest reading since March of last year when the pandemic was just beginning to hit. The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index rose to 109.7 this month, helped by increased COVID-19 vaccinations and more government economic support. The index stood at 90.4 in February. Conference Board Senior Indicators Director Lynn Franco says the significant improvement in the index is a good sign for future economic growth.
Across the Province there were 2,336 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, based on 36,100 tests completed. 727 of the new cases were in Toronto, 434 in Peel, 229 in York Region, 194 in Durham, 144 in Ottawa and 123 in Hamilton. Hospitalizations increased substantially yesterday. 249 more people were admitted in the 24-hour period. 5 more were added to the ICU. 13 more were put on a ventilator. There were also 14 new deaths. 1,524 cases were marked as resolved.
Ontario is reporting 2,336 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 36,100 tests completed. Locally, there are 727 new cases in Toronto, 434 in Peel, 229 in York Region, 194 in Durham, 144 in Ottawa and 123 in Hamilton.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 30, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health confirmed just 26 new COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region yesterday. That’s the lowest total in almost a week. Active cases remained at 299 but hospitalizations went up again. 25 people are now being treated in hospital with 6 in intensive care.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced just 9 new cases yesterday. 2 are in Guelph, 3 in Wellington, and 5 were in Dufferin. Active cases dropped by nine to just 140. Hospitalizations went down by one to just 4, with 1 in the ICU. The local death toll remained at 106.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot