Millions More Enter Stage 3 Today And The Back-To-School Plan Is Out – Full COVID19 update

Ontario reported 89 new cases of COVID19 yesterday, marking the second day in a row where the province had fewer than 100 cases. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 17 public health regions had no cases at all, including Waterloo Region. The number of people in hospital, intensive care or on a ventilator all dropped today.

Ontario’s Back-To-School Plans:

The provincial government’s long-awaited back to school plan will see all elementary students and many of those in high school back in class full-time in September. Elementary class sizes won’t be cut, but students will not be allowed to mix with other cohorts and those in grades four and up will have to wear masks in class. High school students will also return full time, with the exception of the Toronto District School Board and 23 other boards. Students there will be in school half time with classes capped at 15 and will be given “curriculum-linked independent work” on days when they are at home. The plan gives parents the option to keep their kids out of class, and says boards must provide options for remote learning.

Here is yesterday’s announcement:

Toronto and Peel Are Now in Stage 3:

Toronto and Peel Region are moving on to Stage 3 of reopening today, which means residents can now eat inside a restaurant and get various other services performed. Gathering limits also increase. The Ontario government gave them the green light earlier this week, leaving only Windsor-Essex still in Stage 2. That region is still grappling with COVID19 outbreaks on farms.

COVID19 Greatly Impacting Racialized Communities:

Data released by the city of Toronto shows 83 per cent of people reporting COVID19 infections were from racialized communities. The city has released demographic information collected from May 20th to July 16th to understand if residents are being inequitably affected by the pandemic. It shows 51 per cent of cases were among people living in what are considered lower income households and 27 per cent were in households of five or more people. Mayor John Tory says the data will help Toronto Public Health better respond in specific neighbourhoods that are being more severely affected by COVID19.

Airport Screening:

Travellers through Pearson Airport in Toronto will now have their temperature screened. That new policy kicked in yesterday.  It’s part of an initiative by the federal government to reduce the spread of COVID19.  Passengers with a temperature above 38 degrees will not be allowed to travel and will be asked to re-book. Airports in Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary also started screening passengers yesterday.

Movie Theatres Reopening Tonight:

Cineplex says it will reopen 25 movie theatres in Ontario today as it slowly resumes operations shut down due to the pandemic. The movie theatre chain says it will be permitted to admit up to 50 moviegoers per auditorium under stage three of the province’s reopening plan. It says patrons will be required to wear masks in communities where it is mandated.  Similar measures were announced by Landmark Cinemas, who is also reopening many theatres tonight.

Flights Cancelled Out of Western Canada:

Travellers in Western Canada hoping to head to sunshine destinations or the U.S. this winter on Air Transat flights will need to look elsewhere. Tour operator Transat — which owns the airline — says it is cancelling all flights slated to take off from Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria from November 1st through April 30th. Transat says customers will receive a full refund rather than the company credit that has previously been offered for flights cancelled due to the COVID19 crisis.

Long Weekend Spread in BC:

British Columbia’s public safety minister says visitors will be restricted from Haida Gwaii as part of an effort to reduce the spread of COVID19. Mike Farnworth says the use of the extraordinary power comes amid 20 cases of the virus in the archipelago because it’s believed the virus is linked to off-island travel or to locals who returned there. Doctor Bonnie Henry says the spread of COVID19 after large gatherings on the Canada Day long weekend in the central Okanagan should be a lesson for those socializing on BC Day.

Here is yesterday’s BC update:

Manitoba Back-To-School Plans:

Students in Manitoba will not be required to wear masks when they head back to class on September 8th. However, under the new provincial guidelines to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, schools will be asked to ensure students are two metres apart as much as possible. In many cases, teachers will change classrooms instead of students.

Could COVID19 Cause Hearing Problems?

Coronavirus may cause hearing problems in one in eight patients, according to a study.  Audiologists at the University of Manchester followed 121 adults who were admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital with coronavirus.  When asked about changes to their hearing, 16 people said their hearing was worse eight weeks after being discharged.  Eight reported worse hearing and another eight reported tinnitus — hearing noises, usually a ringing, in the ear.   Researchers noted that other viruses such as measles, mumps and meningitis can also cause hearing loss.

Fauci to Testify Today:

Infectious disease specialist, Doctor Anthony Fauci is returning to Capitol Hill today. Along with other government health experts, Fauci is testifying before a special House panel investigating the coronavirus pandemic. His appearance comes as early progress on combating the virus seems to have been lost with hotspots spreading across the southern U.S. like wildfires. In recent days, Fauci’s simple message has been to wear masks in public, keep your distance, and avoid crowds and indoor spaces such as bars.

American Benefits Extended:

The White House has offered a short-term extension of a $600-dollar weekly unemployment benefit before it expires on Friday. The benefit has kept families and the economy afloat during the COVID19 pandemic. But Democrats rejected it, saying President Donald Trump’s team failed to grasp the severity of the crisis.

American Unemployment:

An additional 1,434,000 Americans applied for unemployment in the week ending July 25, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  The numbers are up 12,000 from the previous week’s level, which itself was revised up by 6,000, from 1.416 million to 1.422 million.  Also yesterday, the second-quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) fell 32.9%, compared to this same period one year ago.  That represents the biggest single-quarter GDP decline since World War II, and covers the months of April, May and June, during which much of the economy was shut down or just beginning to open up amid the pandemic.  The GDP represents the total monetary or market value of goods and services produced during a given period.

Record Number of American Deaths Yesterday:

One person in the United States died about every minute from COVID19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000 and California, Florida and Texas all set single-day highs for fatalities.  The United States recorded 1,461 new deaths, which is the highest one-day spike since the 1,484 recorded on May 27.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

For the second time in 3-days, Waterloo Region Public reported zero new COVID19 cases yesterday.  3 more cases are now resolved so the number of active cases in the Region is down to 36 with only 12 hospitalized at the moment. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health reported just 1-new case yesterday plus 2 more recovered so the number of active cases there is at 23.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot


Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan