Most Of Ontario Enters Stage 3 Today – Full COVID19 Update

Here we go. After months of being shut down, 23 regions in Ontario begin stage 3 of the COVID19 reopening plan today. This stage will allow restaurants to resume indoor dining, as well as the reopening of businesses like bars, gyms and theatres. Playground can reopen today as well. Stage 3 also raises the limits on the size of indoor gatherings to a maximum of 50 people, while as many as 100 people are allowed to congregate outdoors. But some of the busiest parts of the province — including the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas, Niagara and Windsor-Essex — will not be entering this new stage while they work to reduce the number of COVID19 cases locally.

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario reported 111 cases of COVID19 yesterday. 141 more cases were marked as resolved so there are now 30 fewer active cases in the province. The number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and vented patients all declined.  26,492 tests were processed in the 24-hour period.

Ontario to Receive More Federal Money:

Premier Ford says he’s thrilled that Ontario is set to receive $7-billion-dollars in pandemic-relief aid. Ford announced the province’s share of the $19-billion-dollar deal from a farm outside of Chatham. He says the money will help the province provide critical services, including financial relief to municipalities. The federal funding is expected to help provinces pay for initiatives such as child care, contact tracing and personal protective equipment. He says this is — quote – “a great deal for Ontario.”

WE Investigation:

The federal youth minister says she was not told by Prime Minister Trudeau’s office to award a lucrative agreement to WE Charity to run a federal volunteering program. Bardish Chagger told the House of Commons finance committee that she didn’t personally have conversations with Trudeau’s office, or that of Finance Minister Bill Morneau.Chagger also revealed yesterday that WE Charity could have received more than $43-million-dollars to administer the program, had it landed up to 40,000 student volunteer placements. At a news conference in Ottawa yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also took responsibility for her part in the affair. But she added Trudeau has her “complete confidence” in his leadership.

Intelligence Says Russian Hackers Tried to Hack COVID19 Vaccine Info:

Canada, Britain and the United States are blaming Russia for allegedly trying to steal research on COVID19 vaccines from organizations in all three countries and around the world. But Canadian officials won’t say anything about punishing Russia. Canada’s Communications Security Establishment says the malicious cyberactivities were very likely undertaken to pilfer information and intellectual property relating to the development and testing of vaccines. The CSE’s Centre for Cyber Security assessed that a group labelled AP-T29, also known as “the Dukes” or “Cozy Bear,” was responsible and almost certainly operates as part of Russian intelligence services.

Canadian Border Closure Extended:

The agreement to keep the border between Canada and the U.S. closed to all non-essential travel will be extended again. It had been set to expire July 21st. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed an earlier tweet by U.S. homeland security that the border will stay closed until August 21st. The border has been closed to so-called “discretionary” travel like vacations and shopping since the COVID19 pandemic took hold. Recent polls suggest most Canadians do not want the restrictions to be eased anytime soon.

Paid Sick Leave:

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he’s proud that a national paid sick leave program has been announced as part of a $19-billion-dollar federal plan to support provinces during COVID19. Horgan has been pushing for a national program to provide sick pay for people who wouldn’t otherwise be covered. He says provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry emphasized early in the pandemic that a successful fight against infections would depend on people staying home from work when they have symptoms.

Cineplex Not Ready to Reopen in Ontario:

Canada’s largest movie theatre chain says it won’t be showing films in Ontario just yet despite getting the green light to do so in most of the province. Cineplex Entertainment says it’s still reviewing the province’s rules for Stage 3, so won’t be reopening its theatres just yet. The company hasn’t indicated when they might reopen for business in Ontario.

Racist Rant Mississauga:

A 48-year-old man has been charged after video of a racist rant at a Mississauga supermarket was posted online. Peel Police began an investigation after being made aware of the video taken at T&T supermarket after a man was told he needed to wear a mask. It showed him screaming at employees to take COVID19 back to China even after they repeatedly told him there were Canadian. Police say the man was identified and has been charged with causing a disturbance.

Blue Jays Cleared to Play at Home:

The Blue Jays are one step closer to coming home. The Ontario government says the MLB team has been given the green light to play at the Rogers Centre. But Ottawa has the final say and has not yet confirmed whether it will approve the plan.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

Quebec May Shut Down Nightclubs Again:

Quebec’s public health director says the province is evaluating whether to shut down nightclubs again after a string of COVID19 outbreaks in the Montreal-area. Dr. Horacio Arruda says no decision has been made yet, but that the government is considering several options. Quebec public health authorities recently identified at least 30 cases of COVID19 linked to nine Montreal-area bars.

Layoffs in Hospitality:

The union representing 300,000 hospitality workers across the country says it fears staff laid off because of COVID19 might never return. The Canadian director of the hospitality union, Unite Here, says the challenges facing their workers are unprecedented. Ian Robb says over 90 per cent of hospitality employees in the country’s hotels, airports, stadiums, universities and schools haven’t worked since March.

Politics in America:

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is comparing President Donald Trump to “the man who refuses to ask for directions.” She is pleading with the White House to seek input from the nation’s scientific leaders to reverse the rise in coronavirus cases and deaths. Tensions are rising as Congress considers the next virus relief package, with no apparent endgame in sight.

U.S. Job Numbers:

The U.S. Labor Department said in its weekly assessment yesterday that 1.3 million more American workers have filed for unemployment benefits.  The report said claims showed a decrease of 10,000, putting the unemployment rate at 11.9%.  Yesterday’s report said continuing claims, which lag initial claims by one week, were at 17.3 million. As of yesterday, there are 3,536,658 cases of coronavirus in the U.S.  There have been 137,897 deaths.

Florida Numbers:

Florida has announced a single-day record of 156 deaths from the coronavirus. The state Department of Health reported 13,965 new coronavirus cases. That brings the total throughout the pandemic to nearly 316,000.

Miami Infections:

As Miami quickly takes its place as the epicenter of the nation’s ongoing COVID-19 surge, the city announced 155 officers had been placed under quarantine with nearly half of them testing positive as of yesterday.  Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina, who contracted the virus back in April, said 155 officers were under home quarantine and 79 had tested positive, along with about a dozen of the department’s civilian employees.

Changes for Fall at U of G:

The University of Guelph has announced it will run a hybrid fall semester, with only a small percentage of courses and activities offered in-person and most things done online. They are capping the number of students living in residences to about 1,000. This is 4,000 fewer students than usual.  All varsity sports are cancelled until December 31, which means there will not be any sporting events. Homecoming is cancelled and most welcome events will be virtual this year. Overall, they say there will be far fewer students, staff, faculty and visitors on campus come September.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health announced only 2 new COVID19 cases. The number of active cases dropped to 48 after 4-more cases were announced as recovered. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph there was only 1 new case yesterday, along with two more recovered.  The number of active cases is down to 16.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan