Yesterday the province reported it’s lowest daily number of new COVID19 infections since March. Only 102 new cases were announced. The number of people in hospital dropped by more than 20, but the number of people on a ventilator and in intensive care increased by one. The number of resolved cases went up by 135.
Calls to Reopen Daycares:
A group of Ontario child-care operators are asking the sector to be allowed to fully open in September, saying a plan that restricts capacity could result in some centres closing. Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the province is planning to expand the number of children allowed in the facilities at the end of the month to 15, up from 10. But the operators say full capacity can be accommodated safely if they adhere to strict physical distancing and the recommendations for school reopenings made by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) July 15, 2020
A/C Going Into Long Term Care Homes:
Premier Ford has announced that all new long-term care facilities and those being renovated will have air conditioning. The policy will take effect immediately, but officials could not say how much it will cost or provide a timeline for installation of the cooling systems. Ford has also promised to change funding rules to spur much-needed construction of new beds in the facilities. He pledged two years ago to spend $1.75-billion dollars to build or renovate 30,000 long-term care beds over five years. The target has now been cut to 20,000.
We are modernizing the way we fund long-term care construction and home upgrades in Ontario. Over the next five years, we're investing $1.75 billion in LTC homes and updating design standards to include air conditioning for any new and renovated homes. https://t.co/hR2eBQhQul pic.twitter.com/hFLpzmvqmh
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) July 15, 2020
Ontario Long Term Care Restrictions:
Ontario is relaxing visitor restrictions imposed at long-term care homes due to the pandemic. Long-term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton says a maximum of two people will be allowed to resume indoor visits starting next Wednesday. Essential caregivers will also be allowed back into the facilities when visits resume. Effective immediately, those visiting residents outdoors no longer need to make a declaration that they’ve tested negative for COVID19 in the previous two weeks.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
WE Probe Begins Today:
An initial probe into WE Charity’s aborted deal with the federal government, that would have seen them take the reins of the Canada Student Service Grant, begins today. WE walked away from the agreement, worth $900-million dollars, two weeks ago as controversy began to swirl. Opposition MPs are hoping to find out more details about exactly how the charity organization landed the sole-sourced contract in the first place. The government has since taken control of the program, but the clock continues to tick down on the summer with no sign the program is ready to launch.
American COVID19 Spread:
The United States has set yet another record for new coronavirus cases after hitting a single-day spike of 67,400 with almost half of those infections coming from Texas, Florida and California. Daily cases have been spiking in hot spot states in recent weeks and the US is now averaging about 60,000 infections per day. There were 67,417 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total to more than 3.4 million infections across the US. Hospital bed capacity is becoming a big concern. California has reported its second-highest daily total of new coronavirus cases, 11,000, while equalling its second-worst day for deaths. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer says Los Angeles County is in “an alarming and dangerous phase” that could overwhelm intensive care units.
Potential Factors Into The Canadian Death Rate:
Heart researchers say there’s a surprising reason behind Canada’s higher number of COVID19 deaths than many other countries that have fewer health-care resources — longevity. Research led by Heart & Stroke suggests that more Canadians are living longer with chronic disease, putting them at higher risk of dying from the potent virus. Lead author Cindy Yip said the findings underscore the devastating consequences of poor heart health, even if excellent medical care and technology is available.
Bank of Canada Grim Outlook for the Economy:
The Bank of Canada expects the economy to contract by 7.8 per cent this year and says it will keep its key interest rate low to help the economy recuperate from the impact of COVID19. But the central bank says there isn’t enough information to forecast how deep the economic scarring will be from business closures or widespread job losses. It’s also not clear how quickly consumer demand will recover due to changes in spending habits, work patterns and social behaviour. Governor Tiff Macklem says this is not a normal recession.
Here is yesterday’s policy announcement:
Independent Business Still Striggling:
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimates only 58 per cent of its 110,000 member businesses across the country have re-opened fully. Based on an online survey, it says only 35 per cent are back to full staffing and just 24 per cent are back to normal revenue. The CFIB estimates that a total of $117-billion-dollars of new debt has been loaded onto small businesses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Private sector businesses in Quebec can let employees back into the office as of Saturday, but offices can only operate with 25 per cent of their usual staff. And workers will have to wear masks in elevators and common areas where it isn’t possible to maintain physical distancing. Labour Minister Jean Boulet says the government continues to strongly recommend people work remotely if they can.
BC May Have More Infections That Previously Thought:
The rate of reported COVID19 in Canada’s third-largest city may be off-a-titch from the actual numbers. A group of researchers are set to release a new study later today that suggests eight times as many people in Metro Vancouver have been infected by the novel coronavirus than the official tally shows. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the study highlights the effectiveness of BC’s public health measures and the co-operation of the public.
Atlantic Canadians Want to Keep Their Bubble In Tact:
Atlantic Canada’s premiers aren’t rushing to open their borders to the rest of the country. The four provinces loosened restrictions on July 3rd for Atlantic Canadians travelling within the region. Some premiers had suggested opening the so-called Atlantic bubble to other Canadians by mid-July, but now the groups says it wants to keep the arrangement as is. New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs, however, says he is considering opening his province to residents of Gaspe and other regions of Quebec, but that’s it.
Health officials in PEI say roughly 1,300 COVID19 tests were done in the days after two new cases were identified at a hospital in Charlottetown last weekend — and all have come back negative. Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Heather Morrison says most people identified through contact tracing have been tested. There are currently nine active cases on the Island, and Morrison says the infected people are all recovering at home.
Nunavut Now Has COVID19 Cases:
Nunavut is reporting two presumptive cases of COVID19 at an iron mine on the northern tip of Baffin Island, but officials say there is no evidence of transmission. Both people are self-isolating and are not showing any symptoms. Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in the country that has never had a confirmed case of COVID19.
Masks Mandatory in Some American Stores:
Walmart and Sam’s Club will start requiring masks at stores and clubs nationwide starting Monday, July 20, the company announced yesterday. “We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC,” the retailers’ chief operating officers said in a blog post yesterday. The move comes two days after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said a mask mandate in stores nationwide was “obviously something that’s on our minds.”
New Orleans Shutting Back Down:
Bars in New Orleans have closed just a month after they partially reopened because of a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in Louisiana.
Rose Parade Cancelled:
The Rose Parade that takes place on New Year’s Day will not take place to ring in the new year in 2021 due to the coronavirus, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announced yesterday in accordance with California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Phase IV reopening schedule. It’s the first time in 75 years that the parade has been canceled. The association also hosts the annual Rose Bowl football game, and planning for the college football playoff is still ongoing.
U.S. Governor Tests Positive:
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced yesterday that he’s the first governor in the United States to test positive for the coronavirus and that he is isolating at home but away from his family. Stitt, 48, his wife Sarah and children were tested Tuesday and the governor – who has backed one of the country’s most aggressive reopening plans, resisted any statewide mandate on masks and rarely wears one himself – was the only one who tested positive. “I got tested yesterday for COVID-19 and the results came back positive,” Stitt said in a video conference call with reporters.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health yesterday only reported 1 new case which brings the number of active cases in the region to 50. There were no new deaths so the local toll remains at 118. For a second straight day Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph had zero new cases yesterday but two more resolved.The number of active cases is down to 17.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot