If Ontario doesn’t turn things around, the province could be counting 6,500 new cases of COVID19 every day by mid-December. This is according to harrowing new projections that public health officials released yesterday afternoon. If the growth rate is at three per cent in December, there’ll be 2,500 new daily cases at that time. But Doctor Adalsteinn Brown — one of the experts behind the projections — says that if the growth rate is five per cent, the province will reach that 6,500 number. He says five per cent is in line with the current situation, or even, “slightly optimistic.”
Ford Rejects NDP Calls for a Full Lockdown in Toronto & Peel:
Premier Doug Ford says increasing cases of COVID19 are concerning and alarming. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for a two-week partial lockdown in COVID19 hot spots such as Toronto and Peel Region to put the brakes on transmission. Ford says the province is trying to avoid a lockdown because of the devastating impact it would have on businesses. He points out that many people are not following public health protocols, which is fuelling the spread of the coronavirus.
Here is the media Q&A from yesterday’s Provincial update:
It was another new record yesterday. Ontario announced 1,575 new COVID19 cases, along with 18 new deaths. There are 7 more people hospitalized,10 more people in the ICU and 5 more people on a ventilator. There were also 917 more resolved cases after nearly 39,600 tests were completed. Broken down: There were 472 new cases in Toronto, 448 in Peel, 155 in York Region, 49 in Halton and 91 in Ottawa. Today Ontario is expected to exceed 90,000 total cases.
Ontario is reporting 1,575 cases of #COVID19. Locally, there are 472 new cases in Toronto, 448 in Peel, 155 in York Region and 91 in Ottawa. There are 917 more resolved cases and nearly 39,600 tests completed.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) November 12, 2020
Ontario Doctor’s Group Wants a Lower Threshold for Imposing Restrictions:
The Ontario Medical Association is calling on the provincial government to lower the thresholds for imposing stricter COVID19 measures. The doctors’ group says the tiered and colour-coded framework for public health regions is too lax, particularly when case counts are surging. It says the criteria to move from one alert level to the other should be up to 50 per cent lower in some cases — and the higher levels should include a ban on indoor dining in restaurants and bars. The group’s call follows a Toronto Star report that said the Ford government ignored the advice of its own public health agency in designing the system that was introduced last week.
@OntariosDoctors ask @ONgov to increase restrictions in new #COVID19 framework. Doctors support the idea of guidelines but recommend lower thresholds and additional closures. https://t.co/Wx026fTrYJ #onhealth
— Ontario Medical Association (@OntariosDoctors) November 12, 2020
Celebrating Diwali in a Pandemic:
Tomorrow is Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Millions around the world will celebrate but due to the COVID19 pandemic, many celebrations will have to be held virtually. Public Health officials have urged those celebrating to observe all public health guidelines for COVID19. That includes maintaining physical distancing, no large gatherings and only celebrating indoors with those from your own household. Diwali RazzMatazz, an annual event held in Mississauga, is moving its programming online this year. Dancing and singing as part of the festival of lights will be streamed on the festival’s Canada Diwali Facebook page. Events are scheduled all weekend.
Finding the light in darkness: 4 ways to safely celebrate Diwali during COVID-19.
— Region of Peel (@regionofpeel) November 12, 2020
Friday the 13th Biker Rally:
Premier Ford has a message for bikers planning on heading to Port Dover for the traditional Friday the 13th motorcycle rally: Don’t. He says that the current COVID19 case numbers mean that a large gathering like that would be, “very, very risky.” Thousands of bikers typically descend on the beach town for the Friday the 13th rallies. But this year, local officials have taken action to discourage it — including refusing to issue permits to would-be vendors.
Tory Asks Torontonians to Stay Home:
Toronto Mayor John Tory is urging city residents to, “take every opportunity” to stay home. He says people should only go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Tory says the province’s new colour-coded system of restrictions could give some people a false sense of security. But he says COVID19 remains rampant in the city.
Here is yesterday’s Toronto update:
Fauci Optimistic About COVID19 Vaccine Distribution:
America’s top infectious disease expert says the first COVID19 vaccines could be deployed as soon as next month and early into next year. Dr. Anthony Fauci doesn’t believe the US will need to go into lockdown if everyone doubles down on wearing masks and social distancing. The US leads the world with more than 241,000 deaths and 10-million coronavirus cases.
Freeland Tightlipped in Front of Senate Committee:
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says detailed information on the latest proposed COVID19 aid programs for hard-hit businesses will be released in the fall fiscal update . Testifying before the Senate’s national finance committee yesterday, which is reviewing Bill C9, Freeland would not commit to monthly reports on pandemic spending. Bill C9 would extend the federal wage subsidy until next summer, cancel a previously planned decline in its value and expand a popular business loan program. It would also revamp a widely criticized commercial rent relief program.
Major Bank Proposes A Work From Home Tax?
Critics are calling a Deutsche Bank proposal to tax white collar workers reaping the financial benefits of working from home misguided. The bank is proposing a five per cent daily tax on each employee who continues working from home. It says the move would raise tens of billions of dollars in revenue that governments could spend to help workers who have taken on greater risk because their jobs can’t be done remotely. Deutsche Bank says the tax would amount to just over $10-dollars a day — roughly the amount the worker might spend on commuting, lunch and laundry, leaving them no worse off than going into the office.
COVID19 in Western Canada:
An open letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney signed by more than 430 doctors and three major health unions are calling for sharp, time-limited restrictions in order to curb soaring COVID19 cases. Doctors say the goal is to bring down the caseload to prevent overwhelming hospitals and to prevent a longer-term economic lockdown. Meantime, Manitoba is entering what its chief public health officer says are critical new restrictions to bring down spiking infection rates The public health order bans social gatherings outside of immediate household members, with the exception of caregivers.
All restaurants, bars, lounges & pubs in areas under enhanced status (50+ active cases/100K) must stop liquor sales by 10pm & close by 11pm until Nov. 27. Similar restrictions are in place in BC, SK, MB, ON & QC. (12/16)
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) November 12, 2020
Newfoundland and Labrador Requiring a Travel Permit For Holiday Visits:
If what you really wanted for Christmas were relaxed travel restrictions in Newfoundland and Labrador — the province’s public health department has a lump of coal for you. With case numbers spiking across the rest of Canada, health officials in the Atlantic province say existing restrictions must stay in place over the holidays. Anyone wishing to come to the province for Christmas must apply for a travel exemption and isolate for two weeks upon arrival. And to soothe the nerves of little kids — chief medical officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says Santa is an essential worker and will be allowed in to deliver presents.
BC Cases Continue to Spike:
British Columbia has recorded a new bleak milestone for COVID19 infections. The province’s leading physician is reporting 1,110 new cases over the last two days. It brings the total to 20,368 since the start of the pandemic. Looking ahead, Dr. Bonnie Henry says Santa Claus is probably immune to COVID19 — but this Christmas will not be like previous holidays. Henry says people will just have to find ways to celebrate safely and protect the elders in the community.
Manitoba Continuing to Set New Records:
Manitoba has matched its deadliest day as the province enters a second lockdown period to control the spread of COVID19. Health authorities have announced nine more deaths, matching the record-set only the day before. There were also 474 new cases. The enhanced restrictions have closed non-essential stores and restaurants and churches can’t hold in-person gatherings. Officials say the province is at a critical time to protect the health-care system from even higher case counts.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health reported 45 new COVID19 cases yesterday, officially taking Waterloo Region’s total over 2,500 infections. The number of active cases nows sits at 270 with 5 people in area hospitals for coronavirus treatment. The numbers in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph shot up yesterday too. Public Health confirmed 23 new cases, bringing the active number in the Region to 101 with 2 people in hospital in Guelph.
Waterloo Region Infections:
Another COVID19 case has been confirmed at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge. That’s the second case this week.
The number of cases in @RegionWaterloo has begun to rapidly accelerate. We see that spread often starts at social gatherings or events. This is leading to multiple clusters of cases and outbreaks in various settings. We all have a role to play to slow the spread in our community. pic.twitter.com/eTuYN4yBij
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) November 10, 2020
Waterloo Region Testing:
Grand River Hospital is moving their COVID19 testing site to downtown Kitchener. It will be at the old bus terminal at Charles and Ontario St. They say that will allow them to keep going even in the cold or inclement weather. They have not announced when the new testing site will open. Some renovations needs to be done and equipment needs to be moved.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot