New Ontario Modeling Has Two Very Different Possible Scenarios – Full COVID19 Update

Health officials say COVID19 case counts in Ontario appear to be flattening slightly, but warn it’s too early to say whether the province has turned a corner when it comes to the second wave. New data released yesterday show that if current trends continue, new daily cases at the end of December could be similar to what they are now, around the 1,400 mark. But health officials say things could quickly turn sour, and if the province reverts back to the growth rate seen two weeks ago, daily infections could top 9,000 by the end of next month. Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the report, says the improvements seen now are fragile and precarious.

Here is the modeling presentation:

Delivery Fees in Ontario Are Being Capped:

Ontario will table legislation that caps fees from third-party delivery apps such as UberEats and DoorDash. If passed, it will prevent those apps from taking commissions greater than 15 per cent in regions where indoor dining is prohibited. The associate minister of small business says companies who contravene the proposed law could face fines of up to $10 million dollars.

 Ontario Numbers:

Ontario reported 1,478 new COVID29 cases yesterday along with 21 more deaths. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 572 of those cases were in Peel Region, and 356 were in Toronto. There are now 556 people hospitalized with COVID19 in the province. That’s an increase of 33 from Wednesday.

Ontario Asymptomatic Students Will Soon Be Able to Get Tested:

Voluntary COVID19 testing for asymptomatic students and staff will be made available in Ontario regions with high rates of transmission. Premier Ford announced the additional testing yesterday, saying the province will spare no expense to keep schools open. He says the expanded testing will be provided in schools in Toronto, Peel and York regions and Ottawa. The province first announced the program this summer but it had not yet taken effect.

Here is Premier Ford’s announcement and news conference:

Ontario Hospitals:

A report has found that almost half of Ontario’s hospitals are in a poor state of repair. The Financial Accountability Office estimates fixing them would cost $64.5-billion-dollars over the next 10 years. It says the province owns infrastructure worth about a quarter of a trillion dollars.

Pressuring the Finance Minister to Cancel The Upcoming CPP Increase:

Provincial finance ministers are hoping the Trudeau government will leave something out of the upcoming fiscal update. They have been quietly prodding Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to hold off another planned increase to the Canada Pension Plan premiums paid by both workers and businesses. The increase is scheduled to kick-in on January 1st as part of a multi-year plan that was approved four years ago to boost retirement benefits through the public plan by increasing contributions over time. The first premium bump was in 2019 — another happened earlier this year — and the next is due at the beginning of 2021.

Liberals Taking Heat Again Over Canada Being Waitlisted:

Yesterday was a second day of anger erupting from the opposition benches about why it will take Canada longer than other countries to get a COVID19 vaccine rolled out. Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner became emotional as she asked the Health Minister when she will tell Canadians when a vaccine will be ready for them. Patty Hajdu accused the Conservatives of sowing division among Canadians over the issue. Federal health officials say a vaccine from Pfizer could be approved for use as early as mid-December. But they don’t expect the first shots to be given until early 2021.

Here is an opposition news conference about the vaccine:

Health Canada Says They’re Close to Approving a Vaccine:

Health Canada’s chief medical adviser says the first COVID19 vaccine could be approved for use in this country within two weeks. It’s medicine review team is currently reviewing three of them: one from Pfizer and BioNTECH, another from Moderna and a third from AstraZeneca. Dr. Supriya Sharma says the Pfizer review is the most advanced of the three and that Health Canada is working alongside similar review teams in the United States and Europe. Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses from Pfizer and the option to buy another 56 million.

Is There an Issue with the AstraZeneca Vaccine?

AstraZeneca and Oxford University have acknowledged a manufacturing error in their COVID vaccine. It is raising questions about preliminary results of the serum. AstraZeneca now admits there might have been a mistake in the dosage some people received. But AstraZeneca adds people who got two doses of the vaccine did show protection from COVID19. Earlier the drug maker announced the vaccine candidate was 90 per cent effective.

Adamsons Barbeque Shut Down:

The owner of a small chain of barbecue restaurants was arrested yesterday after police say he repeatedly broke health regulations. Adam Skelly owns Adamsons Barbecue in Toronto, and has been opening the restaurant for indoor dining, in spite of restrictions put in place due to COVID19. Skelly was arrested at the Etobicoke location of his chain after what police called a “dynamic scene.” Reports say Skelly faces at least 9 different non-criminal charges.

York Region Stepping Up Inspections:

There will be more COVID19 related inspections in York Region this weekend in anticipation of Black Friday crowds. The region says its enforcement task force will be heading to malls, big box stores, restaurants and other locations today and throughout the weekend. It says while most businesses in the area are following COVID19 rules, there have been more complaints lately about overcrowding in malls and stores. The region says businesses that fail to keep employees and customers safe will face fines, and repeat offenders could be temporarily shut down.

Quebec Numbers:

Quebec announced 1,464 new cases of COVID19 yesterday and 32 additional deaths. It is the highest number of new cases reported in a single day in the province since the pandemic began.

Hinshaw Unhappy About a Media Leak:

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health is calling it a personal betrayal. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says somebody on the inside fractured the working relationship of her COVID19 team by leaking private conversations to the media. Hinshaw says public officials took an oath not to publicize private discussions and that there will be an investigation. She was referring to a CBC story published earlier in the day citing anonymous sources and audio recordings of meetings between Hinshaw and 40 or so colleagues as they developed recommendations to fight the pandemic.

Here is yesterday’s Alberta update:

Now New Brunswick Has Pulled Out of the Atlantic Bubble:

New Brunswick is the latest Atlantic province to opt out of the so-called bubble, and demand anyone entering the province to self-isolate for 14 days. The province has also introduced heightened public health measures in the Fredericton area. The new rules were announced as the province reported 12 new cases of COVID19 yesterday. Earlier this week PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador left the bubble, initially for a two-week period. Previously all Atlantic provinces were acting as a mini-region with no requirements for quarantining for residents moving from one area to another.

BC Numbers:

British Columbia has recorded 887 new cases of COVID19 as the province nears 30,000 infections. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are calling on the public to keep their contacts small as a way to support health-care teams working to track the virus. They say it’s important to pay attention to where you go and who you see in case COVID19 is transmitted to help contact tracers quickly prevent spread of the disease.

The Yukon Imposes a Mask Law:

The Yukon government has announced a policy on mandatory masks in all indoor public spaces, starting Tuesday. Doctor Brendan Hanley is reporting three news cases of COVID19, bringing the territory’s total to 42. He says one of the cases in Whitehorse is linked to a Diwali festival in the city. The territory says another is in an unnamed rural community.

How To Warn People About Christmas This Year:

Health experts are giving some advice to parents about how to tell their children and other family members that a normal Christmas celebration is not going to happen this year. Dr. Nancy Hurst, an Edmonton-based psychologist, says those conversations are needed in the coming weeks as we deal with “the pandemic that stole Christmas.” Dr. Roger McIntyre, a psychiatrist and professor at the University of Toronto, says a tough conversation about holiday plans may be easier to digest if it’s presented as a postponement rather than a cancellation.

Victoria, Australia has Eliminated COVID19:

Today marked four weeks without a new case of COVID19 in the Australian state of Victoria. Health authorities say 28 days with no new cases means the virus has been eliminated from the community, given that the time represents two 14-day incubation periods. COVID19’s resurgence had forced a lockdown in Melbourne, an overnight curfew and travel and family gathering restrictions.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Region of Waterloo Public Health announced 70 new COVID19 infections yesterday. 65 are new and the other five were added to previous daily totals. The number of active cases is now up to 433. That is another new record. The number of people hospitalized with COVID in the Region has jumped to 26, with 10 people currently in intensive care.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health added 27 new cases to their dashboard yesterday. 13 cases were in Wellington, 11 were in Guelph and just 5 were in Dufferin County. That makes 155 active cases in the public health unit and 3 people are hospitalized.

Freedom Rally Planned this Weekend in Waterloo:

Protesters have organized what they call a ‘Freedom Rally’ for Saturday in Waterloo.  Regional Chair Karen Redman is advising residents to avoid the rally due to an increased possibility of community spread of COVID19.  She also asked anyone who is against the event to not confront the protesters, and leave the response to the professionals like police and bylaw.

Waterloo Region Shopping Destinations Must Monitor Inside Capacity Starting Tomorrow:

Shopping in Waterloo Region is a little different starting today. The region’s medical officer of health has issued a Section 22 order requiring shopping malls and retail stores to ensure capacity is managed and actively monitored so physical distancing can be maintained. Expect to see outdoor line-ups at stores this weekend.

 Waterloo Region Infections:

  • The 8th COVID19 case this month has been confirmed at the University of Waterloo. No details were released. The person is now self isolating.
  • Grand River Hospital has declared a COVID19 outbreak in its 5S medicine unit.
    Three patients and two staff members have tested positive.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Government of Ontario / CPAC via YouTube screenshot

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan