Now Doug Says Those Graduation Ceremonies Are Optional – Full COVID-19 Update

Now Doug Says Those Graduation Ceremonies Are Optional – Full COVID-19 Update

Ontario’s school principals say the premier’s plan for outdoor graduation ceremonies for all classes is “impractical and unrealistic” so late in the school year. The Ontario Principals Council says schools have been planning virtual ceremonies for weeks or months, and don’t have time to pivot to an outdoor in-person gathering. The council says schools don’t have the budget to cancel existing plans and come up with new ones. Premier Doug Ford wants schools to hold outdoor grad ceremonies for all grades — not just grades 8 and 12 – because he has cancelled in-person classes until September. The Ontario government now says outdoor graduation ceremonies are a suggestion for school boards, not a requirement. Ford had initially said he would — quote – “make sure” all students in all grades got outdoor grad ceremonies. Liberal house leader John Fraser says it’s a little embarrassing that Ford didn’t talk to the stakeholders before making the announcement.

Queen’s Park is Now on Summer Break:

The Ontario legislature is now on break for the summer. Politicians are back in their ridings until September, and the government house leader says he hopes they’ll come back to a more normal legislative session. Paul Calandra says he’s optimistic MPPs will all be able to come back and the public galleries will be open. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Queen’s Park has remained closed to anyone but politicians, staff and media, and only a limited cohort of politicians have been allowed to attend at any one time.

Restrictions Loosen for LTC Homes:

The provincial government is relaxing restrictions for long-term care residents who have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Starting next Wednesday, those residents will be allowed to go on day-long and overnight outings and will also be allowed close physical contact such as holding hands with other fully immunized residents and visitors. Residents with mobility limitations or other health conditions that make outdoor visits impossible will also be allowed to have one visitor indoors as well as an essential caregiver. Families and advocates have been calling for restrictions to be eased in long-term care homes since most residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

A Few Hospital Emergency Measures Are Easing Up:

Ontario is rolling back some emergency hospital measures in light of improving pandemic trends. Ontario Health says hospitals can resume surgeries requiring in-patient and critical care resources if they have a plan to deal with COVID-19 surges and potential transfers. The government is also revoking orders allowing patients to be transferred to long-term care without consent, and is allowing home care and other workers to be redeployed to the homes. Patients can still be transferred between hospitals without their consent due to high COVID-19 intensive care admissions.

Here is an update from the Provincial government’s medical advisors:

Province May Speed Up The Second Dose for More Groups:

Health Minister Christine Elliott says Ontario’s vaccine task force is considering allowing people to book second COVID-19 vaccine shots sooner to stay ahead of a new variant gaining ground in the province. Health officials reiterated concern yesterday about the growing prevalence of the Delta variant first detected in India, which now makes up nearly a quarter of COVID-19 cases in Ontario. The province shortened the four-month interval between vaccine doses starting this week for people aged 80 and older and Elliott says it’s examining the potential to expand that to all age groups. She says the government is also still assessing whether it would be possible to move up the first phase of the province’s re-opening plan from the scheduled June 14th date.

New Vaccine Options For AstraZeneca Recipients:

Starting today, people who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will have three options for their second. AstraZeneca recipients can have the same vaccine or receive a dose of Pfizer or Moderna. Second doses will be provided at the recommended 12-week interval. Ontario’s top doctor says it’s critical people who received AstraZeneca get a second dose of a vaccine.

Nova Scotia Numbers:

Health officials in Nova Scotia say 25 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday — as well as the youngest death related to the virus. The province’s premier says the death of a man in his 30s in the Halifax area is another reminder of just how lethal the virus can be. Iain Rankin is urging caution as the province continues to slowly reopen from restrictions and is appealing to people to get tested and to get vaccinations.

America is Ready To Share Their Vaccines Again:

The White House says the US will swiftly share millions more doses of COVID-19 vaccines with the world. The US will be directing most of the excess doses through the lagging UN-backed international COVAX program. This promises many more infusions for South and Central America, Asia, Africa and others at a time of glaring shortages abroad. Canada could get some vaccines too, but it is unclear when and how much.

Canada Numbers:

Canada has 27,790 active cases of COVID-19. Health officials across the country yesterday announced 2,172 new infections, as well as another 32 fatalities linked to the virus. Meanwhile, the effort to get as many Canadians vaccinated as possible continues, with more than 410,000 shots in arms recorded yesterday. That brought the overall total of vaccine doses administered to 24,924,312. About 6.3 per cent of the population has now been fully vaccinated.

Ontario Numbers:

There were 870 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 225 of those new cases were in Toronto, 167 in Peel Region and 49 were in the Porcupine Health Unit region. The Ministry of Health claims 729 people are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, with 546 in intensive care and 370 on a ventilator. Ontario says more than 150,000 vaccine doses were administered in the 24-hour period for a total of more than 9.4 million doses administered.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Public Health of Waterloo Region confirmed 44 new COVID-19 cases yesterday but no new deaths. Hospitalizations climbed by one to 18 patients total. The number of active cases sits at 312.

In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health says there were 29 new cases yesterday. Active cases went up by six to 151. There are still just 14 people hospitalized.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube

After 9 Podcast - 91.5 The Beat