Now Pennsylvania Has Told The Blue Jays No – Full COVID19 Update

The Toronto Blue Jays are still without a home this season after the state of Pennsylvania denied their bid to play at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Pennsylvania Department of Health made the announcement yesterday. State Secretary of Health Doctor Rachel Levine said southern Pennsylvania has seen a recent increase in COVID19 cases and taking on extra travellers increases the risk of infection for both residents and players. Earlier, two other officials said an agreement to share the stadium with the Pirates was pending state approval. Canada denied the Blue Jays’ request to play in Toronto because the regular-season schedule would require frequent travel back and forth from the United States, where COVID19 cases are surging.

Ontario Numbers:

Province wide, Ontario reported 165 new cases of COVID19, as well as two new deaths. Health Minister Christine Elliott said just over half of yesterday’s cases came from people under the age of 40, similar to the proportion in Tuesday’s numbers. There were 207 resolved cases reported. The total number of cases now stands at 38,107 which includes $2,755 deaths and 33,812 resolved cases.

For Profit vs Public Long Term Care:

A new study of COVID19 outbreaks at Ontario long-term care homes suggests for-profit chain ownership could be a key factor among the worst-hit facilities. The study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found for-profit homes had worse outbreaks and more related deaths than their not-for-profit counterparts. It looked at 623 long-term care homes where 5,200 residents contracted the coronavirus and 1,450 died from March 29th to May 20th. A journal commentary on the paper says it might be time to turn the long term care system over to public and non-profit entities.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

Ontario Cremations:

Figures released by Ontario’s chief coroner show there were about 3,000 more cremations than normal in March and April as COVID19 hit the province. But Doctor Dirk Huyer says there is not enough information to clearly answer questions about the pandemic’s death toll. Huyer says about half of the cremations were for confirmed coronavirus deaths but there could be several reasons for the increase in other cremations. He says some coronavirus deaths may have been attributed to other causes, or more people with serious medical issues may have died because they were reluctant to go to hospital. Huyer says it’s also unclear whether COVID19 funeral restrictions could have led to more cremations.

Toronto Masks:

John Tory says he’s prepared to extend Toronto’s mandatory masking order to shared spaces inside apartment and condominium buildings if management companies refuse to do it voluntarily. Current mandatory masking bylaws in cities such as Toronto apply only to indoor public spaces such as grocery stores, commercial businesses and public transit. Multi-unit dwellings are exempt. But Tory says that if the buildings don’t start implementing their own policies, he won’t hesitate to introduce a bylaw.

Organized Labour Wants Changes to Bill 195:

The Ontario Federation of Labour is joining other organizations in criticizing the provincial government’s extension of its emergency powers. The OLF says Bill 195, which was passed into law Tuesday night by the government, is “anti-democratic.” Other critics of the law include the front-line health care workers branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Both the labour federation and CUPE are planning legal challenges to the law.

Cineplex Wants Changes:

Cineplex is urging the Ontario government to increase the limit of 50 people allowed inside movie theatres at one time. The province’s Stage 3 reopening guidelines introduced last week put the limit on an entire building, regardless of how many auditoriums there are inside. Cineplex says it could not make a profit under that cap and has been in talks with the province to try to raise the limit to 50 moviegoers per auditorium. The theatre chain has reopened 36 locations in provinces where distancing measures are less restrictive but its Ontario theatres remain closed.

Nova Scotia Back-to-School:

Nova Scotia is sharing its long-awaited back-to-school plan, which targets September 8th as the starting date. Education Minister Zach Churchill says they aim to have schools back to 100 per cent capacity by the fall. Only students and staff will be allowed in schools, while classrooms will be reorganized to increase the spacing between desks. Students will also be encouraged to limit contact with peers outside their own classroom.

World / American Numbers:

As of yesterday, there were 14,982,950 cases of coronavirus (617,415 deaths) globally.  In the U.S., total cases reached 3,903,684 (142,095 deaths).

American Vaccine: 

The U.S. government has placed an initial order for 100 million doses of a vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and a German firm, BioNTech, for $1.95 billion, the companies announced yesterday.  The U.S. can acquire up to 500 million additional doses, the statement said.

Here is President Trump’s news conference:

Lowe’s Masks: 

Lowe’s won’t require employees to enforce its new mask requirement of all customers entering its stores out of safety concerns for the staff.   The decision comes after the national home improvement chain began imposing a facial covering requirement of all customers entering its stores this week.  Lowe’s is joined by rival Home Depot and other retailers, including Walmart and Costco, which have asked customers to wear face masks to help contain the spread of COVID19.  However, customers have refused to meet the requirement in some stores, setting off heated debates with other patrons and sometimes violent confrontations with staff.  Lowe’s, while requiring all customers to wear masks as of Monday, said it wasn’t taking any chances that its employees might get hurt enforcing the rule.

NFL to Require Masks in Stands:

If NFL games with fans happen at all this season—which is still very much an open question—all fans will have to wear masks, the league confirmed yesterday.  “Yes, it is league-wide,” tweeted NFL exec Brian McCarthy. He says that while the league will require face coverings inside stadiums whether there is a local mandate or not, other decisions on stadiums will be up to local authorities. “Decisions on the number of fans at stadiums will be determined on a market-by-market basis with guidance from public health experts and in accordance with local and state guidelines,” McCarthy tells NBC.

New Mask Created: 

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have designed a reusable face mask that can be sterilized and worn over and over, while providing as much protection as an N95 mask. In fact, their new mask, made of silicon and rubber, incorporates N95 filters, but is made out of slick materials that are highly impermeable but is far easier and faster to sterilize. And it’s cheap. Once it’s ready to be shipped, the protective gear, dubbed the iMASC, will likely only cost about $15, according to Fast Company.

White House Infection:

The White House is conducting contact tracing after a cafeteria worker tested positive for coronavirus, three Trump administration officials tell NBC News.  The cafeteria in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, or EEOB, was closed this week after the case was discovered.  It was unclear how long the facility will remain closed, although some staffers were told it could remain shuttered for two weeks.  Part of the White House complex, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building sits just across West Executive Ave. from the West Wing. It houses the offices of much of the senior White House staff, including officials from the coronavirus task force, the vice president’s office, the National Security Council and several economic policy shops.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health announced 2 more COVID19 cases and 2 more resolved cases. The number of active cases in the Region still sits at 53. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph had 1 new case and no additional resolved cases so there are now 22 active cases at the moment.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Toronto Blue Jays via Twitter



Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan