Ontario And Quebec Tag-Team The Feds For More Healthcare Funding – Full COVID19 Update

The premiers of Ontario and Quebec are calling on the federal government to commit to a significant increase in health-care transfers to the provinces. Premier Ford and Quebec’s Francois Legault say the increase is needed because the pandemic has amplified existing pressures on provincial health-care systems. They made the commitment following a two-day summit in Mississauga. They also agreed to work together to ensure Ottawa has a clear plan on the safe reopening of the Canada-US border before any restrictions are relaxed.

Here is yesterday’s news conference from the Ontario and Quebec government’s:

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday Ontario reported 149 new cases of COVID19, along with 136 resolved cases. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 50 of the new cases were in Toronto, 41 were in Peel and 16 were in Ottawa. That’s right …. 107 of the 149 cases in the same 3 cities that have been leading the increase in cases lately. 28 of the province’s 34 public health units had five or fewer new cases. Just over 17,600 tests were done for that 24-hour period.

Quebec Numbers:

Another 180 cases of COVID19 and three additional deaths were reported yesterday in Quebec. Health officials also withdrew two other deaths from the provincial total after investigations determined they weren’t caused by COVID19. Canada has 134,076 cases of the virus, with the death toll currently at 9,154.

Ontario Vows to Make Public Any Cases in Schools:

Premier Ford has pledged that his government will publicly report all cases of COVID19 in the province’s schools. Ford says he believes parents should know where school outbreaks are occurring but it will take time for the province to start reporting the data. Under current provincial guidelines, schools are required to report COVID19 cases to parents online or with a letter home. The New Democrats have urged the Ford government to follow the lead of Quebec and Alberta and post online lists of all schools with COVID19 cases.

Oakville Principal Tests Positive:

The principal of an Oakville elementary school says a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 but no students were exposed. Gail McDonald says officials were informed of the positive test on Monday before the school officially reopened yesterday. McDonald says the school underwent enhanced cleaning and staff who had close contact with the individual have been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days. Some students in Ottawa returned to class earlier this month and COVID-19 cases have also been reported at four French-language Catholic elementary schools and one high school.

Several School Bus Routes Cancelled:

Twelve school bus routes have been cancelled in the Grey-Bruce region as students return to school this week. The consortium that provides transportation for the Catholic and public districts says COVID19 has worsened the bus driver shortage that has been an issue in the industry for years. Cancellations in the district are posted online the night before the school day. The news follows calls for more health and safety guidance for bus drivers from Unifor Local 4268, the union representing drivers.

Immigrants, Refugees and Other Newcomers Made up Almost Half of COVID Cases earlier This Year:

A new report says immigrants, refugees and other newcomers made up nearly 44 per cent of Ontario’s COVID19 cases in the first half of the year. It says that’s even though testing rates were lower for those groups. The report is based on data collected between January 15th and June 13th. The study was conducted by the non-profit research institute ICES.

COVID Disproportionately Affecting Lower Income Canadians:

Updated figures from Statistics Canada show those living well below the low-income threshold had fallen further behind even before the COVID19 pandemic. The agency says its recalculated figures suggest fewer people in Canada are living on low incomes, but those still in poverty have not seen their situations improve. Statistics Canada says the average “poverty gap” grew from 31.8 per cent in 2015 to 33.4 per cent in 2018. However during the same period, the percentage of people living the farthest under the poverty line — defined as earning 75 per cent below the marker — declined from 7.4 per cent to 5.4 per cent.

Report Coming Today on the Financial Response to COVID:

Ontario’s fiscal watchdog is set to report today on provincial and federal COVID19 response measures. The Financial Accountability Office will release a summary of the measures implemented by the federal and provincial government during the pandemic. The report was requested by the Ontario legislature’s all-party standing committee on finance and economic affairs. Both levels of government have dedicated billions of dollars to programs aimed at responding to the pandemic since March.

Trudeau Wants More Loans For Black Businesses:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the COVID19 pandemic has put a spotlight on inequality in Canada, with Black Canadians disproportionately affected by the crisis. The federal government is creating a new national program to help Black Canadians get business loans with national banks. It will include $53-million-dollars for Black business organization to help entrepreneurs access funding, mentorship, financial planning and business training. Another $6.5-million dollars will go to collect data on the state of Black entrepreneurship and identify barriers preventing Black Canadians from succeeding in business.

Vaccine May Not Be Ready Next Month:

US President Donald Trump may insist a COVID19 vaccine will be ready before Americans go to the polls on November 3rd, but the White House adviser on the coronavirus begs to differ. Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s sticking with his projection that it probably won’t happen before early next year. He concedes it’s possible but unlikely that a safe and effective option could be available sooner. Fauci adds people should remain vigilant about wearing masks, keeping physical distance and avoiding crowds to help prevent future surges in cases.

Interest Rates:

The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is staying put at 0.25 per cent, where it has been since the COVID19 pandemic plunged the economy into crisis in March. The central bank says inflation is close to zero, and is expected to remain well below the bank’s target of two per cent in the near term.

BC First Nation Infections:

A state of emergency has been issued by a BC First Nation because four members have tested positive for COVID19, and several others are showing symptoms. The Tla’amin Nation has ordered residents to shelter in place until Friday afternoon to slow the spread of the virus and allow health officials to complete contact tracing. Access to the First Nation, about 170 kilometres northwest of Vancouver, has also been restricted to a single entry point and parents are being urged to keep children out of school this week.

Possible Re-Infection in Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia is investigating a possible case of COVID19 re-infection. Officials say the case involves a home care nurse in the central health region who was previously infected with the virus in May and had recovered. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang says so far, test results have been inconclusive. He says the provincial lab is working with its national counterpart to determine whether or not this is a true case of re-infection.

Here is yesterday’s Nova Scotia news conference:

 

L.A. is Basically Cancelling Halloween:

Los Angeles County is outlawing trick-or-treating for 2020, amid fears that the Halloween custom could inadvertently spread COVID19.   Public health officials announced the ban Tuesday, also declaring that outdoor parties and carnivals scheduled for October 31 will also be prohibited.

J.C. Penny Cuts Deal After COVID Losses:

J.C. Penney has reached a tentative deal to sell its business and stores to a group of mall owners and lenders in a move that would save the department store chain from liquidation.  The retailer disclosed yesterday during a bankruptcy hearing that it had struck the deal with Simon Property Group, Brookfield Property Partners and a group of bankruptcy lenders.  The deal is expected to save more than 600 stores and 70,000 jobs. The company has separately announced plans to liquidate 242 locations.  J.C. Penney filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May after temporary store closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s troubles.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Waterloo Region is now back up to 34 active COVID19 cases in the region. Public Health reported five new cases yesterday. There are still zero people hospitalized. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph there were 2 new cases added yesterday. There are still 15 active cases currently and still zero people hospitalized in the Region.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

 

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan