Ontario Introduces Pandemic Sick Days – Full COVID-19 Update

Ontario Introduces Pandemic Sick Days – Full COVID-19 Update

Ontario has announced a program to provide workers with three paid sick days. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the measure will help workers take time off to self-isolate, monitor symptoms, get tested or get a vaccine. The program will be administered by the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and will last until the end of September. McNaughton says the province will reimburse employers up to $200-dollars a day for what they pay out through the program. The measure comes after months of intense pressure from health experts, worker advocates and politicians for paid sick leave to halt COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. McNaughton also indicated that he is working with the federal government to try to enhance their existing sick leave program.

Here is yesterday’s update:

Over 2,000 COVID Cases Arrived in Canada By Plane Earlier This Month:

Between February 22nd and April 11th, 2,018 people returning to Canada tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival. More than a quarter of that number were infected with a variant of concern. Almost all of those cases involved the variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

New Emergency Order Allows Some Patients to be Transferred Without Consent:

The Ontario Hospital Association is welcoming a provincial order allowing patients waiting for a long-term care space to be transferred to any nursing home without their consent. Health Minister Christine Elliot says the temporary order is needed to help free up space in hospitals that are dealing with an onslaught of COVID-19 patients. Association CEO Anthony Dale says the measure will allow hospitals to safely increase the number of patients being discharged to a more appropriate care setting. But NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the new order will railroad people into facilities they don’t want to live in. She has not offered an alternative.

Moderna Slowly Ramping Up Production:

Moderna says it is beefing up global manufacturing of its COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to produce up to three-billion doses in 2022. The drug maker predicts supplying between 800-million and one-billion doses this year. But it’s looking ahead as much of the world still will need vaccinations next year and it’s trying to be ready to supply a booster shot. Moderna’s two-dose vaccine is authorized for use by adults in Canada, the US, the European Union and elsewhere.

Only a Small Portion of Canada’s J&J Vaccines Arrived Yesterday:

The first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Canada yesterday, with the 300,000 doses being distributed to provinces next week. A federal official tells The Canadian Press that in order to protect the new vaccine supply chain, the origin of the shots is not being disclosed. J&J has struggled with production problems and has been able to deliver very few doses.

Reminder About Vaccine Efficacy:

Even as COVID-19 vaccines continue to reach more Canadians, experts are warning not to expect a return to normal any time soon. The vaccines have shown exceptional effectiveness after one dose, but it’s not known whether those who have been vaccinated can still spread the virus. Public health authorities are urging people to continue following safety measures until more of the population is fully vaccinated.

New Auditor General Report Into Long Term Care Homes:

Long-term Care Minister Merilee Fullerton is blaming the previous Liberal government for a deadly legacy of inaction highlighted in a special auditor’s report yesterday. The report by Bonnie Lysyk takes aim at overcrowding and understaffing in nursing homes that left them woefully unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic last spring. Lysyk says both the provincial government and nursing-home sector had failed to heed lessons learned from the SARS epidemic. Fullerton says her government didn’t start the fire last spring but the opposition parties say it poured gasoline on it by making dangerous choices during the pandemic. COVID-19 has killed at least 3,756 long-term care residents and 11 staff.

Insolvencies in Ontario Actually Dropped Last Year:

Insolvencies in Ontario dropped by 24 per cent last year despite the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the province’s fiscal watchdog. The Financial Accountability Office says the decline is unusual for a recessionary period and is due to a combination of factors. The FAO says high levels of government aid, low interest rates and lender payment deferrals all helped keep businesses and households from declaring bankruptcy. The report notes that insolvencies did jump in a number of sectors including educational services; information, culture and recreation; and real estate.

Canada Post Dealing with a New Outbreak:

Canada Post says about 80 employees and contractors at a facility in Mississauga have been ordered home due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The agency says Peel Public Health has directed the afternoon shift at the Toronto Exchange Office to self-isolate for 10 days. Public health authorities say the closure was necessary after 12 people at the facility tested positive for the coronavirus in a 7-day period.

Mayor Brown Not Happy Over a Party That Was Held in Brampton on Monday:

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown says there is no excuse for people holding indoor social events when a provincial stay-at-home order is in effect. Brown made the comment at a news conference after 14 people were charged for allegedly gathering at a party on Monday. City officials say the tenants of the home were among those fined $880-dollars each for violating the Reopening Ontario Act. Brampton’s director of bylaw enforcement says indoor events are not prevalent but they are being reported across the city.

Alberta Teenager Dead After Suspected Case of COVID-19 Variants:

A grieving father is calling on Albertans to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, saying he’s convinced his 17-year-old daughter died of COVID-19. Ron Strate says his daughter Sarah was healthy and active when her health deteriorated Monday. She died soon after arriving at the hospital. He says Alberta Health Services is looking into whether she died due to a variant of the virus.

BC Man Sentenced for Throwing a Party During COVID:

A BC provincial court judge compared a man’s actions breaking COVID-19 rules to selling the powerful opioid fentanyl on the street as she sentenced him. Mohammad Movassaghi was handed one day in jail, a $5,000 fine, community service, and 18 months’ probation. He previously pleaded guilty to disobeying a court order, failing to comply with a health officer’s order and unlawfully purchasing grain alcohol. Vancouver police used a search warrant in January to enter a home-turned-nightclub and issued over $17,000 dollars in fines against Movassaghi and his guests. Judge Ellen Gordon described the event as a crime, not a party attended by people foolish enough to put their health and their grandmothers’ health at risk.

Café TO Will Be Back:

The City of Toronto is plowing ahead with expanding sidewalks to account for patios, even before the end of Ontario’s stay-at-home order. Mayor John Tory says the patio installation is estimated to take three weeks, so construction will begin on May 8th, as planned. The stay at home order isn’t scheduled to lift until at least May 19th, and even then, there’s no guarantee that the province will allow patios to open. But Tory says it’s important to make sure that restaurants have the infrastructure in place to serve customers as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Combating Vaccine Hesitancy:

A new multilingual campaign hopes to dispel myths and answer questions about COVID-19 vaccines. Doctors across Canada have joined forces in the This is Our Shot initiative to encourage those most at risk of COVID-19 infection to get vaccinated. Celebrities including actor Ryan Reynolds, Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, singer Michael Buble and Dragon’s Den star Arlene Dickinson are lending their voices to the campaign.

Canadian Numbers:

There were over 7,700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases countrywide Wednesday, bringing Canada’s total reported case count since the pandemic began to just over 1.2-million. There were 54 new reported deaths Wednesday for a national death toll of 24,117. The hot spots were Ontario with nearly 3,500 new infections, and Alberta reported over 1,800. And after a few days under the one-thousand mark, Quebec jumped back above it with nearly 1,100 new cases. All four Atlantic provinces reported new infections, with Nova Scotia logging the most at 75 new cases as it began a two-week, provincewide shutdown.

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday the Province reported 3,480 new cases. That is the lowest total in two weeks. 24 new deaths were reported in the daily summary, which also announced lower hospital numbers. There were 55 less people in Ontario hospitals but 2 more in the ICU. 4,517 more cases were marked as resolved. 50,200 tests were completed.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region reached another COVIOD-19 milestone by crossing the 14,000 cases mark. 70 new infections were reported by Public Health, along with another new death. Only 7 of yesterday’s new cases were confirmed as variants of concern. There are now 583 cases, which is a drop of fifty-eight. Hospitalizations increased by one to 71.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph’s Public Health unit announced 39 new cases yesterday. There are now just 491 active cases, thanks to a decrease of thirty-seven. There are now 32 people hospitalized with 8 in intensive care. That is an increase of five.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot


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