Ontario’s health minister says the province will unveil a new fall strategy to address COVID19 in the coming days. Christine Elliott says the government has been working on the strategy over the summer in order to prepare for a possible second wave of the virus. She says it factors in the impact of traditional flu season and capacity issues in the province’s long-term care homes and hospitals. Elliott says the possible second wave will be complex and require a different approach than what the government used during the early months of the pandemic.
Ford Concerned About The Spiking Numbers:
Premier Ford says the spike in COVID19 cases in the province is a cause of concern for everyone. Ford says everyone knows a second wave of the virus is coming — the only question is how bad it will be. The premier also says every option is on the table to once again flatten the curve of the pandemic — including further regional shutdowns. He adds it’s important that people follow public health guidelines and cut out the social gatherings.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Across Ontario 313 new infections were reported yesterday, after nearly 30,000 tests were done. 78% of the new cases were from three regions: 112 in Toronto, 71 in Peel and 60 in Ottawa. All other Public Health Units had fewer than 10 new cases, except for York Region, which had 13 cases. One student and one staff member tested positive for COVID19 in the province, bringing the total to 15 school-related cases. Just as alarming as the number of new infections is the trend in age demographics. According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, 67% of yesterday’s cases were in people under the age of 40.
Ontario is reporting 313 cases of #COVID19 as nearly 30,000 tests were completed. 78% of today's cases are from three regions, with 112 in Toronto, 71 in Peel and 60 in Ottawa. All other PHUs have fewer than 10 new cases, except for York with 13 cases. 15 PHUs have no new cases.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) September 14, 2020
The provincial government website is reporting two new cases of COVID19 in schools — one in Mississauga and one in Pembroke. Four school boards are also reporting new cases of COVID19 not posted on the government page. Halton District School Board says on its advisory page that it has two new cases.
Outbreak Declared at Western:
Health authorities in the Middlesex-London region are declaring a community outbreak after five Western University students tested positive for the virus. They say they expect more positive cases in the coming days because of how many close contacts are involved in the investigation. The health unit says the people who tested positive attended bars and restaurants in London’s downtown core. It’s advising anyone who frequented venues in the core of the city to self monitor for symptoms, and to get tested if any surface.
Today Toronto Goes Back-To-School:
Some students are returning to public elementary schools in the Toronto District School Board this morning. Two or three grades will be returning to their building, depending on the kind of school, as part of a staggered, three-day reopening plan for Canada’s largest school board. The gradual reopening is designed to help children get used to the new safety protocols in place to slow the spread of COVID19. Intensive support programs will also begin at all Toronto public schools today, including high schools.
I was joined by Dr. Dirk Huyer, Coordinator of our Provincial Outbreak Response, to connect with school board chairs on our investments & actions to ensure the safe return to school.
As schools get underway across the province, we must redouble our efforts to #FlattenTheCurve.
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) September 14, 2020
Tory asking Toronto To Start Complying:
The mayor of Toronto is imploring Canadians to obey the COVID19 protocols. He’s urging residents to stop the kind of behaviours that are making the city the biggest hotspot in Ontario for COVID19. Of the 313 new cases reported yesterday in Ontario, 112 were in Toronto. Most of the spread of COVID19 is coming from those who hold large gatherings and ignore physical distancing and hand-washing rules.
I continue to meet with my fellow GTHA Mayors and Chairs to coordinate our ongoing response to #COVID19. We are working closely together to lead a strong restart and recovery here in Toronto and across the region. pic.twitter.com/Z6vLFw3CFF
— John Tory (@JohnTory) September 14, 2020
Bloc Caucus In Self Isolation:
The Bloc Quebecois caucus including leader Yves-Francois Blanchet are in self-isolation after a member of his staff tested positive for COVID-19. A statement from the party says the employee received the positive test result yesterday. The news comes as the parties in the House of Commons continue debating amongst themselves how the chamber will work once business resumes next week. The Liberals are proposing a hybrid system, with some M-Ps physically in the chamber and others participating via video conferences.
Federal Liberal Retreat:
The federal Liberals will be kicking-off the second of a two-day cabinet retreat this morning. The get-together’s initial focus was to map out a long-term, economic bounce-back plan, post-COVID19, but a rising number of confirmed cases of the illness has shifted the attention. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says ministers discussed how the pandemic could play out over the next few weeks and months. She says they now have to prepare Canadians for the possibility of a very severe fall surge.
As the world continues to deal with the impacts of this pandemic, keeping you safe and getting you the support you need remains our top priority. That’s what we focused on at our Cabinet retreat today, and that’s what will be on the agenda when we meet again tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/jiUU0gCb4e
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 15, 2020
Politics vs COVID19:
A Winnipeg epidemiologist who advises governments on health policy says the biggest challenge to public health and preparing for events like the ongoing COVID19 pandemic is a four-year election cycle. Cynthia Carr says health policy involves long-term planning strategies while politics looks to make gains over the short term. Carr says while the federal and some provincial governments are weighing fall campaigns, health officials are making long-range plans that include public health, the economy and social well-being.
Manitoba School Infections:
Health officials in Manitoba say COVID19 cases have been connected to five schools a week since students went back to class. But Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, says none of the people impacted had symptoms. He says it shows that the rules are working. Twenty-one new cases of COVID19 were announced yesterday for a total of 1,449.
Possible Furniture Shortage:
Retailers are advising that Canadians should brace for a shortage of office furniture, such as desks and chairs, as people continue to study and work from home. Ikea Canada spokeswoman Kristin Newbigging says the company has seen an increase in demand for office furnishings and other gear needed for work-from-home set-ups. This comes as a looming second wave of COVID19 means many Canadians are not returning to the office or school just yet.
Elderly Man Beaten Over Distancing Dispute:
A 24-year-old Florida man has been arrested for allegedly beating a 70-year-old man who’d asked him to practice social distancing inside a gas station. Police say the younger man wasn’t wearing a mask while the two were waiting to pay, so the senior asked him to back away. Surveillance video shows the suspect following the victim out of the store, punching and kicking him, and then dragging him back out after the older man attempted to go back inside.
The world has seen its largest one-day spike in coronavirus cases with 307,930 new infections reported in 24 hours, according to the World Health Organization. The new record is just the second time that global cases have passed 300,000 in a day, beating the previous high of 306,857 on September 6. India contributed nearly a third of the new cases with 94,372, as the country of 1.3 billion continues to pile up infections at a record pace – with the United States and Brazil both adding tens of thousands of new cases.
Possible Research Breakthrough:
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have isolated “the smallest biological molecule” that “completely and specifically neutralizes” the virus that causes coronavirus. The antibody component is 10 times smaller than a full-sized antibody, and has been used to create the drug Ab8, shared in the report published by the researchers in the journal Cell yesterday. The drug is seen as a potential preventative against SARS-CoV-2. According to the report, the drug has been “highly effective in preventing and treating” the SARS-CoV-2 infections in mice and hamsters during tests. The drug also reportedly does not bind to human cells, which suggests it will not have negative side-effects in people.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Region of Waterloo Public Health confirmed eleven new COVID19 cases in the Region yesterday. The number of active cases is now up to to 68 with zero people currently hospitalized for COVID. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 4 new cases yesterday, along with 2 new recoveries. All of the new infections were in Guelph. The number of active cases in the Region has climbed to 21 with zero people hospitalized.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot