The provincial government says it’s providing more than $1.2-billion dollars in additional funding to support public hospitals during the pandemic. Premier Ford says the funding will help hospitals recover from financial pressures created and worsened by the costs of caring for COVID-19 patients. Nearly $700-million dollars will be allocated to help cover historic working fund deficits for qualifying public hospitals. More than $570-million will partially reimburse hospitals for loss of revenue, such as co-payments for private rooms and the reduction of retail services.
Christine Elliott Volunteers To Take The AstraZeneca Vaccine to Prove It’s Safe:
Health Minister Christine Elliot says she will join her Quebec counterpart in publicly getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Elliott says the aim is to combat unfortunate hesitancy about the life-saving vaccine after reports of rare blood clots among recipients in Europe. Elliott’s pledge came yesterday, as the province prepared to expand a pilot project offering the vaccine to people aged 60 and older in pharmacies in the hot spots of Toronto, York and Peel Region. But Premier Ford cautions the expansion is entirely dependent on unpredictable supply.
Here is yesterday’s provincial update:
1/2: We greatly appreciate the financial supports made available by the govt. as hospitals fight the ongoing war against the pandemic and attempt to maintain access to non-COVID related health services: https://t.co/RXbpEYb9rx
— Ont. Hospital Assoc. (@OntHospitalAssn) March 22, 2021
Restaurants Canada Supports Ontario’s Move to Expand Indoor Dining:
Restaurants Canada says the re-opening of outdoor dining everywhere in Ontario gives restaurateurs a chance to make it through the pandemic. Ontario eased restrictions on restaurants and bars in several regions last week, allowing outdoor dining in areas in the grey or lockdown zones, including Toronto and Peel. Long line-ups and wait times were reported in some locations as the weather on the weekend was warm and sunny. But the lobby group says the impact on restaurants in the Toronto-area, where indoor dining continues to be banned, will largely depend on the spring weather.
Here is yesterday’s Ontario technical update:
COVID Variants Still a Concern for Tam:
Cases of COVID-19 variants are on the rise, with Alberta, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec reporting the highest numbers of the new, more contagious strains. Chief public health officer Doctor Theresa Tam says there have been more than 5,100 confirmed variant cases, the majority involving the strain first identified in the United Kingdom. The growing number is prompting concerns of a third wave of the pandemic, even as vaccination programs ramp up across Canada, Nearly 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are set to arrive this week, alongside 846,000 shots from Moderna.
#COVID19 key concerns in #Canada: #VariantsOfConcern continue to increase across Canada and worldwide, bringing new challenges for COVID-19 control, but advancements in testing, vaccine programs & public health measures are helping. https://t.co/uFggdyDLjZ
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) March 22, 2021
How Safe is AstraZeneca?
American health officials say yesterday’s highly touted results from a US trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have used outdated information. The Data and Safety Monitoring Board says there are concerns that AstraZeneca may have provided an incomplete view of the shot’s efficacy data. The drugmaker yesterday announced its COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection among adults of all ages — a finding that could help rebuild public confidence in the shot around the world and move it a step closer to clearance stateside.
Canada / BC Numbers:
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic a little more than a year ago, 938,719 Canadians have been infected. Health officials say 3,700 new cases were confirmed on Monday, and there are 35,844 active cases. British Columbia’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, says rising case numbers in the province are keeping her up at night, but she stopped short of declaring a third wave. BC has confirmed almost 1,800 new cases over the last three days.
Microsoft Ready to Welcome Some Staff Back to the Office:
Some of the more than 50,000 people who work at Microsoft’s global headquarters in suburban Seattle will be going back to their offices at the end of the month. The tech giant is starting to re-open more facilities that were largely shut down due to the pandemic. Workers will have the choice to return to headquarters, continue working remotely or do a combination of both.
Yesterday Ontario reported it’s second straight day of declines in new daily COVID-19 cases. There were 1,699 new infections reported. Well over 1,000 of those were split between Toronto, Peel, York Region and Hamilton. Hospitalizations increased by 53 patients but there were 7 less in the ICU. There were only 5 new deaths reported.
Ontario is reporting 1,699 cases of #COVID19 and nearly 31,100 tests completed. Locally, there are 500 new cases in Toronto, 318 in Peel 155 in York Region and 114 in Hamilton.
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 1,553,040 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 22, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Region of Waterloo Public Health announced 25 new COVID-19 cases, although only 20 of them were new. Hospitalizations remained fairly stable. There are still 20 people receiving treatment, but two more are in the ICU, for a total of 7. The number of active cases dropped down to 260 which is a decrease of fifteen. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph they reported 54 new cases from the weekend. 7 were in Wellington, 23 were in Dufferin and 22 were in Guelph. There are now 135 active cases, which is 21 more than Friday. Only 4 people are hospitalized, with 2 in intensive care.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot