Again yesterday, Ontario reported less than 200 new COVID19 cases. The number was 190 and again, the bulk of the new infections were in Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex. The number of people in hospital dropped to 383 yesterday, which is the lowest number since the province started reporting that figure in early April. The numbers of people in intensive care and on a ventilator also dropped to their lowest levels since the figures were first reported.
Ban on Commercial Evictions Approved:
The province has passed legislation to temporarily ban commercial evictions. The government says it will protect commercial tenants from being locked out or having their assets seized due to the negative impacts of COVID19. It’s retroactive to May 1st, which is a month earlier than the Progressive Conservatives had previously proposed. The New Democrats have been calling for the measures to be retroactive to mid-March.
Emergency Orders Extended:
The provincial government has extended the emergency orders until the end of June. Premier Ford said the government will continue to look at each of the measures to see if any can be adjusted or dropped as the province tackles the spread of COVID19. Some measures have already been eased as most of the province heads into Stage 2 of the government’s reopening plan. Ontario has been under a state of emergency since March 17th.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Ottawa to do Antibody Tests:
Ottawa is moving to test Canadians to see how many carry antibodies to COVID19, an indication they already had the virus, even if they didn’t know it. Federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand says today the government has finalized a contract to buy tens of thousands of serology tests. Health Canada authorized Abbott’s serology tests on May 21st but negotiations to buy them for use by the immunity task force took several more weeks.
Federal Financial Update:
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says the Liberal government is hoping Canadians will be distracted by summer activities after months of COVID19 self-isolation when they release a “snapshot” of Ottawa’s finances next month. Prime Minister Trudeau is promising to deliver a fiscal update to the House of Commons on July 8th, months after his government was initially scheduled to present a full budget for 2020 in March. That was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID19 pandemic, and Trudeau has said since then that uncertainty from the pandemic makes meaningful forecasts impossible. But Blanchet says the delay shows a lack of respect for Parliament by the Liberals.
Here is Prime Minister Trudeau’s news conference from yesterday:
Sick Kids’ Doctors Want Kids Back in School:
Experts at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children say it’s important for students be able to return to school in September even though COVID19 won’t be eliminated. A team of doctors told a news conference that they’re losing sleep over the mental, behavioural and developmental impacts of children being kept out of class. They released recommendations for the safe return of students that put more emphasis on hand hygiene than wearing masks or physical distancing. Doctor Michelle Science says trying to enforce safe distances among kids is impractical and if they wear masks improperly, it could lead to an increased risk of infection.
Testing Migrant Workers:
Health Minister Christine Elliot says the province is switching to a new “hybrid plan” to test migrant workers in Windsor-Essex for COVID19. Elliott says it could use a testing centre and mobile testing teams moving from farm-to-farm in the region. The local hospital running a temporary assessment centre designed for the migrant workers is closing the facility today, saying it is not an efficient use of resources. The centre has tested 724 workers since it opened on June 9th but Premier Ford has acknowledged that the daily volume of workers using it was too low.
Nearly five months after identifying our first confirmed case of #COVID19 and three months after declaring a state of emergency, there are unmistakable signs that we’re making real progress in our fight against this virus. Let’s keep it up, Ontario! pic.twitter.com/6YpxTecVvz
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) June 17, 2020
TTC Mask Requirement:
It’s official — those riding the Toronto Transit Commission will have to wear face coverings starting on July 2nd. The TTC board voted in favour of mandatory masks yesterday. The commission says exemptions will be made for children under two years of age and for those who have medical considerations or are unable to put on or take off a face covering. But the transit agency says it’s already seen an increase in the number of riders wearing face coverings since it began recommending the practice in mid-May.
While this mandatory face covering requirement doesn't come into effect until July 2, I encourage everyone using the #TTC to make sure they are wearing a face covering now to help protect and respect their fellow riders, while supporting a safe reopening and recovery in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/FSNgAUJkjp
— John Tory (@JohnTory) June 17, 2020
Hamilton police are looking for a man who allegedly went into a computer store, put his hands in his mouth and then rubbed them on two computers. Police say they’re investigating due to the COVID19 pandemic. They say after the man rubbed his hands on the computers, he asked an employee about computers. Officers are asking for the public’s help identifying the man.
Poll on American Response:
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the Trump administration’s response to the COVID19 pandemic is “a cause for celebration,” but a new poll finds more than half of Americans calling it fair or poor. The Gallup and West Health survey out Thursday shows that 57 per cent of American adults rate the national response to COVID19 as fair or poor, particularly because America has the world’s most expensive health care system. The poll found that only 23 per cent rate the national response as excellent or very good, while an additional 20 per cent rate it as good.
Disney Gradual Reopening:
Guests at Disney World won’t be going hungry. After shutting down for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Disney World is in the early steps of reopening. While the Florida park itself won’t open to the public until mid-July, certain resorts and campgrounds will reopen on June 22. Disney World recently announced that it would begin taking dining reservations starting on June 18. Guests who are staying at the Walt Disney World Resort will be able to make reservations between June 22 and July 10, (depending on the date of their stay). According to the website, a valid Disney Resort hotel reservation is required to make a restaurant reservation. Also, only select Disney Springs dining locations will be available for online reservations.
Waterloo Region Numbers:
Even with that new drive-thru testing centre set-up at Grand River Hospital, Waterloo Region Public Health only had 3 new coronavirus cases to report yesterday. There are now 1,221 cases but 1,020 of them are resolved. That means there are only 86 active cases, following 7 more recoveries. Again, no new deaths were reported.
In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, There were 6 new confirmed cases of COVID19 reported yesterday. For the first time in months, Guelph now has majority of the cases. Wellington has 75, Dufferin County has 173 and Guelph has 178 cases.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot