Premier Ford has written to more than 50 public health agencies, hospitals and teachers’ unions seeking input on whether it’s safe to re-open schools. Ford says in the letter that his government understands the benefits of having students return to class for the last month of the academic year. But he says the impact of COVID-19 variants and relatively low rates of vaccinated teachers and students raise serious concerns about reopening schools. Green party Leader Mike Schreiner accused the premier of punting his decision-making responsibility when it matters most.
#BREAKING: Ontario Premier @fordnation has written a letter to medical experts and children’s hospitals asking for their “input on the possible safe return to schools” this year #onpoli pic.twitter.com/mxiksk4xgN
— Laura Stone (@l_stone) May 27, 2021
Trudeau Now Agrees That China Must Be Investigated Over The Origins Of COVID-19:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he supports the call by the United States and others to better understand the origins of COVID-19. US President Joe Biden has ordered his intelligence officials to redouble their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese lab. Trudeau says a full and complete airing of the facts is necessary to actually understand what happened and prevent it from happening again.
When Will Ontarians Get Their Second Shot?
Ontario is due to offer an update on its vaccine rollout today. The update will include more information on when Ontarians can expect to receive their second dose of vaccine. Ontario is currently administering COVID-19 shots four months apart with some exceptions for people with specific health conditions and other groups. The second-dose plan will consider clinical reasons for shortening the interval between doses, supply and allocations across the province.
Many Of Those Second-Dose AstraZeneca Shots Are On Hold:
The Ontario Health Ministry says thousands of AstraZeneca vaccine doses expiring next week have not been sent to pharmacies because they are still undergoing quality checks. Pharmacists set to provide second doses to people who got their first shots in a pilot project in March have expressed frustration over the delay, with 45,000 doses set to expire on Monday. But a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christin Elliot says the quality checks are needed because storage data for some of the doses was incomplete. The province says about 5,000 doses were to be sent out yesterday, another 12,000 were to be cleared today, and others are still under review.
NEW: Via Health Minister @celliottability office about AstraZeneca doses, says they are undergoing a “quality assurance process.” Nearly 4,500 doses completed quality control & being delivered to TO pharmacies, with another 12K doses expected to be delivered today #onpoli pic.twitter.com/hzlGZfmuF4
— Laura Stone (@l_stone) May 27, 2021
Moderna Firms Up Their Delivery Schedule:
Moderna will ship 500,000 doses of its COVID-19 vaccine next week, and another 1.5-million doses the week of June 14th. Procurement Minister Anita Anand announced the confirmed shipments yesterday. She says Moderna is still promising to send millions more doses next month but there is no clarity on how many or when. The Massachusetts-based company has been struggling with its production lines and deliveries this spring have been lagging.
Western Is The First To Say All Students In Residence Must Be Vaccinated:
Western University says it will require students living in residence to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The London-based school is asking students to get their first shot before their arrival, but says they will have 14 days after moving into residence to get their first shot. The university says the measure is contingent on the supply of vaccine, and could change based on provincial rules. It also says that students who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons, or for reasons protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code, can seek an exemption.
As #WesternU prepares for a return to in-person classes this fall, the university will require students in residence to have received at least a first dose of the #COVID19 vaccine, a move endorsed by @MLHealthUnit #takecarewesternu #cdnpse #onpse #ldnont https://t.co/7bBhYCvdEt
— Western University (@WesternU) May 27, 2021
All LTC Common Areas Now Have AC:
Ontario says that common areas in all long-term care homes in the province now have air conditioning, although many resident rooms still do not. Regulations that took effect this spring require air conditioning in common areas on days when temperatures hit 26 degrees Celsius or warmer. Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton says all 626 homes in the province are now in compliance and have air conditioning in designated cooling areas. She says nearly 13 per cent of homes did not have air conditioning at all last year.
PBO Cautions on Stimulus:
The federal parliamentary budget officer says an expected rise in interest rates should temper the amount of economic stimulus from the Trudeau Liberals’ budget. Yves Giroux’s report suggests the federal budget could increase economic growth by an additional 0.6 percentage points this year, compared to his previous estimate. But as the economy recovers, Giroux expects the Bank of Canada will raise its trendsetting interest rate from the rock-bottom level of 0.25 per cent. That would affect rates charged on things like mortgages and business loans, and — in Giroux’s words — “dampen the stimulative impact” from the budget.
Manitoba Extends Restrictions:
Manitoba is extending its COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings and businesses for another two weeks. The province’s overwhelmed health care system is also getting help from the Canadian Armed Forces over next four weeks, after a request from Premier Brian Pallister. Critical care nurses and lab technicians will be deployed to help the hard-hit province, which has seen surging case numbers and hospitalizations.
PEI Is Ready To Welcome Vaccinated Tourists:
Prince Edward Island has become the first province in Atlantic Canada to set a date for ending pandemic-related travel restrictions for the rest of the country. Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief public health officer, says she hopes to allow fully vaccinated Atlantic Canadians in starting June 27th. She says starting August 8th, fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed visit without self-isolating as long as they’ve been pre-approved for travel.
Fan Expo Is Still Happening in Toronto This Year:
An annual convention celebrating pop culture is now set to go ahead in Toronto this fall, but on a smaller scale. Fan Expo Canada plans to hold what it calls a limited edition event, with just 25,000 tickets available. It says the event will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in late October, a couple months later than its regularly scheduled time. Large gatherings are currently banned in Ontario due to COVID-19, and it’s not clear when that ban will be lifted.
There were 1,135 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday and 19 more deaths linked to the virus. 316 of those new cases were in Toronto, 271 were in Peel Region and 75 were in York Region. The Ministry of Health says nearly 144,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Wednesday’s report, for a total of more than 8.5 million doses. Hospital metrics improved once again. There was 1 less in hospital, 22 less in the ICU, and 17 less on a ventilator. 2,302 more cases were marked as resolved.
Ontario is reporting 1,135 cases of #COVID19 and over 37,700 tests completed. Locally, there are 316 new cases in Toronto, 271 in Peel and 75 in York Region.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) May 27, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
There were 55 new COVID-19 cases declared yesterday by Waterloo Region Public Health but no new deaths. Hospitalizations remain at 28 patients. The number of active cases increased by six to 387.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health declared 17 new cases yesterday. 5 were in Wellington and 12 were in Guelph. Dufferin declared 0 new cases for the second time this week. Active cases dropped by four to 217. There were no new deaths. There are 20 people hospitalized with 8 in the ICU.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot