The Stay At Home Order Kicks In At Midnight:
Premier Ford has announced a new stay-at-home order and declared another state of emergency to try to curb soaring COVID-19 infection rates. Ford says residents will be required to remain home starting at midnight, except for essential activities such as grocery shopping or medical appointments. Non-essential stores will also be required to close between 8pm and 7am and some construction projects must shut down. Workplaces are being asked to let employees work from home wherever possible. The return of students to school in the COVID-19 hotspots of Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex has also been pushed back from January 25th to February 10th. Ford calls the actions difficult but says they are necessary because the health-care system is on the brink of collapse.
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Here is the announcement:
Union Claims New Restrictions Don’t Go Far Enough:
The Ontario Federation of Labour says Ontario’s new public health measures don’t go far enough to stop the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces. The federation says it is shocked that the slate of emergency measures announced yesterday didn’t include paid sick days for workers. Federation president Patty Coates says the policy would save lives. Mayors in the Greater Toronto Area have called for a paid sick leave policy for months, saying people are going to work while sick because they are afraid of losing income.
Dire New Predictions from Ontario’s Latest Modeling Data:
New COVID-19 projections show Ontario could see more than 20,000 new cases per day by the middle of next month. That’s if the COVID-19 positivity rate is at five per cent — but if it grows to seven per cent — daily case numbers will hit 40,000. The projections also indicate deaths from COVID-19 could double to 100 a day by the end of February unless there is a significant reduction in contacts between residents. The data also shows a quarter of the province’s hospitals now have no intensive care unit beds free and another quarter have only one or two beds free. A survey showed that one third of Ontario residents are not following public health guidelines.
Feds Order More Vaccines:
The federal government has secured an extra 20-million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. And the prime minister says he’s still confident the government will meet its goal of providing shots to everyone who wants them by September. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says her department is also working to speed that up. Chief public health officer Doctor Theresa Tam says Canada is now reporting an average of more than 8,100 new COVID-19 infections per day.
Here is yesterday’s federal update:
Yesterday the Ministry of Health reported 2,903 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, including eight new cases of a variant from the United Kingdom. There were also 41 more deaths linked to the coronavirus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 837 new cases in Toronto and 545 in Peel Region. There were also 138 new hospitalizations. Fortunately, active cases did not grow yesterday as 3,353 more cases were marked as resolved. 6,046 Ontario residents have now received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Ontario is reporting 2,903 cases of #COVID19, including eight new cases of the UK variant. Locally, there are 837 new cases in Toronto, 545 in Peel, 249 in York Region and 246 in Niagara. Over 44,800 tests were completed yesterday.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) January 12, 2021
Canada’s COVID-19 case count continues its climb, with officials saying they have confirmed a total of 674,473 infections since the pandemic began. Just yesterday, 6,294 new cases were added to the tally, translating to a rate of 214.94 active cases per 100,000 people. As for fatalities, 149 new deaths were reported yesterday, increasing the overall death toll to 17,233.
1/2 #COVID19 key concerns in 🇨🇦: Nationally, we are on an ever-worsening trajectory, with 7-day rolling averages now exceeding 8,100 new cases and 145 deaths daily, with still rising numbers of people in hospitals/ICU. https://t.co/gAtZC1p7e7
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) January 12, 2021
Two Ontario Nurses Spoke at an Anti-Lockdown Protest in Washington:
The governing body of Ontario nurses is investigating two nurses who spoke at an anti-lockdown rally in Washington last week just before the Capitol was stormed. The College of Nurses of Ontario confirms the investigation against Sarah Choujounian of Toronto and Kristen Nagle of London but says it can’t provide details on its status. Nagle is also facing an investigation by her hospital in London, which suspended her from working in the neonatal intensive care unit in November for attending an anti-mask rally. Choujounian — who spent most of her career at a north Toronto nursing home until last year — has publicly decried COVID-19 vaccines as experimental and unsafe.
Anti-Mask Rally Organizers Charged:
Two organizers of anti-mask rallies in Hamilton have been charged with holding events that police say violated public health rules. Police say 40 people attended the Hugs Over Masks rally on January 3rd and they had warned organizers they would face charges if the second protest was held. But they say the event went ahead anyway and attracted about 60 people in violation of public health orders limiting outdoor gatherings to 10 people. A 27-year-old man and 38-year-old woman are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act that carry a minimum fine of $10,000 dollars if convicted.
Gathering Charges Laid in Welland:
Police say eight people in Welland were charged for a gathering that allegedly violated public health orders. The Niagara Regional Police Service says officers found multiple people at a home on Tuesday after a call for service. They say eight individuals were each charged 880 dollars under the Reopening Ontario Act. Provincial restrictions do not allow for indoor gatherings between people who live in different homes, with exceptions for those who live alone.
— NRPS (@NiagRegPolice) January 12, 2021
Oakville Mayor Steps Down from Police Services Board:
The mayor of Oakville has resigned as chairman of the Halton Region Police Services Board. Rob Burton stepped down after it became publicly known that he approved the Police Chief’s out-of-country travel during the pandemic. Chief Steve Tanner travelled to Florida last month on a personal business matter.
Almost 5,000 Americans Died from COVID-19 Yesterday:
The U.S. has set a grim new record for daily COVID deaths. A staggering 4,470 Americans succumbed to the virus in the 24 hours to yesterday evening, according to new data obtained by Johns Hopkins University. The total number of US citizens who have died from COVID-19 has now surpassed 380,000 – more than the past 10 flu seasons combined and a fifth of the world’s almost two million dead, despite accounting for just four percent of the global population.
When In-Person Events Will Begin Again:
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci says the reopening of live theater and music venues “will occur sometime in late fall of 2021” — if the COVID-19 vaccine rollout can get rolling. Fauci made the announcement during a virtual panel discussion held Saturday by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. He said, “Early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing onstage as well as people in the audience.”
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health says the Region of Waterloo had another 154 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, but no new deaths. That means the death toll remains at 179 but the number of hospitalized patients grew. There are now 1,064 active cases in the Region with 28 people in hospital; 14 of which are in intensive care. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph announced 35 new cases yesterday. 29 new cases were announced in Guelph alone. There are still 452 active cases with 5 people hospitalized.
Ontario has declared a state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order. Under this order, everyone must stay home and only go out for essential trips, e.g. to get food, go to work, exercise outdoors or go to medical appointments. For more info visit: https://t.co/aa6YXd6Fsd pic.twitter.com/66FM73om6v
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) January 12, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot