Small Businesses Desperately Need Help From The Government – Full COVID-19 Update

Small Businesses Desperately Need Help From The Government – Full COVID-19 Update

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the province needs to do more to help small businesses survive the latest stay at home order. It’s calling on the province to allow appointment-based sales and service limited to one customer at a time during the month-long lockdown. Under the new rules, only stores that sell goods such as groceries, cleaning supplies and pharmacy products can remain open — and sales are limited to essential items. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says about 100 inspectors will be deployed in Peel and Halton Regions this weekend to ensure big box stores, warehouses and manufacturers are following the rules.

Ontario Hospitals Asked To Ration A COVID-19 Drug:

Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory task force is calling on doctors to ration use of a drug used to treat COVID-19 patients. The group published revised clinical guidelines this week for tocilizumab due to a shortage of the drug. It says the recommendation to provide a fixed dose of 400 milligrams per patient and no second dose is unlikely to impact treatment but will ensure wider access to the drug. The update came as Ontario hospitals grapple with a record number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units.

Lecce Committed to Returning to Class After the April Break:

The province is expanding access to asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students and school staff ahead of the return to class after the April break. Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government is committed to ensuring a safe return to classrooms on April 19th. Students were previously only able to get asymptomatic testing if they were a close contact of a confirmed case, or part of the government’s surveillance testing regime. Schools are allowed to remain open under the four-week tighter lockdown — but Toronto and Peel region have banned in-class instruction until after the April break.

Peel Updates Plans for Age Based Vaccinating:

Peel Region’s medical officer of health has announced plans to speed up age-based COVID-19 vaccinations to help eventually exit the pandemic. Dr. Lawrence Loh says the region will start vaccinating those aged 50 and up as of Monday. He says the eligibility age will then be lowered every week, in five year increments. Loh says the COVID-19 hotspot is at a critical juncture due to the increase in variants of concern — but he says he hopes stepped up vaccination efforts will ultimately prevent a fourth wave.

Today is a Sad Anniversary:

Today marks a sombre anniversary across the province. This is the anniversary of the first COVID-19 related death involving a health care worker in Ontario. Since then, a total of 16 front-line workers have died; including nurses, doctors, aides, and personal support and environmental services workers. Hospitals will lower their flags to half staff to honour the lives lost.

The CMA Calling for More Consistency:

The Canadian Medical Association says governments constantly changing rules to help curb the spread of COVID-19 are confusing and frustrating Canadians. The CMA points to Ontario as it brings back stay-at-home orders. Ontario has declared its third state of emergency since the start of the pandemic as the COVID-19 count exceeds 3,000 cases a day.

Border Restrictions Could Ease Up:

Canada could soon be loosening some travel restrictions at the US border for certain essential workers. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau addressed a House of Commons special committee about the move, saying the flow of goods across the shared border has slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. Still, millions of dollars in goods and services continue to cross the border every day, and roughly three-quarters of Canada’s exports go to the United States.

Feds Asking Everyone to Follow Public Health Advice:

Canada’s deputy chief public health officer says the country is in a tight race between getting out vaccines and stopping the spread of COVID-19 variants of concern. But Dr. Howard Njoo says vaccinations are just one part of the response and people need to keep taking precautions even if they are vaccinated. More than seven million vaccine doses have now been administered in Canada, and the amount arriving in the country is expected to significantly increase each month. By the end of June Canada is expected to have over 30 million doses.

Red Cross to Remain in Some Ontario LTC Homes:

The Canadian Red Cross will remain in select Ontario long-term care and retirement homes for six more months. Teams were called in to support homes struggling during the pandemic. The arrangement with Ontario was slated to end in March but the federal government has extended that period until September. The Red Cross works with the province to determine which homes need help with infection control, housekeeping and meal delivery and other duties.

Outbreak Amongst Kingston Young Adults:

Kingston’s top doctor has declared a COVID-19 outbreak among young adults in the city’s university district. Dr. Kieran Moose says people aged 18 to 29 represent more than 70 per cent of the region’s active cases. He says fines will be issued if people don’t follow public health restrictions. The public health unit says transmission is happening in social settings where people aren’t wearing face coverings.

BC Sets a New Record for Infections:

British Columbia recorded its highest daily case count since the start of the pandemic – 1,293 new infections on Thursday. Provincial health officer Doctor Bonnie Henry also noted that the prevalence of COVID-19’s variants of concern means that anybody who is positive needs to be treated as if they have one of those highly transmissible viruses. BC recently shifted its screening strategy away from whole-genome sequencing when looking for the fast-spreading variants.

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday the province announced 3,295 new COVID-19 cases, based on over 63,800 tests completed. Locally, there were 933 new cases in Toronto, 649 in Peel, 386 in York Region, 165 in Durham and 160 in Ottawa. The death toll increased by 19 and the number of hospitalized patients jumped by twenty to 1,417. There are currently 525 Ontarians in the ICU with 331 on a ventilator.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Waterloo Region Public Health announced 66 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 1 new death. The number of active cases increased by twenty-nine to 426. The number hospitalized stayed at 19.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health confirmed 45 new cases yesterday and no new deaths. The number of active cases now sits at 385 which is an increase of twenty-one. Of the new active cases, 6 were in Wellington, 2 were in Dufferin and 31 were in Guelph. The number of hospitalized patients remained at 5 with 3 in the ICU.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Kat Callaghan via Twitter

 

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