For the next 30 days, no flights from India and Pakistan will be allowed into Canada, as the two countries deal with a surge of COVID-19 cases. To discourage people from getting around the flight ban by booking flights through other countries, Canada will require passengers transiting through a third nation to go through customs in that country and remain there until they get another negative COVID-19 test.
Premier Ford Issues An Emotional Apology Over Last Week’s Announcements:
A visibly emotional Premier Doug Ford apologized yesterday morning for new COVID-19 restrictions that sparked a furious backlash last Friday. Fighting tears, Ford apologized for increasing police enforcement powers and closing playgrounds. He admitted that his government moved too fast and got it wrong. The government had announced the new restrictions amid soaring COVID-19 cases and an alarming rise in people in intensive care.
Here is the Premier’s news conference:
Two New Emergency Orders Issued for Hospitals:
Ontario has issued two new emergency orders that will help bring more health-care workers into hospitals overburdened by COVID-19. One order allows workers to provide patient care outside their regular scope of practice, consistent with duties assigned by a hospital. The other allows out-of-province health-care workers to practice in an Ontario hospital without registering with regulatory colleges in the province. The government says the orders will allow staff from Ontario health facilities to be redeployed to hospitals and will also pave the way for out-of-province health workers to practice there.
A Provincial Sick Leave Program is Coming:
Premier Ford promises his government will create a COVID-19 paid sick-leave program for workers. Ford says people forced into quarantine due to the pandemic should not have to worry about their jobs or income. He says Ottawa hasn’t expanded an existing benefit but gave no specifics on what he plans. Public health experts and others have been calling for sick-leave support for much of the pandemic, arguing it would reduce COVID-19 spread in workplaces. Sick leave is already available at the federal level but many feel it is not fast enough or easy enough to apply for so many people opt to go into the workplace while sick.
More Vaccine Delays Are Coming:
The man in charge of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is warning there will be more delays in the delivery of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot before June. Major-General Dany Fortin says escalating case numbers in India mean shipments of the vaccine from that country are temporarily on hold. India is reporting a global record daily tally of more than 314,000 new infections. This delay adds on to the delays Canada is already experiencing from Moderna. Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says Canada will be making adjustments at the border for incoming flights soon, amid calls to limit travel from hot spot countries.
Here is yesterday’s update:
Several Large Companies Will Soon Be Vaccinating Their Employees:
Employees for Amazon, Maple Leaf Foods and Maple Lodge Farms will soon be able to get their COVID-19 vaccines on site. Peel Region says the three companies will hold immunization clinics in the coming weeks, part of a new public-private partnership. The region says workplace exposures continue to be a major contributor to community transmission. Ontario announced recently that it would collaborate with large employers to hold on-site vaccination clinics for workers and the surrounding community.
Child Hospitalizations Blamed On The UK Variant:
A bunch of children have been hospitalized this week with COVID-19 in Michigan as the state struggles with a spike in the virus. Statewide, 70 children were hospitalized between Monday and yesterday with either confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. That’s the highest-ever number of hospitalized children at one time in the state, according to state records. Officials are blaming the surge in hospitalizations on the UK coronavirus variant, also known as B.1.1.7, which is more transmissible and appears to spread faster among young people. It isn’t clear why the variant has taken such strong hold in Michigan.
Ontario reported 3,682 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and 40 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 1,131 new cases in Toronto, 507 in Peel Region, and 436 in York Region. She also said there were 279 new cases in Ottawa and 200 in Durham Region. Nearly 135,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario since previous day’s report.
Ontario is reporting 3,682 cases of #COVID19 and over 54,200 tests completed. Locally, there are 1,131 new cases in Toronto, 507 in Peel, 436 in York Region, 279 in Ottawa and 200 in Durham.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) April 22, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
83 new cases were confirmed yesterday by Region of Waterloo Public Health along with another new death. Active cases decreased by three to 583. But, hospitalizations increased again. There are now 62 people in hospital. That is eleven more than yesterday. Of the 83 new cases, 60 of them are variants of concern.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health announced 57 new cases yesterday but no new deaths. The number of active cases decreased by four and now sits at 603. There are 24 people hospitalized with 8 in the ICU. Breaking down the new cases: 14 were in Wellington, 18 were in Dufferin and 25 were in Guelph.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Air Canada