Toronto’s mayor says he is looking into creating stricter COVID19 regulations for the city. Mayor John Tory says although the city is already in the lockdown tier of Ontario’s COVID19 framework, more needs to be done. Tory says he and other leaders from the GTHA are discussing using the winter holidays to “lock down even further.” He says people are not staying home like they did in the spring.
Here is yesterday’s Toronto news conference:
Ontario Telling the Hospitals to Prepare:
The Ontario government has sent a memo to hospitals asking them to get ready to use their surge capacity within 48 hours. The request comes as the province reported 2,139 new cases yesterday, with 932 people in hospital. Hospitals in the province’s lockdown and red zones are being asked to make sure they have at least 10 to 15 per cent surge capacity for adult COVID19 patients. The memo says the actions the hospitals take will dictate how well they will be able to meet escalating and anticipated demands.
Ontario reported 2,139 more cases of COVID19 yesterday, along with 43 more deaths. Of the active cases, 932 people are hospitalized including 256 people in intensive care. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 780 cases were in Toronto, 528 in Peel Region, 148 in York Region and 143 in Durham.
Ontario is reporting 2,139 cases of #COVID19. Locally, there are 780 new cases in Toronto, 528 in Peel, 148 in York Region, 143 in Durham and 111 in Windsor-Essex County. There are 2,043 more resolved cases and nearly 49,200 tests completed.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) December 16, 2020
Alaskan Healthcare Worker Has Anaphylactic Reaction to the Vaccine:
A health-care worker in Alaska has reportedly had a severe allergic reaction to Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID19 vaccine within 10 minutes of receiving the shot. Britain had reported a few similar allergic reactions last week, but unlike those cases, the American woman has no history of allergic reactions. The Juneau health worker began feeling flushed and short of breath, and was treated with epinephrine and other medicines for what officials ultimately determined was anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. She was hospitalized overnight but has recovered.
Planning is Underway – Health Canada Has Yet to Approve The Vaccine:
Health Canada has not yet approved Moderna’s COVID19 vaccine, but Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Doctor Howard Njoo says preparations are underway to receive and distribute the drug once the agency gives the okay. He says this is good news for remote locations, because Moderna’s vaccine does not have the same kind of extreme requirements as the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. The initial doses of that vaccine are currently being administered to front-line workers and long-term care staff and residents across the country.
Here is yesterday’s vaccine task force meeting:
New Restaurant Campaign:
A restaurant industry group has launched a campaign aimed at getting people to support their local restaurants this holiday season. The Restaurants Canada campaign asks Canadians to imagine a life without their food and drink establishments. The group says the country lost more than 10,000 eateries since pandemic lockdowns first began. It says the holiday season is usually one of the busiest times for restaurants — but it could be devastating if customers don’t show their support by buying gift cards, ordering take-out or eating in, where still possible.
Restaurants Canada launches “Picture life without restaurants” Campaign calling on consumers to support their local restaurants https://t.co/TWketEf4rL
— Canadian Foodies (@CanadianFoodies) December 16, 2020
New Funding for Municipalities:
The Ontario government says it will commit $695-million dollars in funding to assist municipalities under strain from COVID19. The funding is meant to ensure municipalities don’t bring operating deficits into 2021. Of the total, $299-million dollars will be spread across all 44 municipalities in the province. The 48 hardest-hit municipalities, including the City of Toronto, will receive a shared $396-million dollars.
Here is the announcement:
Lockdowns Have Lead to a Major Backlog on Drivers’ Tests:
The provincial Transportation Ministry says COVID19 lockdowns in areas including Toronto and Peel Region have led to a significant backlog of driving tests. The ministry says about 18,000 road tests have been cancelled since late November. The government has prohibited residents from booking a road test in a region with fewer pandemic restrictions. The ministry says the province plans to hire more than 130 temporary driver examiners to help with the backlog after the lockdowns are lifted.
Suspending residential Evictions:
A Toronto legal clinic has asked the city’s top doctor to suspend residential evictions in the city during the pandemic. The letter from Downtown Legal Services says ongoing evictions during the second wave of COVID19 are a public health risk. Ontario’s government has not yet taken action on a motion supporting a freeze on evictions. The letter to Dr. Eileen De Villa asks her to suspend evictions during the pandemic, arguing it’s her responsibility as the official tasked with protecting residents’ health.
Nova Scotia to Impose New Restrictions:
New provincewide restrictions in Nova Scotia kick into effect on Monday, aimed at preventing more COVID19 transmission during the holiday period. Chief medical officer of health Doctor Robert Strang says in-person dining at restaurants won’t be permitted in the Halifax area, while restaurants and bars in the rest of the province will have to close by 11pm. Indoor household gatherings will also be limited to 10 people. Meanwhile, officials in the Halifax area say local restrictions — already in effect — will be extended until Sunday night.
The Canadian Newsmaker of the Year is:
This year’s Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year recognizes the work of the unsung heroes of the pandemic: front-line workers. Never before has the work of nurses, truckers, delivery people, grocery store clerks and others been so important — and so risky. United Food and Commercial Workers Canada national president Paul Meinema says members always played an essential role, but have never had such public acknowledgment of their value.
Front line workers named Canada's Newsmaker of the Year by editors https://t.co/jFCdA0tkl6
— The Canadian Press News (@CdnPressNews) December 16, 2020
US Sets a New Record:
The US set a new record for coronavirus deaths reported in a single day yesterday, with 3,400.
Fauci Says 85% Of Americans Will Need To Be Vaccinated Against COVID19 For The US To Reach Herd Immunity:
Dr. Anthony Fauci says that more than three-quarters of the U.S. population will need to receive COVID-19 vaccines to achieve herd immunity. He said that, although the country will start to see the effects of the vaccine when about 50 percent are immunized, much more is needed to suppress the deadly virus. “If you really want true herd immunity, where you get a blanket of protection over the country…you want about 75 to 85 percent of the country to get vaccinated,” Fauci told Vox’s Today Explained. “I would say even closer to 85 percent. We’ve got to get as many people as we possibly can.”
Times Square New Years Eve Closed to the Public:
For the first time since its inception in 1907, New York City’s New Year’s ball will drop and mark the start of 2021 in an empty Times Square. Instead, the in-person event — which typically draws more than one million revelers to the Crossroads of the World to see live performances and watch the glittering sphere descend its pole from atop One Times Square — will be held virtually over rising COVID19 infection-rate concerns.
New Year's Eve 2021, hosted by @JonathanBennet, will feature Gloria Gaynor and honor Heroes of 2020––first responders, frontline, essential workers, & families. #NYE is a broadcast event without public revelers in attendance. Event updates at: https://t.co/viHqECNCnI #BallDrop pic.twitter.com/NbbMduJ7b0
— Times Square (@TimesSquareNYC) December 15, 2020
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
There were 90 new COVID19 infections reported yesterday by Waterloo Region Public Health. There were also two more COVID-related deaths, putting the local total at 139. There are now 486 active cases in the Region. 37 people are in hospital. Ten of those are in intensive care.
Waterloo Region COVID-19 data for December 16:
4671 total cases (net ⬆️ of 90)
486 active cases (⬆️ of 18)
37 currently hospitalized (⬆️ of 2)
139 deaths (⬆️ of 2)
31 active outbreaks (⬆️ of 1)
Thank you for your patience while we work through the delay https://t.co/k8H6MC69AI
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) December 16, 2020
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 33 new COVID19 cases yesterday and another hospitalization. 18 of the new cases were in Guelph, 11 were in Wellington and just 6 were in Dufferin. There are now 230 active cases with 14 people in hospital.
Listowel Memorial Hospital Declares an Outbreak:
An outbreak has been declared at the hospital in Listowel after seven staff and three patients tested positive for COVID19. Listowel Memorial Hospital’s CEO says all the cases were reported this week. Karl Ellis says all staff and physicians who worked there since Friday are recommended to get a test. Admissions to the medicine unit have been halted and patients that require admissions may be redirected to neighbouring hospitals.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot