Top doctors in three Ontario virus hot spots want the province to impose tougher restrictions. Chief medical officers of health for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa have written to their provincial counterpart recommending a stay-at-home order. They asked Dr. David Williams to move schools online in regions dealing with significant COVID-19 outbreaks. The Ontario Medical Association is also calling for a stay-at-home order to address the increase in cases.
#EXCLUSIVE: My colleague @cmcdonaldglobal has obtained this joint letter from the MOH's of @regionofpeel @cityoftoronto @ottawacity sent yesterday to Dr. Williams pushing for stronger PH measures and a province wide stay-at-home order. #Onpoli pic.twitter.com/3AEBdQ4bI4
— Travis Dhanraj (@Travisdhanraj) April 5, 2021
Peel Region & Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Schools Have Been Shut Down By Public Health:
Schools in Peel Region are closed for in-person learning starting today. Dr. Lawrence Loh, the region’s medical officer of health, has ordered schools in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga to move classes online. The closure will remain in place until April 18 and Loh says it may be extended if necessary. The top doctor in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health unit has ordered all schools to stop in-person learning starting tomorrow, with classes to return no sooner than April 19. In Toronto, the public health unit says it has recommended the closure of 20 schools as COVID-19 cases are investigated. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association have also asked for schools in virus hot spots to move classes online until teachers can be vaccinated.
Peel Public Health has issued a Section 22 order to close all schools in Peel and move to remote learning for two weeks effective at 12:01 a.m. on April 6. We know this is difficult for parents and caregivers but it’s what we need right now. pic.twitter.com/YWge6ZmnK0
— Region of Peel (@regionofpeel) April 5, 2021
WDG Public Health is issuing a Section 22 Order that directs schools within the boards in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph to cease in-person learning effective April 7. Schools would be eligible to return no sooner than April 19.
— WDG Public Health (@WDGPublicHealth) April 6, 2021
A New Record for Hospital Admissions:
The head of the Ontario Hospital Association says the province has set another record for intensive care unit occupancy. The province announced 44 new patients were admitted to ICU’s on Sunday — pushing the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care to 494. Anthony Dale says hospitals plan to transfer 88 patients from facilities in the Greater Toronto Area with high occupancy pressures to help address capacity issues. But he says those hospitals need ‘urgent relief’ to ensure equitable access to critical care services for their very sick patients.
It’s up to everyone in Ontario to help control & reverse the concerning trend of rapid case growth & ICU admissions across the province. We're also joining MOHs @epdevilla, @VeraEtches & Dr. Lawrence Loh in calling for stronger PH measures to bring #s down. #onpoli #onhealth https://t.co/a4uFyAVcZX
— Ont. Hospital Assoc. (@OntHospitalAssn) April 5, 2021
The Canadian Numbers:
Updated data on Canada’s COVID-19 file has the number of confirmed cases across the country at more than 1,000,014. There were over 6,200 new cases reported nationwide on Easter Monday and there were 43 new reported deaths. There were no new cases reported yesterday in any of the three territories, or in Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador. But New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health is concerned by the growing number of COVID-19 cases in her province. Dr. Jennifer Russell says all the new cases reported in the hard-hit Edmundston area involve the mutation of the novel coronavirus first identified in the UK.
1/2 #COVID19 key concerns in Canada: due to reduced reporting over the #LongWeekend, data are still being collected to update national 7-day averages/trends. This does not mean the virus has been resting, nor should we. https://t.co/16X19UELwO
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) April 5, 2021
Calls for Ontario and Alberta to Close Up:
The governments of both Ontario and Alberta are being urged to impose stricter health measures to combat a rise in COVID-19 infections. Toronto, Ottawa and Peel regions are asking Premier Doug Ford’s government to impose a provincewide stay-at-home order amid a fourth straight day of about three-thousand new cases per day. The chief medical officers cite rising cases of COVID variants, the hospitalization of younger patients and high capacity in hospital intensive care as alarming trends. Ontario had a record-high 494 patients in ICUs on Monday. Alberta’s NDP leader is calling on Premier Jason Kenney’s UCP government to bring in tougher public health measures too, amid 887 new cases — half of which are new variants.
Confidence in the Vaccine Rollout is Low:
How is the Vaccine Rollout Going in Ontario? According to a new poll from Leger and the Association for Canadian studies, it’s not going well. Overall, only 41 per cent say they are satisfied with the distribution effort so far. As for seniors in their 60’s, that number drops to 27%. 8 out of 10 say they trust the Pfizer vaccine. 7.5 out of 10 trust the Moderna. 7 in 10 trust the Johnson and Johnson shot. Only 53 per cent say the same for the AstraZeneca. Only 1 in 10 Ontarians say they don’t want a vaccination.
Toronto Says They Are Working on a Plan to Vaccinate High Risk Workplaces:
Toronto Mayor John Tory says the city is working on a plan to bring COVID-19 vaccination to high-risk workplaces. Tory says the plan will involve mobile vaccination units being used in some hot-spot neighbourhoods — but he can’t say when it will start because it depends on vaccine supply in the coming weeks. The announcement comes as the provincial government is facing mounting pressure to start prioritizing essential workers for the shot. ICU doctors have said many of the patients they’re treating these days are essential workers who got infected in the workplace.
Great to tour the City's sixth mass vaccination site at The Hangar in North York on opening day.
Let's fill these seats up and get shots in arms, Toronto.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) April 5, 2021
NDP MPP Caught COVID And Calls for Essential Worker Vaccinations:
A New Democrat MPP from Toronto says she is recovering from COVID-19 that she likely got at work. Dr. Rima Berns-McGown says in a tweet that she got slammed by COVID despite getting her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine — but it did its job and kept her out of hospital. Berns-McGown is calling on the province to pivot and quickly start vaccinating essential service workers. She says nobody should have to go to work knowing they could get sick and pass it on to their families.
Driving Tests Are On Hold Again:
The ministry of transportation says all in-vehicle driving tests in Ontario have been cancelled due to the provincial shutdown. Indoor services at DriveTest centres are continuing with restrictions, as are commercial vehicle services. The Ontario government announced last week it was tightening measures for at least four weeks to rein in surging COVID-19 infections. The stricter rules include capacity limits on retail and prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants.
As part of the Provincewide Shutdown, Ontario has cancelled all in-vehicle passenger tests provincewide.
— Ontario Ministry of Transportation (@ONtransport) April 5, 2021
They’re Still Trying to Figure Out Vaccinations for Long Term Care Homes:
Long-term care operators are being asked to work with their homes to convince more staff to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Associate Deputy Minister of Long-Term Care Erin Hannah makes the request in a memo sent to the operators last week. Hannah says nearly 80 per cent of long-term care staff have received a first dose but there is a wide variation among homes. The memo suggests several ways operators can increase staff immunization rates, including holding on-site vaccinations and offering paid time off and transportation to clinics.
More of Quebec is Back in Lockdown:
Several more Quebec municipalities moved down into lockdown yesterday. The government also moved the curfew from 9:30pm to 8pm in the regional municipalities of Beauce-Sartigan, Bellechasse, Les Etchemins, Nouvelle-Beauce and Robert-Cliche. Non-essential businesses have to close, as will restaurant dining rooms. Quebec reported 1,252 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths yesterday.
Dr. Fauci Says America Will Not Require Vaccine Passports:
Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. government will not require Americans who are immunized against COVID-19 to use so-called “vaccine passports.” The idea behind these passports is that they would offer proof of vaccination so that people could perform daily tasks such as eat in restaurants, travel, shop and so on. But they have also raised concerns about privacy and whether this will discriminate against people who choose to not be vaccinated – although it is unlikely such a system would work in the U.S. because it would need to be implemented equally across all 50 states. During an appearance on the POLITICO Dispatch podcast yesterday, Fauci said the Biden administration will not mandate their use. “You could foresee how an independent entity might say: ‘Well, we can’t be dealing with you unless we know you’re vaccinated,’” Fauci told host Jeremy Siegel. “But it’s not gonna be mandated from the federal government.”
The UK is Coming Out of Lockdown:
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that businesses from barbers to bookstores will be allowed to re-open next week. Johnson says Britain’s slow but steady march out of a three-month lockdown remains on track. But he says it’s too soon to say whether UK residents will be able to have summer trips abroad. Johnson has also confirmed his government will test out a contentious vaccine passport system as a tool to help travel and large events return safely.
We set out our roadmap and we’re sticking to it.
It is by being cautious, by monitoring the data at every stage, and by following the rules – remembering hands, face, space and fresh air – that we hope together to make this roadmap to freedom irreversible. pic.twitter.com/EQM74Muu3p
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 5, 2021
Cruise Ships are Preparing to Sail Again:
Norwegian Cruise Line’s parent company wants to resume sailing from US ports in July. The company is asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for permission to return to American waters for the first time since the early days of the pandemic. Norwegian says its cruise lines will require that all passengers and crew members be vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks before the trip.
Yesterday Ontario reported nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases in the province from over a two-day span. There were 2,938 new cases yesterday and 3,041 cases on Easter Sunday. 22 new deaths were reported from the 2-day period.
Ontario is reporting 2,938 cases of #COVID19 today and 3,041 cases reported yesterday. Today, there are 906 new cases in Toronto, 533 in Peel, 391 in York Region, 230 in Ottawa and 140 in Durham.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) April 5, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health of Waterloo Region announced 54 new cases yesterday but no new deaths. The region remains at 21 hospitalized patients and active cases went up by seven to 348. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health again failed to update their numbers yesterday so there has now not been an update since last Thursday.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot