The Ontario Borders Are Open Again – Full COVID-19 Update

The Ontario Borders Are Open Again – Full COVID-19 Update

Ontario’s borders with Quebec and Manitoba are fully reopened as of today. An order restricting travel from those provinces through land and water borders expired at midnight. The regulation was introduced in April as the province battled a third wave of COVID-19. It meant people could only enter Ontario for reasons deemed essential and law enforcement could stop and question travellers. The reopening of the provincial borders may cause stress for the Ontario businesses that are still ordered to be closed. Many of those same businesses are open in Quebec and Manitoba.

Trudeau Has Checked In To The Quarantine Hotel:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is back on Canadian soil after a week in Europe for G7, NATO and EU meetings. But he’s not exactly home just yet. Trudeau and the rest of the Canadian delegation who travelled to the United Kingdom and Belgium checked in at a three-star hotel near Ottawa’s airport upon their arrival in the capital last night to begin a 14-day quarantine — as per COVID-19 rules. Canada introduced a rule earlier this year that those entering the country by air without an exemption have to stay at a government-approved hotel for up to three nights or until they get a negative COVID test result before going home to finish the rest of their quarantine.

Dr Tam May Be Moving The Goalpost Again:

Canada is close to hitting its first national vaccination target. But chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 might mean the country has to step up its game. Federal modelling done in April and May suggests that if 75 per cent of Canadians had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 20 per cent had two, provinces could safely begin easing restrictions without overwhelming hospitals again. But Tam points out the variants used to develop those models didn’t include Delta, which is the most infectious variant tracked in Canada to date. It’s not clear if restrictions will be extended beyond Canada’s vaccine targets.

Discussions Heating Up Over Vaccine Passports:

Ottawa is in talks with the provinces and territories about creating some type of passport containing proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says while health information falls under provincial jurisdiction, Ottawa’s goal is to provide Canadians with a document to verify vaccinations against the coronavirus if they want to travel outside Canada. Canadians can expect information within days on how the federal government intends to re-open the Canadian border to international travel.

Blaming Delta For Outbreaks:

A northern Ontario health unit says a dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases is likely due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. Dr. Lianne Catton of the Porcupine Health Unit says only 12 cases of the variant first seen in India have been confirmed so far but the real number is higher. There are 337 active cases of COVID-19 in the region that includes Timmins, with an infection rate that is nearly five times higher than the province had set as a benchmark for re-opening. Catton says infection rates have been higher in children, young adults and the unvaccinated and it’s uncertain when the region will be able to join the rest of the province in moving to the first stage of re-opening.

 Air Canada Refunds:

Air Canada could face a major financial penalty in the US for failing to provide timely refunds for flights cancelled between the US and Canada due to the pandemic. The US Department of Transportation has issued the airline a notice of enforcement proceeding, saying it’s seeking a penalty of $25.5-million dollars. The American Aviation Consumer Protection Agency says the airline’s argument that it is not required to provide reimbursement due to the unique circumstances of the pandemic lacks merit. Air Canada only agreed to provide refunds to passengers in Canada as part of a federal bailout package.

High Enthusiasm For Vaccines in Canada:

A new Angus Reid poll says 9 in 10 Canadians are now either vaccinated, or willing to get a shot. The number of people who are not sure about getting a shot, or said they want to wait, has fallen to the lowest point since last summer. Only nine per cent of Canadians still say they will not get the vaccine under any circumstance. Vaccine uncertainty remains the highest in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the two prairie provinces have a hesitancy rate (18%) that is almost double the rest of the nation. Almost two in three Canadians now have one dose of vaccine, but slightly more than one in 10 have both doses.

Western Premiers Meet:

Canada’s seven Western premiers met for their annual conference Tuesday, hosted virtually by Nunavut because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alberta’s Jason Kenney said he’s pushing the federal government to present a detailed plan to re-open the Canada-US border in early July. But Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said vaccinations are the only way out of this mess, and barriers can only come down when vaccination rates rise. Canada’s intergovernmental affairs officer has suggested Canadians can expect an announcement by Monday on the easing of pandemic travel restrictions.

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario reported its lowest daily new cases yesterday since early September. There were just 296 infections and 13 new deaths. The number of hospitalized patients increased substantially; in what was likely a “catch-up” due to unreported cases on the weekend. There are now 433 people hospitalized with COVID-19, which is an increase of 49. However, there were 27 less in the ICU and 24 less on a ventilator. 645 more cases were marked as resolved.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Waterloo Region Public Health announced 51 new cases yesterday and no new deaths. Active cases continue to climb. Yesterday it was an increase of 14 to 484. Hospitalizations were way up. Another 14 patients were admitted for a total of 52 people receiving in-patient care.

There were zero new cases yesterday in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit. The number of active cases is now down to just 60. There are 9 people hospitalized.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Global News via YouTube

 

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