The Provincial Stay-At-Home Order Is Now In Effect – Full COVID-19 Update

As of midnight, the provincial stay-at-home order announced earlier this week is now in full force. The new rule requires people to stay at home except for essential activities, but it doesn’t specify what’s considered essential. The province says it left that up to interpretation since different people consider different things essential. Premier Ford has urged people to use their best judgment in deciding whether to go out.

To read the full Stay-At-Home order: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected)

Yesterday Premier Ford clarified some of the rules under the new stay-at-home order:

Here is a list of FAQ about the Stay-At-Home Order:

New Details on the Vaccine Rollout in Ontario:

Premier Ford says the province is getting ready to expand its vaccine rollout with phase one well underway. The province says about 1.5-million eligible people will be vaccinated in phase one, including all residents of nursing and high-risk retirement homes by February 15th. It says that will rise to 8.5-million people by the end of Phase Two — which is set to begin as early as March. Groups eligible to receive vaccines in the second stage include the elderly, starting with those aged 80 and up, as well as frontline essential workers such as first responders and teachers. Phase Three for the general population could begin as early as August.

Teachers Calling for Online Learning to be Extended:

Two of Ontario’s teacher’s unions are pushing for online learning to be extended while the newly imposed state of emergency is in effect. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Association say the current regional approach doesn’t do enough to protect students or teachers from COVID-19. Students living outside the five hot spots in the southern part of the province are due to return to class on January 25th, and most schools in northern Ontario reopened at the beginning of the week. A spokeswoman for Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that school safety is the ministry’s top priority.

More Changes in the Courts:

Jury trials in Ontario won’t resume until early May at the earliest. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice says it’s extending an order suspending new jury trials and jury selection in light of the new COVID-19 restrictions announced this week. It says jury trials already underway can continue at the discretion of the trial judge. The court says all non-jury matters should take place virtually unless it’s absolutely necessary to hold them in person.

Some Construction Continues:

Ontario’s new COVID-19 emergency measures allow construction to continue on many developments, including condos. Residential Construction Council of Ontario president Richard Lyall says the exception is important because the province has not been producing enough housing to meet demand. But opposition members of provincial parliament say the government should have acted more quickly on housing policies banning evictions. They say the exemptions are confusing for workers and residents wondering if construction crews can come into their condo buildings while they are told to stay at home. The provincial government says construction sites will be among the workplaces targeted by upcoming inspections and that the vast majority of construction workers are in line with safety guidelines.

The Province Has Not Yet Defined Who Gets Life Saving Care When ICU’s Become Overrun:

The province has not yet finalized a plan on who should get life-saving care if hospital ICU’s are gridlocked, despite COVID-19 modelling showing that could happen by mid- to late February. The president of the Ontario Medical Association says it’s concerning not to know what the plan is for critical care triage. Dr. Samantha Hill says transparency over a critical care protocol would help everyone’s ability to prepare as well as their mental well-being. The province had to withdraw the protocol it issued late last March after an outcry from human rights organizations who said it discriminated against patients with disabilities.

Former Hospital CEO is Suing for Wrongful Dismissal:

The London Health Sciences Centre is being sued for wrongful dismissal by the CEO it fired after it was revealed he’d travelled to the US five times during the pandemic. An unproven statement of claim filed yesterday in Ontario Superior Court alleges Dr. Paul Woods was terminated in bad faith. It says he discussed his plans to visit family with the chair of the LHSC board of directors at least three times and she expressed support of his need to travel south of the border. Woods is seeking $2.5-million dollars in compensation for lost income over the length of his contract through January 2023 and in damages for the loss of his reputation.

Class Action Lawsuit Against Long Term Care:

A proposed $500-million-dollar class action lawsuit has been announced against long-term care providers across Ontario over COVID-19 deaths. The unproven claim names care operators including Extendicare, Chartwell and Sienna Senior Living, as well as the province and several cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton. Lawyers filing the suit say it’s the first to allege multiple branches of government are culpable for COVID-19 deaths. Another suit filed against an Ottawa home operated by Extendicare in September has also been expanded to include all of its facilities. That unproven $200-million-dollar claim alleges Extendicare behaved in a reprehensible manner by failing to implement an adequate COVID-19 response plan.

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday the Province reported 2,961 new COVID-19 cases, compared to 3,392 more resolved cases. There were also 74 new deaths. 27 less people were in hospital during the 24-hour reporting period but 14 more patients were placed on ventilators. 11,231 more vaccines were administered. 8,778 people are now fully vaccinated in Ontario.

COVID Vaccines:

Canada’s national panel of vaccine experts says people eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine should get both doses on schedule, but a slight delay is acceptable. That would make it possible to give a first dose to more people. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is also reminding Canadians that even if you’re vaccinated, you must still follow public health advice to wear masks and keep your distance from others.

Ottawa Considering Using Travel Data When Determining Eligibility for Benefits:

Ottawa is looking at using data on incoming travellers to the country as a way to root out those who should not be collecting a two-week sickness benefit. A government source tells The Canadian Press that tracking border entry and exit data is an option under review as officials prepare legislation to close a loophole in the original benefit language. That loophole allowed anyone who returned from abroad for non-essential reasons, such as a vacation, to apply for the $500-dollar-a-week benefit during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Issues in the Air:

WestJet and Air Transat say more than 600 people have missed their flights since new COVID-19 testing requirements for international travellers took effect last ThursdayWestJet says it has denied boarding to at least 385 guests because they did not have the required proof of a negative test within 72 hours of departure. Air Transat says it has denied boarding to at least 245 passengers for testing-related reasons. Some mistakenly took antigen or antibody tests, rather than the required PCR test. Travel agents say they expect the availability of testing at Caribbean tourist destinations to ramp up after the US yesterday announced a similar testing requirement to Canada’s.

Air Canada Announces Cuts:

Air Canada is cutting 1,700 jobs and will stop flying into New Brunswick’s capital and two communities in Newfoundland and Labrador. The airline is scaling back its operations by 25 per cent in response to a new wave of lockdown restrictions. The Atlantic Canada Airports Association says the repercussions of the service cuts to Fredericton, Gander and Goose Bay will be felt for years to come.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Region of Waterloo Public Health announced 133 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. Thanks to the number of recovered cases, the number of active cases dropped to 1,055. There were also no new deaths. But the number of people in area hospitals for COVID-19 treatment increased to 30 people. Half of those patients are in the ICU. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 36 new cases yesterday. Hospitalizations increased to 6. There are 407 active cases.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot


Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan