Premier Ford says the province’s COVID-19 vaccine booking system is ready to launch. It will start taking appointments from residents 80 or older starting today at 8am. Ford says it’s crucial that only eligible residents make use of the system. Retired General Rick Hillier, who heads Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force, says tests of the online vaccine portal have gone smoothly, but the province is prepared to deal with glitches. He says vaccination appointments will be available to other age groups as early as next month. The web address is ontario.ca/bookvaccine.
Yesterday, we set a new record with over 53,000 vaccines administered.
Each day, we’re pushing our capacity to new limits — but we can do so much more! As soon as the federal government starts sending us mass deliveries of vaccines, we’ll really ramp things up.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 13, 2021
Public Health Shut Down an Amazon Warehouse in Brampton:
Peel Public Health has ordered thousands of employees of an Amazon warehouse to self-isolate in an effort to contain a growing outbreak at the facility. The agency has ordered Amazon to suspend all shifts at the Heritage Road site and have employees self-isolate for two weeks. The facility employs roughly 5,000 workers. An outbreak began in October and has since been linked to more than 600 cases. The public health agency says nearly half of those have emerged in the last few weeks.
Peel Public Health has just issued a Section 22 order to Amazon Canada, requiring workers at 8050 Heritage Road in Brampton to self-isolate until March 27, due to a COVID-19 outbreak. It is effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 13. pic.twitter.com/fpV7ue5AfN
— Region of Peel (@regionofpeel) March 12, 2021
Several Regions Changing Colour Today:
Three public health units will see their pandemic restrictions tighten today. Sarnia-Lambton is entering lockdown, from the red zone. The Northwestern Health Unit is entering the red category. And the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit moves from the least restrictive green classification into the yellow zone.
Effective Monday, March 15 at 12:01 AM, three PHUs will be moving to a new level in the COVID-19 Response Framework.
We are at a critical stage in our fight against COVID-19. The actions we take now and over the next few weeks will help ensure people stay safe. pic.twitter.com/IdZfVWPwQb
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 14, 2021
New Guidance on the AstraZeneca Vaccines is Coming Today:
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is expected to release new guidance this week on the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for seniors after initially discouraging its use for older residents. There have been concerns about the shot, with several European countries stopping its use amid alleged links to blood clots, although Canadian officials have said there is no scientific evidence to support such a link. Canada is expected to start receiving more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine starting in April.
Mental Health Continues to be an Issue:
The Canadian Mental Health Association is urging Ontario to prioritize the sector in its budget scheduled for March 24th. That as a new poll from the association’s Ontario branch suggests the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has eroded residents’ already fragile emotional well-being. The poll suggests only 35 per cent of Ontarians consider their mental health to be very good or excellent — down from 52 cent last May towards the end of the pandemic’s first wave. And nearly 80 per cent of respondents said they believe there will be a serious mental health crisis post-pandemic, up from 69 per cent in May.
Lots More Vaccines on the Way:
On Friday Prime Minister Trudeau said millions more vaccines are on the way. Here is his news conference:
Variants Continue to be a Concern:
Canada’s top doctor is voicing concern about an increase in highly contagious COVID-19 variants, as Alberta confirms its first two cases of a fast-spreading strain first identified in Brazil. Both cases are travel related, and were reported in the Calgary area. Chief public health officer Doctor Theresa Tam also noted a higher infection rate in Canadians aged 20 to 39, saying the spread in younger, more mobile and socially connected adults can increase the risk of transmission in high-risk populations and settings. Her statement adds urgency to the vaccine effort, which is ramping up in several provinces.
Canada recorded nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 infections Sunday. The national total now stands at 909,157. Another 29 deaths were reported, pushing the death toll to 22,463.
Quebec Cases Continue to Drop:
COVID-19 cases in Quebec continue to drop — and vaccinations are rising. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube is expressing optimism over the pace of the vaccination campaign after more than 30 thousand doses were given Saturday. The province reported 674 cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths yesterday.
Tourism Preparing to Rebound:
Scotiabank’s chief economist believes the tourism sector will see a strong comeback as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. But Jean-Francois Perrault also warns that the industry may not have the capacity to meet a surge in demand. Ian MacPhee of Prince of Whales Whale Watching in Victoria says he expects business to remain tough until borders reopen and planes are back in the air.
Ontario’s tourism sector has been hit by COVID-19.
That’s why this past week, we announced a Tourism Economic Recovery Task Force to provide advice about how to help our industry rebuild post-COVID-19.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 14, 2021
Dr Fauci Hoping Donald Trump Will Help:
Dr. Anthony Fauci says he wishes former US President Donald Trump would use his popularity among Republicans to persuade his followers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In a round of interviews on the morning news shows yesterday, America’s top infectious disease expert lamented polling showing that Trump supporters are more likely to refuse to get vaccinated. Trump is unlikely to urge vaccines. Even though he himself got the virus he still went unmasked, and continued to downplay COVID-19’s severity.
Yesterday Ontario had it’s highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases in almost 3 weeks. There were 1,747 cases, based on 47,000 tests completed. The higher number was the result of a data correction where previous cases went un-reported. The vast majority of the new cases were in the GTA. There were: 545 new cases in Toronto, 352 in Peel and 163 in York Region. The number of hospitalized COVID patients in the province dropped to 601. There are currently 283 people in Intensive Care.
Ontario is reporting 1,747 cases of #COVID19 and over 47,600 tests completed. Locally, there are 545 new cases in Toronto, 352 in Peel and 163 in York Region.
As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 1,158,355 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) March 14, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health announced 39 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 43 new cases on Saturday. There are now 327 active cases in the Region with 29 hospitalized and 7 in the ICU. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health does not report numbers on the weekend. As-of Friday they were doing great with just 125 active cases and 5 people hospitalized.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: ontario.ca