The US Border Closure Has Been Extended But International Flights Continue – Full COVID-19 Update

The US Border Closure Has Been Extended But International Flights Continue – Full COVID-19 Update

Through at least May 21st, all travellers flying into Canada from other countries are going to have to quarantine at a designated hotel for three days pending a negative COVID-19 test. The federal government is extending the quarantine rules and have also extended the border closure of non-essential travel between the US and Canada. The governments of Manitoba and North Dakota have struck a deal that will see the state provide vaccines to commercial truckers from Manitoba who cross the border. Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister hopes to expand the first-of-its-kind agreement to other essential workers who cross the border for work.

When Will The PM and Deputy PM Take Their AstraZeneca Shot?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is working out details for getting his COVID-19 shot after Ontario dropped the age to get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to 40. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says her children went online to get her an appointment at a pharmacy and that she is now on a waitlist. Ontario is one of several provinces dropping the minimum age for the shot.

Ontario May Reverse Course and Provide Paid Sick Days:

Health Minister Christine Elliot is hinting the provincial government may buckle to increasing pressure to provide paid sick leave to essential workers. The government rejected opposition efforts on Monday and again yesterday to bring in paid sick leave for essential workers and shut down non-essential businesses. But a short time later, Elliot said the province was considering taking action to address what it sees as gaps in the federal sick benefits program. The comment came as Ontario’s Science Advisory Table made another urgent plea for further action to curb the third wave of the pandemic — including paid sick days.

Premier Ford Self Isolating After Close Contact:

Premier Ford is isolating in Toronto after a member of his staff who was in close contact with him tested positive for COVID-19. A statement from Ford’s office late yesterday says the premier has tested negative. The statement says members of the premier’s office staff who were close contacts of the individual who tested positive will also isolate. It says Ford will continue leading his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic while in isolation, including briefings with officials and communicating with the public.

Shoppers to Offer 24/7 Vaccination in Hot-Spots:

Shoppers Drug Mart says they will offer 24-7 COVID-19 vaccinations for people over the age of 40 at more than 20 locations. Twenty Shoppers Drug Mart locations — including 16 in the hot-spot communities of Toronto, Peel Region and York Region — will begin offering the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as today. The province says that when it begins to receive more vaccine supply from the federal government, it will expand 24-7 COVID-19 vaccinations to additional hot spot areas.

Toronto & Peel to Shutdown Workplaces with Outbreaks:

Toronto has joined Peel region in imposing new orders forcing businesses with recent COVID-19 outbreaks to temporarily close. The two biggest COVID-19 hotspots have announced that businesses that have seen five or more linked cases in the past 14 days must shut down for 10 days. Peel is exempting businesses deemed essential, including those in health care and emergency child care, while Toronto officials say only that they may be exempt. Health officials in both regions say workplace exposures continue to drive high case counts — particularly since most cases are now due to more contagious variants.

Quebec Will Not Offer AstraZeneca to 40+

Quebec is not going to follow BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario and start offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to those 40 and older. Premier Francois Legault says the shot will be offered to anyone 45-years and up. There have now been three confirmed cases of people experiencing blood clots after getting the AstraZeneca shot. New Brunswick is confirming its first case — a person in their 30s who received the vaccine in mid-March, who has now recovered. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization was expected to update their guidance on vaccines at an afternoon news conference yesterday, but that was cancelled.

The Science Table Wants More Restrictions:

Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table is warning hospitals are at capacity and buckling under the weight of COVID-19. It says stronger measures are urgently needed — including vaccinating essential workers, offering them paid sick days and closing more non-essential workplaces. Ontario set another record for hospitalizations today and Premier Doug Ford’s government is facing widespread criticism for its handling of the pandemic. In lieu of provincial action, both Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region are going to order any non-essential businesses that have had five or more COVID-19 cases in the previous two weeks to close for at least 10-days.

Europe Says The Benefits Outweigh The Risks of Some Vaccines:

The European Medicine Agency says the benefits of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine still outweigh the risks. It confirms it has found a possible link between the vaccine and extremely rare blood clots and is recommending that a warning should be added to the label. The EMA also recommended a label change for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after finding a similar link. But it concluded the benefits of being immunized against COVID-19 still outweighed the very small risks of anyone developing the unusual clots.

Ontario Numbers:

There were 3,469 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario yesterday and 22 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 1,074 of those new cases were in Toronto, 775 were in Peel Region, and 406 were in York Region. There were 22 new deaths reported for the 24-hour period and 158 more people were hospitalized. 3,369 more cases were marked as resolved.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday was not a good one for COVID-19 numbers in Waterloo Region. Public Health announced there were 134 new cases and at least 45 of those were variants of concern. There were no new deaths. The number of active cases increased by seventy-one to 679. There are now 43 people hospitalized, which is a jump of four.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health only reported 15 new cases yesterday. 9 of those were in Guelph. There are now 24 people hospitalized with COVID-19. That is an increase of five. The number of active cases dropped to 609, which is a decrease of seventy. Once again, there were no new deaths.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

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