The Verdict On Reopening Schools Could Come Today – Full COVID-19 Update

The Verdict On Reopening Schools Could Come Today – Full COVID-19 Update

Premier Ford says his government will announce a decision soon on whether schools will re-open for June. Ford says the province is still reviewing the input he requested last week from dozens of medical experts and stakeholders on a potential re-opening of schools that were closed in April due to the third wave of the pandemic. He told reporters yesterday that they’re getting closer to a decision and he would have news for parents in the next day or two. Chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams and Ontario’s science advisory table have both recommended students be allowed to return to class for the last few weeks of the academic year.

Ontario Technical Briefing:

Here is yesterday’s report from the Chief and Associate Medical Officers of Health:

Trudeau Non-Committal On Reopening The Border:

There are increasing calls for a reopening plan from lawmakers and business owners on both sides of the Canada-US border. Prime Minister Trudeau says he’ll make decisions about reopening the border based on the interests of Canadians and not based on what other countries want. Trudeau’s words came as Ontario and Quebec reported their lowest numbers of new COVID-19 infections in months yesterday. Many Ontarians aged 80 and up became eligible yesterday to move up their second doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Further west, Manitoba said it has approved administering Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines as booster shots for residents who got the Oxford-AstraZeneca for their first dose.

The World is Still Waiting For America to Share Their Shots:

Countries around the world are still waiting for more details from the US about its plans to share millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of June. So far, it looks like the Biden administration will provide the bulk of the doses to COVAX, the UN-backed global vaccine sharing program. The administration is considering reserving about a fourth of the doses for the US to dispense directly to individual nations of its choice.

Vaccination Update:

Federal public health officials say COVID-19 vaccines continue to get into Canadian arms at a rapid pace. Nearly 390,000 Canadians rolled up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine Monday, for a total of over 23.8-million doses given so far. Nearly 2.1-million people have been fully vaccinated.

Canadian Infections:

Canadian health officials reported just over 2,100 new confirmed COVID-19 infections Monday, along with 35 new deaths. Ontario reported 916 new cases for its lowest daily infection count since mid-February. Manitoba logged 330 new cases, Alberta had 263 and Nova Scotia reported 17 new cases. With a decline in Nova Scotia’s numbers, Premier Iain Rankin announced the phase-one reopening in the province tomorrow. Retail stores will be able to operate at 25 per cent capacity while all restaurants can fully open patios. Schools will reopen in most of the province tomorrow, and in Halifax and Sydney on Thursday.

LTC Now Requires Staff to Be Vaccinated:

Ontario long-term care homes must now enforce mandatory COVID-19 immunization policies for staff. Staff must provide proof of vaccination, a documented medical exemption or participate in an educational program about vaccination benefits. Homes must track and report back on their progress. The province says encouraging more workers to get vaccinated will reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and infections.

Outbreak Declared at Nunavut Mine:

Workers returning to Ontario from the Mary River mine in Nunavut are being asked to isolate and seek testing for COVID-19. The mine is dealing with an outbreak driven by a variant of the virus. Ontario’s associated medical officer of health says approximately 300 of the mine’s workers live across the province. She says local health units are following up with them, and all should be aware of the high-risk exposure.

Quebec Planning to Reopen Universities:

Quebec’s higher education minister says universities and junior colleges should prepare for a return to in-person classes in the fall. Danielle McCann says physical distancing measures will not apply in universities and colleges come the fall semester. She says other measures, such as mask-wearing, may still be required. McCann says a full return to in-person classes will depend on whether 75 per cent of Quebec residents 16-to-29 years old are fully vaccinated.

Big Losses at Via Rail:

Financial government support helped to cushion the blow for Via Rail, created by an 81 per cent drop in passenger revenues in the first quarter. The passenger rail service says it lost $2.2-million dollars for the three months ended March 31st. That compares with a $23.6-million-dollar loss a year earlier. Passenger revenues fell to $8.8-million dollars from $46-million as the number of passengers dwindled amid COVID-19 lockdowns. Via Rail cut operating expenses by 34 per cent to $133-million dollars, in part through temporary employee layoffs.

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday Ontario reported its lowest daily total of new COVID-19 cases since mid-February, with a tally of 916. The province last recorded a lower single-day increase on February 17th, when it saw 847 new cases. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 226 new cases in Toronto, 165 in Peel Region, and 85 in York Region. 13 more deaths were linked to the virus. There were also 18 less patients in hospital and 35 less on a ventilator.  1707 more cases were marked as resolved.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Public Health of Waterloo Region announced just 31 new cases yesterday and no new deaths. The number of hospitalizations now sits at 19. Thats a drop of four. Active cases was down by fourteen to 325.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health confirmed 56 cases from the weekend but the number of active cases dropped to 190. That’s down by fourteen. Hospitalizations now sit at 21, which is up by one.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

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