Today We Learn The Back-To-School Plan – Full COVID19 Update

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province has reported its lowest number of new COVID19 cases in a day since late March. Ontario had just 76 new cases of the coronavirus yesterday morning, along with one new death. There were also 174 cases newly marked as resolved. Elliott says the number of people in hospital, in intensive care and on ventilators all dropped.

Ontario’s Back To School Plan Will Be Announced Today:

Today is the day parents and teachers have been waiting for. The provincial government is set to announce the back-to-school safety plan today. So far the government has laid out three options: a full return to school, a continuation of online classes, or a hybrid model that combines the two.

Sick Kids Has Some Advice for Schools:

Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children has updated recommendations for a safe return to school. Its guidelines suggest a full-time, in-person return would be best for children, from educational, mental health and social development standpoints. The hospital says evidence is mounting that young children don’t play a significant role in spreading COVID19, compared to teens and adults.

Toronto and Peel Going to Stage 3:

Toronto and Peel Region will join most of the province in Stage 3 of Ontario’s COVID19 recovery plan on Friday. But the province says the Windsor-Essex region will remain in Stage 2 for the time being as it grapples with outbreaks on farms. The government says it will continue to monitor the situation in Windsor-Essex and provide assistance through measures such as on-farm testing. Nearly all businesses and public spaces can reopen with health measures in place in Stage 3, and people can gather in larger groups.

Investigating Long Term Care:

An independent commission into why Ontario’s long-term care homes were hit so hard by COVID19 will be able to compel people to give evidence. The commission announced yesterday that it will be headed by Frank Marrocco, an associate chief justice with the Ontario Superior Court. It’s due to produce its report by April 30th of next year. Premier Ford says the commission will be able to make recommendations for systemic change in long-term care.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

Toronto Mask Law in Condos And Apartments:

Toronto is making it mandatory to wear masks in the common areas of residential buildings in an effort to curb the spread of COVID19. The new bylaw applies to the elevators, hallways, lobbies and other facilities such as laundry rooms of condos and apartment buildings. It’s set to come into effect next Wednesday — August 5th.

Food Bank Need:

Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank says the rate of new clients using member food banks has more than tripled since the start of the COVID19 crisis. A report issued yesterday shows 6,100 people began using food banks last month — up from 2,000 in February. It also released a survey suggesting lost income due to COVID19 lockdowns were largely to blame for the increase in people relying on food banks. That includes 28 per cent of respondents who said they were receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Praise for Canada:

A top American health expert says Canada has a record to be proud of in the COVID19 pandemic. Thomas Bollyky of the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations says Canada set itself apart from the U.S. and European countries by pushing for fair global distribution of a COVID19 vaccine, rather than succumbing to what he calls vaccine nationalism. The praise comes even as the Liberal government is facing questions at home about whether it is doing enough to fund domestic vaccine research.

Yukon Moving to the Next Phase:

Yukon is set to move into its next phase of managing the COVID19 pandemic. Starting August 1st, Yukon residents can increase their household bubbles from one additional family to another 15 people in three to five families. Indoor social gatherings remained limited at 10 with physical distancing required, although events in rented spaces with a maximum of 50 people will be allowed as long as the rules are followed. Seated outdoor events with 100 people will also be allowed.

US Aid Package:

Talks over the COVID19 aid package have reached a stalemate in Washington, DC. President Trump is dismissing Democratic demands to include aid for cash-strapped cities and is lashing out at Republican allies. Assistance for millions of Americans is at risk.

Masks in the House of Representatives:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last night on the House floor that masks must be worn in the chamber from now on and rulebreakers would be kicked out by the sergeant at arms.   “Members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the Hall of the House except that members may remove their masks temporarily when recognized,” Pelosi announced, using the official term for the House chamber.  Pelosi is putting in place stricter rules after Rep. Louis Gohmert, a Texas Republican, tested positive for the coronavirus, which prompted at least one high-ranking government official, Attorney General Bill Barr, to get tested as he might have been exposed.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public reported just 1 new COVID19 case and once again it was travel related. 3 more cases are now resolved so the number of active cases in the Region is down to 39. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health also had just 1-new case to report. The number of active cases there is at 24.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan