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COVID-19: Trudeau announces new Pfizer delivery schedule; Ontario reaches single-day high of vaccine doses administered – Ottawa Citizen

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Ontario administered another single-day high of 43,503 vaccine doses across the province, with 1,062,910 total doses administered.

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What you need to know, at a glance

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces an accelerated delivery schedule from Pfizer-BioNTech, with one million doses arriving each week between March 22 and May 10
  • All available appointments have been booked for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Nepean Sportsplex, which began this week for many Ottawa residents aged 90 and older
  • The provincial booking system launches Monday, and residents are asked to wait until then and not to call for appointments Friday or on the weekend
  • Ottawa Public Health reports 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday
  • There were 1,289 tests conducted in Ottawa Thursday with a 2.4 per cent test positivity rate. The weekly average rate is 2.2 per cent in Ottawa, which must remain below 2.4 per cent to remain in Orange
  • Ontario administers another single-day high of 43,503 vaccine doses across the province
  • Three more regions are elevating from their current levels in the provincial framework, including Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, which will move from the Green to Yellow (Protect) zone
  • PC government house leader Paul Calandra criticizes the federal government over an “unreliable” vaccine supply to the province during a hastily called press conference Friday afternoon

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THE LATEST COVID NEWS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced an accelerated delivery schedule from Pfizer-BioNTech, with one million doses arriving each week between March 22 and May 10.

“A million doses of Pfizer alone, every seven days,” Trudeau said. “That’s going to make a big difference.”

The new delivery schedules have been shared with the provinces, Trudeau said, so provincial counterparts can make adequate preparations for mass vaccination sites.

Canada has so far delivered 3.8 million doses to the provinces and territories.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said more than 2.7 million of those doses have been administered, including more than 600,000 shots in the past week, the highest weekly numbers since the vaccination campaign began.

Closing out a “week of reflection” following Thursday’s national day of observance, and looking back on the pandemic’s past year, Tam said there is renewed focus on the next steps “that will shape our future.”

There have been 899,757 confirmed cases in Canada and 22,371 deaths. There are now more than 30,670 active cases across the country, with a weekly average of 3,050 new daily cases and 31 deaths each day.

More than 2,050 Canadians are in hospital including 540 in critical care.

And to date, more than 3,000 cases involving variants of concern have been identified in Canada, with the highly-contagious B.1.1.7 strain accounting for more than 90 per cent of those.

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“Racing to the finish line could cost us the success we’ve worked so long and hard for,” Tam said, urging Canadians to carry on at a “steady, cautious pace.”

THE LATEST COVID-19 NEWS IN OTTAWA

The city is urging people not to arrive early for vaccination appointments after people lined up outside Nepean Sportsplex Friday on the first day of the mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those 90 and over. Some of those in line were in wheelchairs.

City staff had to use megaphones to urge people to wait in their cars until it was time for their appointments and to urge those without appointments to go home and book one.

All available appointments have been booked for COVID-19 vaccinations at the Sportsplex.

The provincial booking system launches Monday, and residents are asked to wait until then and not to call for appointments Friday or on the weekend, according to a statement from Ottawa Public Health.

Additional appointments will be available on Monday with the launch of the provincial system.

Residents who are not yet eligible for the vaccine are asked to follow announcements on when they can receive their shots. Ontario is expected to unveil further details about its centralized appointment booking system.

THE LATEST COVID-19 NEWS IN ONTARIO

PC government house leader Paul Calandra criticized the federal government over an “unreliable” vaccine supply to the province during a hastily called press conference Friday afternoon.

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Calandra told reporters Ontario has mass vaccination sites “ready to go, but we have not had the supply to allow those clinics to operate.”

The province has had “tremendous success with the vaccines, but we want more,” Calandra said.

Ontario has been administering around 40,000 doses per day, but Calandra said the province has the capacity for 150,000 shots a day.

That rate of efficiency can only be reached with a reliable supply of vaccines, Calandra said, urging the federal government to deliver the shipments that have been promised.

“They haven’t been able to do it in the past. I am hopeful that they will actually deliver this time,” he said.

Meanwhile, three more regions are elevating from their current levels in the provincial framework, including Leeds, Grenville and Lanark, which will move from the Green to Yellow (Protect) zone.

Lambton Public Health will move into Grey (Lockdown) and the Northwestern region will move into Red (Control).

The decisions were made in consultation with local medical officers of health, provincial officials stated Friday, and were based on the trends in public health indicators and local context and conditions.

The three public health regions will be moving to those levels in the framework effective Monday at 12:01 a.m.

The Ontario government also activated an “emergency brake” in the Sudbury region Friday, moving into the Grey (Lockdown) level “due to the concerning trends in public health indicators … ”

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Ontario is also adjusting capacity limits for weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies held in regions currently in Grey zones.

Effective Monday at midnight, weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies will be permitted to allow for up to 15 per cent total occupancy indoors, or up to 50 people outdoors.

NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES IN OTTAWA AND ONTARIO

Ottawa Public Health reported 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. There have now been 15,400 total cases in Ottawa and 446 related deaths.

There are currently 570 active cases in the city, a number that has increased steadily this week, which began with 513 active cases as of Monday.

Hospital admissions are also rising, with 31 patients in local hospitals and three of those in intensive care.

Ottawa remains in the Orange (Restrict) zone of the provincial framework

Ontario is reporting 1,371 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases Friday and 18 related deaths.

There have now been 341,891 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic and Ontario’s death toll is 7,127.

Another 1,124 cases were resolved in the past 24-hour period and of Ontario’s total case count, 296,252 are now considered resolved.

Hospitalization rates have flattened across the province after showing signs of decline in recent weeks. There are now 676 patients in hospital, 282 in intensive care and of those, 189 require a ventilator.

The majority of new cases continue to be identified in provincial hot spots around the Greater Toronto Area, with 371 in Toronto, 225 in Peel, 111 in York and another 109 in Hamilton.

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Daily case counts continue to rise in surrounding regions, with 12 new cases in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, which includes Cornwall and Alexandria, a day after 18 new cases were confirmed in the same region. There are nine new cases in Kingston, nine in Renfrew County and 10 in Leeds, Grenville & Lanark. One new case was identified in the Hastings region.

COVID-19 TESTING INFORMATION

There were 1,289 tests conducted in Ottawa Thursday with a 2.4 per cent test positivity rate. The weekly average rate is 2.2 per cent in Ottawa, which must remain below 2.4 per cent to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s weekly average rate of infection is 36.7 cases per 100,000 population, and must remain under 40 cases per 100,000 population to remain in Orange.

The R(t) number — another key indicator measuring the secondary cases generated by a single confirmed COVID-19 infection — must be between 1.0 and 1.1 to remain in Orange.

Ottawa’s R(t) number had approached that threshold in recent days with a 1.08 score on Monday, but that has since receded to an average 0.95 weekly score as of Friday.

Any number above 1.0 indicates the virus is spreading in the community, any score under 1.0 indicates the spread is coming under control.

New outbreaks were declared at the Peter D. Clark long-term care home on Wednesday and at the Lord Lansdowne retirement residence Thursday, each involving a single confirmed infection in a staff member. There are now 21 open outbreaks at health-care institutions and eight in child-care settings.
According to the latest update from OPH, Ottawa has now administered 73,009 vaccine doses of the 80,540 total the city has received.

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There were 64,611 tests conducted in Ontario with a 2.4 per cent positivity rate, which has also flattened in recent days.

Provincial officials continue to track the spread of variants of concern, with 49 new cases of the B.1.1.7 strain identified Friday, including four in Ottawa. There are now 1,005 known cases of B.1.1.7 in Ontario and 13 in Ottawa.

There was one new case of B.1.351. There are now 42 known cases of that strain in Ontario, with two of those in Ottawa.

Another six cases of P.1 were found and there are now 34 cases in Ontario.

There are 6,859 other cases in the province where a mutation has been detected, though the lineage has not been determined. Those include 121 cases in Ottawa that remain under investigation.

COVID-19 VACCINE NEWS AND UPDATES

On the vaccination front, Ontario administered another single-day high of 43,503 vaccine doses across the province, with 1,062,910 total doses administered and 282,748 Ontarians now fully immunized with both shots.

According to the latest update from OPH, Ottawa has now administered 73,009 vaccine doses of the 80,540 total the city has received.

MORE COVID-19 NEWS AND UPDATES

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Wiliams on Thursday said the declines in case numbers, hospitalizations and ICU occupancy the province saw through February are now slowing.

Public health measures have decreased transmission and slowed the spread of variants of concern, Williams said, though with the B.1.1.7. variant, in particular, continuing to spread across Ontario, it is likely that cases, hospitalizations, and ICU admissions will soon increase.

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The next few weeks are “critical” to understanding the impact of the variants, Williams said, and there is still a period of risk before the pandemic likely recedes in the summer.

Williams said there is likely still “four to five months of clear, hard work” while Ontario administers vaccines to those most vulnerable.

University of Toronto Prof. Adalsteinn Brown, who joined Williams for a weekly update on the province’s modelling projections, said there is clear evidence the vaccines are working to reduce severe outcomes and deaths, but there are also some concerning trends developing in the province.

Daily case counts have increased in 24 of Ontario’s 34 public health units, and 14 of those have seen case numbers rise by more than 30 per cent.

“This growth isn’t random,” Brown warned, with mobility increasing in the province as public health restrictions are loosened, along with the spread of variants of concern.

“We can keep the gains we have made by watching the spread very closely, and by loosening public health measures only carefully,” Brown said. “We must be nimble in applying public health measures to extinguish flare-ups quickly.”

Brown also warned of a “significant backlog” of post-pandemic hospital care, with surgeries, screening and in particular mental health and addictions services under immense pressure, Brown said.

“There will be a substantial and prolonged surge in the need for post-pandemic care across all sectors,” he said Thursday.

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Vaccinations in long-term care homes, meanwhile, have been a “clear success,” he said.

“We know that vaccines work … especially if we deploy them strategically,” Brown said, and focusing vaccination efforts where they have the biggest impact on deaths and hospitalizations “are key to controlling the impact of the pandemic.”

There are 25 long-term care homes currently in outbreak in Ontario, a dramatic reduction from the pandemic’s peak, and 13 public health units have no home outbreaks.

  1. Ottawa paramedic Sébastien Dubé administers a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to his grandfather, Yvon Dubé, 88. He had not seen Yvon or his grandmother, Madeleine, in more than a year because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Ottawa paramedic vaccinates grandparents he hadn’t seen for a year

  2. A screen capture from a Twitter video by Ottawa Public Health, which enlisted the help of Ryan Reynolds.

    Ottawa Public Health ropes in Ryan Reynolds for message of ‘steady as she goes, Ottawa’

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Canadian Business During the Pandemic

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In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.

The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.

More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.

An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.

We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”

He said in a statement.

The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.

In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.

The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.

 

The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.

She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.

There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”

Jones said.

Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”

The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.

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Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures

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By Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.

Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.

“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.

Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”

Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.

“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.

Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.

“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.

($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)

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Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO

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By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”

“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.

The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.

It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.

Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.

Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.

Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.

($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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