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Number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario tops 10,000 –



Ontario reported 485 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday morning, bringing the official number to more than 10,000.

A total of 514 people have died of the virus, according to the provincial government,. The number includes 233 long-term care residents and one staff member.

CBC News, however, has collected data from regional public health units and counted at least 573 deaths in Ontario, including two health-care workers. The new CBC number shows an increase of 20 deaths since Friday night.

Nearly half of Ontario’s total 10,010 cases are now considered resolved.

However, today’s data may be incomplete, the health ministry noted. Technical issues prevented data from Toronto Public Health from feeding into provincial data, Health Minister Christine Elliot said Saturday, noting they are working on fixing the issue.

Of the people with COVID-19:

  • 828 people have been hospitalized 
  • 250 people are in the intensive care unit, 197 of whom are on a ventilator.
  • 1,139 healthcare workers have contracted the virus.

The daily average case growth rate was reported at around 5 per cent on Saturday. The increase in new cases had held steady at around 6 per cent for more than a week.

Revised, updated modelling coming on Monday

At a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Ontario’s chief medical officer Dr. David Williams said his team will share revised, updated modelling on Monday.

“We’re looking forward to hearing that to see how well have we done, where are we projecting now, what should be our focus now,” Williams said.

“Ontarians are going to hear that in some aspects we’ve done well so far.”

Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. David Williams, gestures during a news conference on Saturday. (CBC)

Williams said the next two-week period will be very important, even as he noted that the growth-rate of the virus has been going down across Canada, including Ontario. 

He said that “a smaller and smaller percentage of people” are coming forward for testing and are showing positive results. 

“We’re going to be looking at data to see how we’re doing Ontario-wide, regionally to inform decision-making,” Williams said.

$20 million for Ontario vaccine research

Premier Doug Ford announced $20 million for research to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, saying there is “no reason” a vaccine can’t come from Ontario.

Researchers can submit proposals until April 24. The government wants proposals with a “high chance of success” that can get results within one year—or two years at a maximum, said Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano on Saturday.

“We believe we can find that vaccine right here in Ontario,” Romano said.

Another COVID-19 death at Anson Place

On Saturday Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville — the site of one of Ontario’s deadliest outbreaks — confirmed yet another death linked to COVID-19

“Anson Place Care Centre is deeply saddened to report that one additional resident has passed away due to COVID-19, executive director Lisa Roth said in a statement.

“This news, unfortunately, brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths at Anson Place Care Centre to 23.”

Out of the 23 deaths, 20 were within the care centre and three were within the retirement residence, Roth said.

She added that the confirmed cases have increased from 70 to 71 residents, with 50 from the care centre and 21 from the retirement residence.

Union asks government to take control of 2 care homes

Citing “serious concerns” about management, one healthcare union has asked the provincial government to take over control of Eatonville Care Centre and Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville.

Between the two facilities, “46 people have died that we are aware of, but the actual number is likely higher,” said Service Employees International Union Healthcare president Sharleen Stewart in an open letter to the premier and health minister.  She noted that Eatonville and Anson Place are owned by the same company.

“Our members working on the frontline of these facilities have lost all confidence that everything that can be done is being done to keep people safe and protected.”

“The provincial governments of Quebec and British Columbia have used their authorities to investigate where necessary and assume control when management fail to uphold their obligations to staff and residents,” the letter said.

“We believe management at these facilities have failed.”

Minister of Lonterm Care Merrilee Fullerto said several groups are coordinating to help struggling long-term care homes, including Trillium Health.

But, she said, “Ontario does not manage homes.”

Ontario’s home management situation has “evolved differently” from British Colombia and Quebec, she said.

108 long-term care homes with outbreaks

There have been 1,322 cases reported among long-term care residents, and 637 among staff as of Saturday.

Testing has increased at long-term care facilities, which saw a rising number of COVID-19 cases this week. Of the new cases on Friday, nearly 60 per cent were from long-term care homes.

There are now 108 long-term care homes in Ontario reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, which is roughly one out of every six facilities province-wide. 

Four long-term care homes in Ontario have reported more than 20 deaths each:

  • Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon: 29 deaths.
  • Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto: 31 deaths.
  • Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville. 23 deaths.
  • Seven Oaks in Toronto: 22 deaths.

However, some families of long-term care residents are demanding answers about unclear communication on the spread of COVID-19 infections in certain facilities. 

The SEIU Healthcare president also requested an immediate meeting with the premier to discuss extra steps to protect frontline workers.

One of the union’s longtime members, a “caring and compassionate” personal support worker in Scarborough, recently died after contracting COVID-19.

Community cases likely ‘peaked’

While testing is ramping up among long-term care homes, case numbers in the general community are going down, Williams said earlier on Saturday.

Among cases in the community, “I feel we have peaked,” said Williams, speaking on CBC Radio’s Fresh Air Saturday morning. He noted officials will need to confirm with projections from data modellers.

But, he said, this doesn’t mean the province can go back to normal — that would be a “big mistake.”

Bending the community curve means hospitals can “take a breath” and assess things, while attention and resources can go into long-term care and retirement homes, Williams said.

If community and long-term care numbers had peaked at same time, the system would have been overloaded, he said.

‘What’s the new normal going to be?’

The province will have to look at when to start dialling back physical distancing measures. But there’s a question around “what’s the new normal going to be?” said Williams.

In the future, people will have to have open dialogue about resuming normal activities, he said — but with less “casualness” than before.

“Every Ontarian has worked hard at this,” he said, and the province doesn’t want to see that effort “thwarted.”

Right now, we can’t “just throw the doors open,” said Williams, as Ontario’s numbers are still coming down.

“That would be a big mistake.”

City officials hold talks on how to restart Toronto

Toronto Mayor John Tory met with city officials on Saturday to talk about how to “safely restart the city” and he said what is needed is a “very careful plan.”

The city is mapping out plans right now 

“When exactly we restart the city depends on each and every one of us,” Tory said.

“We are not there yet.”

Outbreaks at 80+ Toronto health-care facilities, shelters

Meanwhile, more than 80 Toronto health-care facilities and shelters are experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 as experts warn the city’s daily new cases could continue to spike, even as the number of cases province-wide may be levelling off.

In total, 102 deaths — primarily in long-term care homes — have been reported at these Toronto sites so far.

Toronto’s full case count is roughly a third of all 9,500 or so cases reported across Ontario.

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Provincial border bans during pandemic anger barred Canadians, spark lawsuits –



Lesley Shannon of Vancouver was infuriated when New Brunswick rejected her request last month to enter the province to attend her mother’s burial. 

“I’m mystified, heartbroken and angry,” said Shannon on Wednesday. “They’re basically saying my mother’s life has no value.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and the three territories have temporarily barred Canadian visitors from entering their borders unless they meet specific criteria, such as travelling for medical treatment. 

The provinces and territories say the extreme measures are necessary to protect their residents from the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness. 

But the border bans have fuelled criticism from civil rights advocates who argue barring fellow Canadians is unconstitutional. The travel restrictions have also angered Canadians denied entry for travel they believe is crucial. 

“I’m not trying to go to my aunt’s or cousin’s funeral. This is my mother, my last living parent,” said Shannon, who grew up in Rothesay, N.B.

Lesley Shannon of Vancouver, right, pictured with her late mother, Lorraine, was infuriated when New Brunswick rejected her request last month to enter the province to attend her mother’s burial. (Submitted by Lesley Shannon)

Protecting health of its citizens

On Thursday, shortly after CBC News asked for comment on Shannon’s case, the New Brunswick government announced it will reopen its borders starting June 19 to Canadian travellers with immediate family or property in New Brunswick. It also plans to grant entry to people attending a close family member’s funeral or burial.

The province’s Campbellton region, however, remains off limits.

Shannon was happy to hear the news, but is unsure at this point if she’ll be allowed to enter the province in time for her mother’s burial. She would first have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival, as required the province, and the cemetery holding her mother’s body told her the burial must happen soon.

“I’m just hoping that [permission comes] fast enough for me.”

New Brunswick told CBC News that restricting out-of-province visitors has served as a key way to protect the health of its citizens.

“It’s necessary because of the threat posed by travel: all but a handful of New Brunswick’s [COVID-19] cases are travel cases,” said Shawn Berry, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, in an email.

Legal challenges

Kim Taylor of Halifax was so upset over being denied entry in early May to attend her mother’s funeral in Newfoundland and Labrador she launched a lawsuit against the province.

“I certainly feel like the government has let me and my family down,” she said.

It’s not right. No province in Canada can shut its borders to Canadian citizens.– John Drover, lawyer

Shortly after speaking publicly about her case, Taylor got permission to enter the province —11 days after initially being rejected. But the court challenge is still going ahead — on principle.

“It’s not right. No province in Canada can shut its borders to Canadian citizens,” alleged Taylor’s lawyer, John Drover. 

Kim Taylor said Newfoundland and Labrador’s decision to deny her entry into the province following her mother’s death exacerbated her grief. (CBC)

Violates charter, CCLA says

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has joined the lawsuit and has sent letters to each of the provinces and territories banning Canadian visitors, outlining its concerns. 

The CCLA argues provinces and territories barring Canadians violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that every Canadian has the right to live and work in any province. 

The CCLA said if a province or territory limits those rights, its reasons must be justified. 

“So far, what we’ve seen from these governments hasn’t convinced us that there is good evidence that these limits are reasonable,” said Cara Zwibel, director of CCLA’s fundamental freedoms program.

“The existence of a virus in and of itself is not enough of a reason.”

Cara Zwibel is director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s fundamental freedoms program. The CCLA argues provinces and territories barring Canadians violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Submitted by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association)

Newfoundland and Labrador also face a proposed class-action lawsuit launched this month, representing Canadians denied entry who own property in the province.

“The issue that our clients take is that this [restriction] is explicitly on geographic grounds and that seems to be contrary to the Charter of Rights,” said Geoff Budden, a lawyer with the suit, which has not yet been certified.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government told CBC News it’s reviewing the lawsuits. They have both been filed in the province’s Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball defended the province’s travel restrictions, arguing they remain necessary to avoid spreading the virus.

“This is put in place to protect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians; it’s not about shutting people out,” he said. 

WATCH | Inside the fight against COVID-19:

[embedded content]

What about a 14-day isolation?

The rest of Canada’s provinces have each advised against non-essential travel for now but are still allowing Canadian visitors to enter their province. Nova Scotia and Manitoba, however, require that visitors self-isolate for 14 days. CCLA’s Zwibel said that rule may be a less restrictive way for a province to protect its residents during the pandemic. 

“The Charter of Rights does require that if governments do place limits on rights, they do so in a way that impairs them as little as possible,” she said. 

Back in Vancouver, a frustrated Shannon points out that New Brunswick is already allowing temporary foreign workers into the province — as long as they self-isolate for 14 days. However, her invitation is still pending.

“It’s very upsetting to think I’m less welcome in New Brunswick than somebody who was not even born in Canada,” she said.

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Ontario, Quebec continue to account for majority of Canada’s new novel coronavirus cases –



Despite hundreds of new novel coronavirus cases still being reported in Ontario and Quebec, the number of overall cases across Canada continued to trend downward Friday.

More than 600 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported on Friday raised the national tally past 94,000 cases overall. More than 52,000 people are considered recovered, with more than 1.9 million tests conducted.

The national death toll went up by 66 deaths, for a total of 7,703.

How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

Quebec accounted for the majority of the daily death toll once again. The province has been the hardest-hit region in Canada for the past few weeks, with 55 per cent of the national caseload and nearly 5,000 deaths (more than 60 per cent of Canada’s death toll).

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Quebec reported 50 new deaths and 255 new cases on Friday. More than 17,700 people are deemed recovered in the province.

Ontario reported 344 new cases and 15 new deaths, leaving the province with nearly 30,000 cases and more than 2,300 deaths. More than 23,000 people have recovered from the virus.

Coronavirus: Ontario resumes short-term rentals

Coronavirus: Ontario resumes short-term rentals

B.C. reported one new case and one new death, for a total of 2,628 cases and 167 deaths. The province has seen 2,272 people recover so far.

The Prairie provinces recorded new cases in the single digits. Alberta saw seven new cases — the lowest daily number recorded by the province since March 12.

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Manitoba reported two new cases, bringing its total to 289 cases and seven deaths, while Saskatchewan reported one new case.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Canada could see up to 9,400 total deaths by June 15, new modelling shows

All four Atlantic provinces reported no new cases or deaths on Friday. Prince Edward Island’s 27 cases have been resolved for weeks now, Newfoundland and Labrador has two active cases left out of 261 cases and three deaths, and Nova Scotia, where 61 people have died so far, saw bars and restaurants reopen.

New Brunswick reported its first COVID-19-related death on Thursday and has mandated face coverings in public buildings. Out of 136 cases, 121 are recovered.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau asked why his government didn’t collect race-based data

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau asked why his government didn’t collect race-based data

The Northwest Territories and the Yukon continue to see no new cases, having resolved all their cases for some time. Nunavut remain the only region in Canada that hasn’t reported a positive case of COVID-19 so far.

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Worldwide, COVID-19 has resulted in more than 6.7 million cases and nearly 394,000 deaths, according to figures tallied by Johns Hopkins University.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'Safe restart' of Canadian economy will take 6-8 months, Freeland says – CTV News



A ‘safe restart’ of the Canadian economy will likely take at least half a year, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday, a day after Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam cautioned that relaxing current restrictions too much or too soon could result in an “explosive growth” of new cases.

“One other thing that we would like to really underscore is what we are talking about is the safe restart right now. So this is not a long-term plan,” Freeland told reporters when asked about the government’s plans for the $14 billion earmarked to help provinces and territories.

“This is for ensuring a safe restart over the next six to eight months. And I think it’s important for Canadians to understand that’s the timeframe that we are focused on.”

Canada is fast approaching 95,000 COVID-19 cases and has recorded more than 7,700 deaths across the country. Most provinces and territories have begun reporting no or very few cases and deaths and are beginning to look at how to restart the economy, but Ontario and Quebec are still reporting close to or morethan 300 new cases a day and numerous deaths. The two provinces now account for more than 90 percent of the cases, but have also begun plans for reopening.

Tam said Thursday that until an effective vaccine or treatment becomes available, Canada needsto remain vigilant with its containment efforts to prevent an “explosive” second wave, with the latest federal modelling showing that another peak was possible in October without sufficient prevention measures.

The last time the federal government made a projection was in late April, when it estimated that the country was on track to report between 53,196 and 66,835 cases of COVID-19, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths. In reality, there were 62,046 confirmed cases and 4,043 people had died by May 5.

Freeland said the government understands that the needs of each province and territory vary a great deal, and that it wanted to work collaboratively with them.

“We really are approaching this by saying to the provinces and territories, we understand that a safe restart is essential.  And that it is expensive.”

With files from Ottawa news Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello

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