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Ontario reports more than 2300 new COVID-19 cases as hospitalizations spike – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Health officials in Ontario are reporting more than 2,300 new COVID-19 infections, marking the sixth consecutive day in which case numbers have remained above the 2,000 mark.

The 2,336 new cases reported Tuesday mark an increase over Monday’s total when 2,094 were logged. The province added 2,448 cases on Sunday, 2,453 on Saturday, and 2,169 on Friday.

With 36,071 tests processed in the last 24 hours, the province says its COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 6.2 per cent, representing an increase of .1 per cent over the previous day.

Ontario has confirmed 347,570 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including 320,409 recoveries and 7,351 deaths.

Fourteen deaths related to the disease were recorded in the previous 24-hour period, according to data made available by the Ministry of Health.

The seven-day average for number of cases logged in Ontario is 2,207. A week ago, that number was 1,667.

Meanwhile, the province reported its highest number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations since early February.

Right now, there are 1,090 patients in hospital with the disease. The last time hospitalizations were that high was on Feb. 4 when there were 1,101 patients in hospital.

Of those patients, 387 are being treated in the ICU and 249 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. 

A new report from Ontario’s science advisory table released Monday showed that COVID-19 variants of concern now account for 67 per cent of all lab-confirmed cases in the province.

Moreover, the report revealed that those infections are starting to have a “substantial impact” on the healthcare system due to a higher likelihood of hospitalization and even death. 

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the cases logged Tuesday were found in Toronto (727), Peel Region (434), York Region (229), Durham Region (194), Ottawa (144), and Hamilton (123).

Toronto, Peel Region, and Hamilton are currently operating in the grey zone of the province’s colour-coded COVID-19 framework, which holds the strictest levels of public health measures short of a complete shutdown of all non-essential businesses.

Last week, the province adjusted its emergency brake system to allow for the immediate implementation of the restrictions found in the previously lifted province-wide shutdown if there is a “rapid acceleration” of COVID-19 transmission in any public health unit.

The updated protocol also allows the brake to be used if a public health unit’s health system is at risk of becoming overwhelmed.

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, accused the Ontario government of losing control of the pandemic in a tweet published Tuesday.

“410 COVID ICU patients. 46 new patients since yesterday which is a one-day record. Claiming there are ICU beds which can’t be staffed won’t help us. @ongov has lost control over the pandemic. Please stay home if you can,” he said while citing data from a Critical Care Services Ontario report.

York Region, Durham Region, and Ottawa are currently placed in the red zone, which allows for such non-essential activities as indoor dining at restaurants and bars, with a limit of 50 per cent capacity or 50 people, whichever is less. 

Cases of COVID-19 U.K. variant reach 1,800

The province confirmed another 51 cases of the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7 Tuesday, pushing the case total for the strain that was first found in the U.K. to 1,800.

Eight cases of P.1 (Brazilian variant) were also confirmed, which pushes the case total to 90.

Six more cases of the B.1.351 (South African variant) were also found, bringing the case total to 69.

More than 20,100 cases have screened positive for a mutation but have not yet been linked to a known variant of concern.

Update on vaccinations

The province says 313,889 people have received both their first and second shots of a COVID-19 vaccine and are considered to be fully vaccinated.

More than 2.1 million needles have gone into arms since the province began inoculating residents in December with 70,645 shots administered yesterday. 

Backstory:

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times

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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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