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Ontario sees two new deaths as COVID-19 cases rise by 211 – Toronto Star

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Ontario has another 211 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a jump of 18 per cent that includes a second worker at the Real Canadian Superstore in Oshawa and a Mississauga firefighter.

There have been two more deaths, bringing the total to 21, according to Ministry of Health statistics released Sunday.

Loblaw said the Oshawa store on Gibb St. has been shuttered temporarily. It’s the same outlet that employed Ontario’s youngest COVID-19 fatality, 48-year-old Keith Saunders, who died Thursday.

“With the community spread of COVID-19, it’s unfortunate but inevitable that some stores will be affected,” said Catherine Thomas, senior director of external communication for the company.

“We’ve closed the store, brought in third-party sanitization experts, and worked closely with local public health to ensure we reopen safely and that colleagues who may have been directly exposed are not in the store.” The store reopened later Sunday morning.

Ontario has now recorded 1,355 cases of the new coronavirus, including the 21 deaths — mostly the vulnerable elderly — and eight cases that have been cleared since the outbreak began in late January.

The numbers are considerably higher than last weekend, when Ontario had just three deaths and 380 cases.

Across Canada, there have been 63 deaths and 5,866 cases, federal chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam told a news conference in Ottawa on Sunday.

She served an early warning that Canadians will have to be flexible with upcoming religious celebrations such as Easter and Ramadan, which “will need to be adapted” with physical distancing in place.

Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett said the station where the affected firefighter worked has been closed temporarily and its territory covered by nearby firehouses.

“We’ve got extra decontamination processes,” he added, noting several firefighters who were in close contact are home in self-isolation.

The number of Ontario cases cleared — just eight — is artificially low because it does not reflect the number of people who have recovered but not been tested as priorities shift to the seriously ill, health-care workers, the elderly and First Nations.

A surge in case numbers from returning travellers who have caught COVID-19 and transmitted it to close contacts, as well as infections acquired in the community, has left public health units swamped.

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That’s why the exact cause of infection in about 40 per cent of Ontario cases has not yet been traced, let alone people they may have put at risk for the virus, provincial health officials say.

The federal government says community transmission now accounts for 65 per cent of cases, with travel declining to 35 per cent.

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Environment Canada issues heat warning for Montreal and Laval regions – CTV News Montreal

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MONTREAL —
Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Montreal and the region with warm, humid air settling over the area.

“The combined values of temperature and humidity will give humidex values that will reach 40,” Environment Canada says.

The heat is expected hit the Montreal, Laval, Longueuil and Chateauguay areas and taper off in the evening as precipitation arrives.

During a heat wave, residents are reminded to drink plenty of water and stay in a cool area.

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No break from the heat in sight as Environment Canada issues alerts – SooToday

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Temperatures in the 30s are expected for the Sault and area Thursday and into the weekend, says Environment Canada. The humidex is going to make it feel more like 36 degrees Celsius and overnight lows will range from 16 to 20.

The full text of a release from Environment Canada follows:

Heat Warning in effect for:

  • Sault Ste. Marie – St. Joseph Island
  • Agawa – Lake Superior Park
  • Searchmont – Montreal River Harbour – Batchawana Bay

A heat event is expected Thursday into the weekend.

Inland from the Great Lakes, daytime high temperatures near 30 with humidex values near 36 are expected over the next few days. Overnight lows will range from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius.

Areas near the Great Lakes will feel slightly cooler temperatures.

Please refer to your public forecast for further details on expected temperatures.

Hot and humid air can also bring deteriorating air quality and can result in the Air Quality Health Index to approach the high risk category.

Extreme heat affects everyone.

The risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.

Outdoor workers should take regularly scheduled breaks in a cool place.

Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ONstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #ONStorm.

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Fed Looks to Bolster Forward Guidance; Mulls Yield Curve Control , Minutes Show – Investing.com

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© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim

Investing.com – Federal Reserve policymakers discussed the need to bolster forward guidance in the coming months when they met last month, and suggested that the jury was still out on the use of yield curve control, according to the Fed’s June meeting minutes released Wednesday.

“Various participants noted that the economy is likely to need support from highly accommodative monetary policy for some time and that it will be important in coming months for the Committee to provide greater clarity regarding the likely path of the federal funds rate and asset purchases,” according to the minutes. 

There was also support to tie forward guidance to economic metrics, with a number of policymakers suggesting future monetary policy be linked to inflation outcomes. 

“Participants generally indicated support for outcome-based forward guidance. A number of participants spoke favorably of forward guidance tied to inflation outcomes that could possibly entail a modest temporary overshooting of the committee’s longer-run inflation goal but where inflation fluctuations would be centered on 2 percent over time,” the minutes showed. 

Fed members discussed two tools for conducting monetary policy when the federal funds rate is at its effective lower bound, including forward guidance and large-scale asset purchase programs in supporting employment and inflation and an approach that caps or targets interest rates along the yield curve — a measure allowing central banks to target specific government bond yields through the purchase and sale of bonds, to help keep lending rates near zero.

Debate Over Yield Curve Control

Pointing to a review of the yield caps or targets (YCT) policies the Federal Reserve followed during and after World War II and that the Bank of Japan and the Reserve Bank of Australia are currently employing, nearly all Federal Open Market Committee members indicated that they had many questions regarding the costs and benefits of such an approach. 

“The three experiences suggested that credible yield curve target (YCT) policies can control government bond yields… and may not require large central bank purchases of government debt,” the minutes showed. “But the staff also highlighted the potential for YCT policies to require the central bank to purchase very sizable amounts of government debt under certain circumstances … and the possibility that, under YCT policies, monetary policy goals might come in conflict with public debt management goals, which could pose risks to the independence of the central bank.”

With the central bank is likely to persist with ensuring rates remain lower for longer, yield curve control is unlikely to make into the Fed’s toolbox in the immediate future. “Yield curve control is still under discussion, though FOMC members still have “many questions” on the costs and benefits. It’s probably not imminent,” Pantheon Macroeconomics said. 

Following their June 9-10 meeting, Fed officials left interest rates in the range of 0%-to-0.25% and signaled that near zero rates would continue through at least 2022.

In their post-meeting statement, they vowed to persist with bond purchases “at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning, thereby fostering effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions.”

The Fed committed to buying $80 billion a month in Treasuries and $40 billion a month in agency mortgage backed securities.

The Fed’s balance sheet has declined by $12.4 billion to $7.08 trillion as of June. 24, compared with the week prior, driven by a decline in demand for the Fed’s dollar swap lines from overseas central banks.

The U.S. central bank’s balance sheet stood at about $4 trillion just before the pandemic struck in the U.S. in early March.

Threat of a Second Wave

Since the Fed’s last meeting, the U.S. has seen a greater resurgence in infections that has forced states to roll back plans to speed up the pace of reopening businesses. 

In testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, acknowledged the threat of a potential second wave of infections on the economy.

A second wave could “force government and force people to withdraw again from economic activity … and “undermine public confidence, which is what we need to get back to lots of economic activity,” Powell said.

“Output and employment remain far below their pre-pandemic levels. The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” he added.

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