Ontario reported 459 additional cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, a figure consistent with new daily case counts seen throughout much of April.
The news comes after the province saw its lowest daily increase in three weeks yesterday, prompting Premier Doug Ford to tell reporters during his daily briefing that Ontario is “getting close to opening up.”
Ontario’s top doctor has said health officials would need to see two to four weeks of declining daily case counts before emergency measures can be loosened significantly.
The cases push the cumulative total since the outbreak began in January to 16,187, though 63 per cent are now considered resolved by Ontario Public Health. About 14 per cent of those instances, or 2,292 cases, are health-care workers, while about 11.6 per cent ended up requiring treatment in hospital.
Some 35 per cent of total cases are known to have come from community transmission, according to the Ministry of Health, while details on more than 37 per cent are still “pending.”
Ontario also confirmed 86 more COVID-19-linked deaths, bringing its official death toll to 1,082. However CBC News has compiled data from regional public health units and counted at least 1,145 deaths.
New workplace safety guidelines released
At his daily briefing on Thursday, Premier Doug Ford announced 65 new safety guidelines for businesses as the province prepares for a gradual reopening.
“We’re on the path to reopening the economy because we see that curve is flattening,” Ford said. “I’m laser focused on opening things up as quickly as we can.”
The guidelines are meant to protect workers and customers specifically in manufacturing, food manufacturing and processing, restaurant and food service, and the agricultural sector.
The new guidelines include:
Ways to ensure appropriate physical distancing, like eliminating pay-at-the-door options, holding team meetings outdoors, staggering shift times and using ground markings and barriers to manage traffic flow.
Changes to the workplace, like installing plexiglass barriers, increasing the air intake on building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to increase air flow, and using boot sanitizing trays.
Promoting proper workplace sanitation, providing personal protective equipment, substituting dry dusting with vacuuming, ensuring customer-facing staff are given hand sanitizer, providing a place to dispose of sanitizing wipes and enforcing handwashing before and after breaks.
The province also added 58 new labour inspectors. The employees, which include workers from the Technical Standards and Safety Authority and the Ontario College of Trades, will help outline COVID-19 safety guidelines to essential workplaces and will enforce emergency measures, including physical distancing.
‘That’s just wrong’: Ford lashes out at window-visit ban
Ford lashed out at a move by Ottawa’s director of long-term care to ban window visits at the facilities.
“That’s just wrong,” he said of the new restrictions announced Wednesday, which have since been condemned by Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson.
“Go visit your loved ones as far as I’m concerned. This is critical and hopefully it’s not the last time you see them. I’d go to the window,” Ford said.
The premier regularly visits his mother-in-law outside her long term care home. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 a week ago.
Watson says he wants a new plan in place by May 7.
Outbreaks in long-term care homes continue to spread, with health authorities now tracking infections in 190 of the province’s 626 facilities — nine more than in the previous 24 hours. Some 835 residents have died from the illness — nearly three quarters of all deaths in Ontario — while 2,352 more have been infected, 264 more than yesterday.
The ministry also reported 1,430 staff members in long-term care facilities have tested positive, an increase of 322 since the last update.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 went up again, from 977 to 999. However, the number of people being treated in intensive care units dropped slightly again, to 233 from 235. Patients on ventilators, a figure that has largely remained stable for several weeks, went down to 181 from 186.
Here’s a look at how medical staff at one Toronto hospital celebrated after one COVID-19 patient recovered enough to be taken off a ventilator.
In the previous day there were 12,928 tests completed, despite a pledge from the province to reach 14,000 tests a day by now.
However, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health said the number of test completed in the last 24 is “a new high for us.”
Williams said the target is to get to 19,000 test per day and added he hoped to surpass that number eventually.
That’s the target, but I don’t think that’s the end,” he told reporters at his daily update on Thursday.
Ontario college ‘optimistic’ students will return to campus this fall
One Ontario college says it is “optimistic” students will be able to return on campus for classes in the fall.
Sheridan College says it is preparing to welcome students in September, but adds it is also working on contingency plans in case physical distancing measures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 remain in place.
Those plans include remote learning and staggered access to campus.
Many schools have said it’s still unclear what the fall semester will look like as the public health emergency changes daily.
Renewed calls for race-based data
There were also renewed calls Thursday for Ontario to collect race-based data around COVID-19, with Liberal MPP Michaeul Couteau issuing a letter to Ford.
“In the United States, we have seen how Black and other minority communities are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” the letter says in part.
“We need to be able to analyze our own health data in the same way in order to make informed decisions to fight the crisis.”
NDP leader Andrea Horwath sent a similar message in a letter to the premier April 16, saying “black, Indigenous and racialized Ontarians already face poorer health outcomes and barriers to accessing services.”
“COVID-19 will only exacerbate these inequities unless we collect the data to guide our response.”
Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, York and Caledon have already agreed to collect race-based data at the municipal level.
The province has said its Anti-Racism Act does not authorize health-care providers to collect such data, because of privacy considerations.
Canada also doesn’t track race or ethnicity as part of its COVID-19 data collection at the federal level.
New 511 app for truckers
The province announced the launch of a free app on Thursday that will help truck drivers find rest stops and navigate construction areas along highways.
The “Ontario 511 app” allows truck drivers to see images from 600 cameras to get up-to-date information on construction, collisions and road closures, a release sent out by the province on Thursday said. It also has a map of open rest areas and fuel stops.
“The creation of the 511 app is much appreciated and comes at a perfect time for the hard-working drivers out on the roads helping to steer Ontarians out of this crisis,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association, in the release.
Coronavirus cases in Canada continue steady decline, death toll increases by 139 – Global News
New novel coronavirus cases in Canada have been dropping for the past several days, with Ontario and Quebec continuing to account for the vast majority of new cases and deaths.
Canada saw 637 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported on Thursday, slightly lower than 705 a day earlier and 994 a week earlier, bringing the country’s caseload to more than 93,500 cases.
The national death toll rose by 139 deaths, for a total of more than 7,600.
New modelling data revealed Thursday that Canada could see up to 9,400 deaths by mid-June.
Quebec remains the hardest hit province, with 55 per cent of the country’s cases and more than 60 per cent of Canada’s fatalities. The province reported 259 new cases and 91 deaths on Thursday — a drop from last week’s numbers, which hovered in the 500 range.
More than 52,000 cases have been reported overall, with over 17,000 recoveries. Nearly 4,900 people have died.
Ontario reported 356 new cases and 45 new deaths, bringing its figures to nearly 29,500 cases and more than 2,300 deaths.
British Columbia saw no new deaths on Thursday and five new cases, as well as four “epidemiologically-linked” cases — people who are symptomatic or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case, but haven’t been tested.
Global News has only included the five lab-confirmed cases in its official tally.
Coronavirus: Team sports to gradually resume in Quebec
B.C. has seen more than 2,600 cases and 166 deaths, along with more than 2,200 recoveries. The number of people in hospital in the province has hit an 11-week low.
Alberta reported 15 new cases and one new death Thursday. More than 7,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 146 people have died. More than 6,600 people are considered recovered so far.
Saskatchewan reported just one new case and saw its active COVID-19 cases drop below five per cent. The province has seen nearly 650 cases so far, including more than 600 recoveries and 11 deaths.
New Brunswick reported one new case as well as its first COVID-19-related death on Thursday.
Coronavirus: Toronto starts preparations for the return of patios
The province’s first death related to the coronavirus is linked to the ongoing outbreak in the Campbellton region — a cluster that has been traced back to a doctor who contracted the virus in Quebec and did not self-isolate upon his return.
The man who died was an 84-year-old resident of a long-term care home in Atholville, N.B.
Nova Scotia reported one new death, bringing its tally to 1,058 cases and 61 deaths, as its active case total continued to go down. The majority of its death toll is linked to one long-term care home in Halifax.
No new cases
Three provinces didn’t report any new cases or deaths on Thursday, while two territories that have seen all their COVID-19 cases resolved have not seen any new ones. Nunavut is the only region in Canada that has not reported a positive case.
Manitoba says it has seven active cases, out of a total of 287 lab-confirmed cases. That number includes seven deaths so far. The province says it has no COVID-19 hospitalizations at the moment.
Newfoundland and Labrador is left with two active cases out of 261 total cases, including three deaths.
Globally, the virus has caused more than 1.8 million cases and close to 389,000 deaths, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
State Department says U.S. will reassess intelligence-sharing with Canada if it lets Huawei into 5G – CBC.ca
The United States is prepared to reassess its intelligence-sharing arrangement with Canada if Huawei is given the green light to take part in building Canada’s 5G networks, a State Department spokesperson said today.
The federal government still has not announced its decision on whether the Chinese telecom giant will be allowed to participate in building Canada’s next-generation wireless networks, despite more than a year and a half of assessing the question.
“We in the U.S. government have made it very clear to all of our friends and allies around the world that if Huawei is allowed into a country’s national security systems, we will have to protect our intelligence-sharing relationship,” Morgan Ortagus, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, told CBC News today.
“We’ll have to make an assessment if we can continue sharing intelligence with countries who have Huawei inside their most sensitive technology, in their most sensitive national security areas.
“We think that the Canadian government will make their own sovereign decisions and what’s best for Canada’s national security.”
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Huawei and 5G
The prime minister didn’t say today when Canadians can expect a decision on Huawei and 5G, or whether he’s willing to risk injuring the relationship with Canada’s closest ally by allowing the Chinese telecom giant to participate in the networks.
“Every step of the way, we have listened to our security agencies, our intelligence agencies, worked with our allies,” Trudeau said in response to a reporter’s question today. “We will make the right decision for Canadians to both keep Canadians and businesses safe while at the same time ensuring competitiveness in our telecom industry.”
Some private companies aren’t waiting for Ottawa to make a decision. Bell and Telus announced yesterday that they would not be working with Huawei as they pursue their 5G plans. Instead, both are opting to use equipment from European companies Ericsson and Nokia.
Washington has long argued that Huawei poses a national security threat because the Chinese government has the power to compel private companies like Huawei to hand over sensitive information. Huawei’s critics say they fear the company would conduct espionage on behalf of Beijing.
U.S. tries to clip Huawei’s wings
Contacted by CBC News, Huawei’s VP for corporate affairs in Canada said State’s “threats” are consistent with “the Trump administration’s preference for bullying and coercing rivals and allies alike. “
“Huawei has operated in Canada for more than a decade without a single security incident related to our equipment. Not one,” said Alykhan Velshi. “We look forward to the Government of Canada making an evidence-based decision on Huawei’s role in Canada’s 5G rollout.
“This decision should be made by, in, and for Canada, not Donald Trump’s Washington.”
In recent weeks, while much of the world has been focused on the pandemic’s rising death toll, Washington has announced new measures aimed at curbing Huawei’s global influence.
On May 15, the U.S. Department of Commerce changed its export control rules to restrict “… Huawei’s ability to use U.S. technology and software to design and manufacture its semiconductors abroad.”
The move is meant to make it harder for Huawei to obtain the supplies it needs, to significantly raise its operating costs and to force the company to rely on goods that may be less reliable and more vulnerable.
As a middle power, Canada often has found itself taking collateral diplomatic damage from tensions between U.S. and China, as both superpowers fight to become the global leader in technology.
That damage started ramping up in December of 2018, when Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request.
Beijing immediately demanded her release and executed swift retaliatory actions. Two Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — were arbitrarily detained in China; they’ve been held for more than 500 days. Beijing took trade action as well, halting large purchases of Canadian canola and, for a time, Canadian pork.
Ortagus condemned China’s imprisonment of the two Canadians. She said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has brought this issue up regularly during high-profile meetings with his Chinese counterparts.
“The United States, we’re taking a lot of actions, doing everything we can behind the scenes with the Canadian government,” she said.
Asked if the United States might deploy sanctions to pressure China to release the two men, Ortagus said “we’re not going to preview any public actions that we may take.”
Ontario, Quebec account for more than 90% of national COVID-19 cases: federal data – CBC.ca
While new federal figures show the emergence of new cases of COVID-19 is slowing in some parts of Canada, the pandemic continues — and some regions and age groups are being hit particularly hard.
During a briefing in Ottawa this morning, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and her colleague Dr. Howard Njoo walked Canadians through their updated modelling on the number of COVID-19-related illnesses and deaths Canada could see over the next few weeks.
The new figures show that Canada could see between 97,990 and 107,454 cases and between 7,700 and 9,400 deaths by June 15.
The report highlights how different provinces are experiencing the pandemic.
Ontario and Quebec have accounted for more than 90 per cent of national COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, according to Tam and Njoo.
There has been no community transmission in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and no cases have been reported to date in Nunavut.
The numbers show COVID-19 is still disproportionately hitting Canadians in long-term care and seniors’ homes; they represent 18 per cent of all cases and 82 per cent of Canada’s 7,495 deaths.
It’s the third time Canada’s leading public health officials have given an update on the expected impact the novel coronavirus will have on the Canadian population. It comes as some provinces have reported a downturn in cases and are beginning to reopen their economies, including some schools, stores and parks.
The doctors said the evidence shows health measures have been effective in controlling the epidemic. They also warned that lifting those measures without strengthening other public health measures likely would cause the epidemic to rebound.
‘Not out of the woods:’ Trudeau
“The data shows that we are continuing to make progress in the fight against this virus. In many communities, the number of new cases is low and we can trace where there came from. That’s an encouraging sign that the virus is slowing and in some places even stopping,” Trudeau told reporters outside his home at Rideau Cottage Thursday morning.
“But I want to be very clear, we’re not out of the woods. The pandemic is still threatening the health and safety of Canadians.”
As of Thursday morning, Canada has 93,085 confirmed and presumptive novel coronavirus cases, with 51,048 of the cases considered recovered or resolved, according to data compiled by The Canadian Press.
Ontario reported 356 additional cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as the province’s network of labs processed a record number of tests for the novel coronavirus.
The 1.2 per cent jump in cases brings the total in Ontario since the outbreak began in late January to 29,403.
The federal projection figures don’t always pan into reality.
At the end of April, the government estimated that Canada was on a path to between 53,196 and 66,835 cases of COVID-19, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths, by May 5.
According to CBC News figures, as of May 5 there were more than 62,000 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases and 4,166 people had died.
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