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Premier says he hopes to ease restrictions in hotspots as early as next weekend – 680 News

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Premier Ford says he hopes to begin easing restrictions in COVID-19 hotspots as early as next weekend.

The 28 day step back for Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa into a modified stage 2 expires at 12:01 a.m. next Saturday and one week later in York Region.

In his daily COVID-19 update, Ford says the latest modelling supports the move.

“Based on what I’m seeing in the modelling, I’ve asked our public health experts to come back next week with a plan to begin to ease restrictions in a way that safely allows businesses to open up when the 28 days is over.”

Ford says the restrictions that closed indoor dining rooms, gyms, and other businesses were never intended to be long-term solutions but were necessary to avoid reaching a point where more drastic measures would be needed.

The province released modelling on Thursday that revealed the growth of the second wave has slowed.

When the Ford government introduced the modified Stage 2 restrictions back on Oct. 10, cases were doubling every 10 to 12 days.

While growth has slowed, cases are still on the rise, with Ontario’s seven-day average surpassing 900 for the first time on Friday.

Ontario restaurants ask province to explain restrictions, show COVID-19 data

A group from Ontario’s restaurant industry is calling on the provincial government to explain its decision to impose tighter COVID-19 restrictions on the sector.

A coalition that includes the industry association Restaurants Canada and a number of food service businesses has issued an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, asking to see what data the province relied on in setting its health measures.

The letter says no data have been provided so far that would suggest restaurants are a major point of transmission for the virus.

It notes restaurants have had to make significant investments in safety procedures and training, personal protective equipment and other measures, yet those in some regions are nonetheless being forced to stop serving customers indoors.

The document released yesterday by the province showed that in four COVID-19 hot spots — where indoor dining is currently banned — the proportion of outbreaks linked to restaurants and bars between Aug. 1 and Oct. 24 ranged between 3.2 and 27.14 per cent.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said the provincial health table recommended targeting any “risk sites” where transmission could potentially be higher

Hospital association says more funding is needed

Ontario’s hospitals are facing “unprecedented” financial pressures because of the pandemic, the head of the association representing them said Friday, asking the government to speed up funding promised to address COVID-19 costs.

Anthony Dale, president of the Ontario Hospital Association, said many hospitals are using lines of credit or funding previously earmarked for capital projects to pay for pandemic-response measures.

Hospital resources are stretched thin, and many facilities remain at or above capacity, Dale said.

“For the hospital sector, we are spending a king’s ransom to fight this pandemic,” Dale said. “The hospital sector is facing unprecedented, truly unprecedented, financial pressures.”

In August, the province set aside billions in new funding to address COVID-19 costs in the health-care system.

Dale said, however, that while the government is aware of the fiscal pressure hospitals are facing, only COVID-19 costs from March and April have been covered so far.

If the additional funding promised by the province doesn’t begin to flow soon, the facilities may eventually not be able make payroll, he said.

“We hope that would never seriously happen in a hospital, but the reality is, at a certain point in time you hit a wall,” he said. “You really lose your ability to pay for your daily operating costs … because you don’t have cash on hand.”

Dale said slowing community spread of the virus is also an important part of relieving the stress on hospital resources and, in turn, cutting costs.

Ford responded to a question about the letter Friday’s news conference, saying he looks forward to speaking with Dale, but wishes the OHA would call him before releasing open letters.

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'People should not go out' — Pandemic hitting Windsor-Essex harder than ever, top doc says – Windsor Star

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Roughly 1,000 of those cases were reported since Nov. 1

WINDSOR, ON. Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 -- This graph from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows the breakdown of COVID-19 exposure types in the region as of Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (VIA THE WECHU / WINDSOR STAR)
This graph from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows the breakdown of COVID-19 exposure types in the region as of Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Photo by Via the WECHU /Windsor Star

Approximately 25 per cent of recent cases have no epidemiological link, Ahmed said, meaning those individuals do not have a known exposure source, like a household contact with COVID-19 or exposure through a known workplace outbreak. In other words, a quarter of the region’s cases are being attributed to community spread.

The other most common infection source is household contact.

“When someone is infected, they are potentially infecting pretty much everyone else in their house,” Ahmed said. “Maybe, yes, you are healthy. Maybe you can recover from the virus, but some people cannot…. It’s something to be mindful of in terms of our responsibility in our activities when we are not at home.”

WINDSOR, ON. Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 -- This graph from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows the region's rate of COVID-19 infection is roughly 73 cases per 100,000 population as of Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (VIA THE WECHU / WINDSOR STAR)
This graph from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows the region’s rate of COVID-19 infection is roughly 73 cases per 100,000 population as of Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Photo by Via the WECHU /Windsor Star

The case rate for Windsor-Essex is currently 73 per 100,000 population, far exceeding the 40 case threshold that landed the region in the “red zone” with tightened restrictions on social gatherings, among other things.

Wastewater COVID-19 surveillance being performed by a team of University of Windsor researchers shows the prevalence of virus indicators in wastewater — shed by residents in fecal matter — is “clearly surpassing the active cases, so in the next couple of weeks we may see more cases,” Ahmed said.

WINDSOR, ON. Friday, Dec. 4, 2020 -- This graph from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows wastewater data collected by a team of University of Windsor researchers looking at the presence of COVID-19 indicators in the region's fecal matter on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (VIA THE WECHU / WINDSOR STAR)
This graph from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit shows wastewater data collected by a team of University of Windsor researchers looking at the presence of COVID-19 indicators in the region’s fecal matter on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. Photo by Via the WECHU /Windsor Star

Last week, approximately 6,500 COVID-19 tests were completed in Windsor-Essex, with about four per cent of those tests coming back positive.

To deal with the increased demand for testing, Erie Shores HealthCare is expanding its testing capacity and adding 50 additional appointments to its schedule, Ahmed said. That announcement comes one day after the top public health doctor expressed his concern over a days-long wait for testing appointments in the region.

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How the Wealthy Could Start a Black Market for Vaccines – Inside Edition

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  1. How the Wealthy Could Start a Black Market for Vaccines  Inside Edition
  2. Facebook to remove COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation  CTV News
  3. How many people need to be vaccinated for a return to normal?  Quartz
  4. Belgium’s only dry ice manufacturer overloaded | Corona vaccine | COVID-19 | World News  WION
  5. Hackers target groups in COVID-19 vaccine distribution, says IBM  Reuters
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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COVID-19: Alberta positivity rate reaches milestone of 10.5 per cent, province adds 1,828 new cases – Edmonton Journal

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Yiu said AHS also plans to increase the number of people who do contact tracing to 1,800 by the end of the year. She said it has been challenging to keep up with the demand following the surge in cases over the past six weeks.

Meanwhile, health-care workers are asking Albertans to stay home if they can and wear a mask at all times if they have to go out in public. In a media release on Friday, United Nurses of Alberta president Heather Smith said health-care workers won’t be able to get the virus under control if Albertans don’t follow public health measures.

On Thursday, Edmonton Public Schools recorded single cases linked to Bessie Nichols, Calder, Dr. Lila Fahlman, Homesteader, Eastglen, McNally, Harry Ainlay, Queen Elizabeth, Delton, Jan Reimer, T.D. Baker, Crawford Plains, Thorncliffe, Stratford, Kim Hung, Ross Sheppard and Evansdale. Two cases were linked to Mount Royal, Dr. Margaret Ann Armour and M.E. LaZerte.

Edmonton Catholic School Division recorded single cases linked to St. Francis Xavier, St. Elizabeth, St. Peter Centre, LINC – Daytime program, LINC – Evening program, Archbishop MacDonald, St. Oscar Romero,  St. Bonaventure, Our Lady of the Prairies, Mother Margaret Mary, LINC One World One Centre, St. Edmund and Holy Trinity. Two cases were linked to Our Lady of Peace.

Across Canada, there are 69,255 active cases and 12,407 deaths related to COVID-19 as of Thursday.

jlabine@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jefflabine

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