Dear OPHA Members,
This past weekend saw some change in the provincial public health measures announced last Friday by Premier Ford to tackle COVID-19. We wanted to ensure you were aware of these changes as well as other recent provincial and federal developments and announcements that occurred since the summary we provided to you last Friday.
- Playgrounds to Remain Open:
- This past Sunday, the Ontario government reversed its decision to close playgrounds. The Premier noted that “our regulations will be amended to allow playgrounds, but gatherings outside will still be enforced.” So far, there have been no shifts on any other recreational amenities, which remain closed.
- Reduced Police Powers:
- The province also changed its instructions to law enforcement agencies that allowed for random police checks of motorists and pedestrians after a majority of police services in the province said they wouldn’t enforce them. Police continue to have the authority to conduct such checks in situations where the stay-at-home order has been breached.
- Ontario’s Solicitor-General noted that “if a police officer or other provincial offences officer has reason to suspect that you are participating in an organized public event or social gathering, they may require you to provide information to ensure you are complying with restrictions.”
- Cases and Trends:
- As Ontario deals with a record number of hospitalizations, federal Public Safety Minister Blair announced Saturday that two federal mobile health units would remain in the province until the end of June.
- The number of daily new infections continues to be over 4,000 and there is ongoing pressure on intensive care units in the province.
- Starting Tuesday, April 20th, Ontario will offer the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to individuals aged 40 and over at select pharmacies and primary care settings across the province.
- Reaction to Public Health Measures:
- Media reports indicate that various public health and health care leaders are concerned that the measures announced last Friday will not have the desired effect of containing the spread of the virus. OPHA will be adding its voice to others who are calling for the targeted vaccination of essential workers, narrowing the list of essential workplaces and reiterating our position on the need for paid sick-leave.
- Ontario’s Deputy Health Minister’s Letter Calling for Reinforcements:
- Media reports also indicate that Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health made a written request to her provincial and territorial counterparts asking them to spare any additional health care workers. The Deputy Health Minister has estimated Ontario’s hospitals will need some 4,000 nurses over the next four months. Alberta and Saskatchewan have already declined this request.
- Possible Closure of the Ontario legislature:
- The Ontario legislature is in session this week but it is unclear whether it will continue. The government had suggested it would be safer for staff if the legislature adjourned while opposition parties accused the government of wanting to avoid being challenged in the legislature over its COVID-19 measures.
- Federal Health Care Workers to be Redeployed to Ontario:
- Prime Minister Trudeau announced on Sunday that the federal government is “mobilizing federal health care workers from across government departments to deploy to the front lines in Ontario.” His government also offered to coordinate and cover all the costs of relocating health-care workers coming from other provinces, namely the Atlantic provinces and the territories.
- The Prime Minister also said “we’re working with municipalities to direct rapid tests to hot spots in Ontario, especially for essential workers and workplaces. This will make sure the tests we deliver get used in the places they’re needed most.”
- In providing more details to the media, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister remarked, “I think at a moment like this, the whole country says to itself, ‘What can we do to help the people of Ontario?”
We will continue to monitor and report on key COVID-19 developments to help our members stay informed. Stay well!
Pegeen and Faduma
P.S. Keep an eye out for our summary of the health and other key investments from the federal 2021 budget released late this afternoon.
Trends and Cases in Ontario, Canada, and First Nations on Reserve:
As of April 16th, Indigenous Services Canada was aware of these confirmed cases of COVID-19 for First Nations communities:
- 26,016 confirmed positive COVID-19
- 682 active cases
- 1,164 hospitalizations
- 25,032 recovered cases
- 302 deaths
Cases in Ontario: (April 18th as of 10:30am)
- Total number of cases: 421,442; an increase of 4,447
- Most newly confirmed cases are concentrated in five public health unit regions (e.g. 1,299 new cases in Toronto, 926 in Peel, 577 in York Region, 233 in Ottawa and 227 in Hamilton)
- So far, 36,579 cases of the B.1.1.17 (United Kingdom) virus variant have been reported, 104 cases of the B.188.8.131.52 (South Africa) virus variant and 211 cases of the P.1 (Brazilian) virus variant.
- Resolved: 370,844(88.0%); an increase of 3,153
- Deaths: sadly, 7,735 people have died; an increase of 19 people
- Hospitalizations: 2,202 people were hospitalized; 755 were in intensive care and of those, 516 were on a ventilator.
- Long-term care homes (according to iPHIS): 40 active outbreaks; 36 active cases in residents; 127 active cases in staff; 3,750 deaths among residents and 11 among staff
- Lab testing: 13,576,030 completed; 42,873 tests were completed yesterday; while the backlog of tests waiting to be completed is 21,512.
- Vaccinations: As of 8:00 p.m. yesterday, 3,904,778 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, including 66,897 yesterday; with a total of 346,005 people fully vaccinated
Cases in Canada: (April 18th as of 7pm)
- Total number of cases: 1,121,498; an increase of 7,593
- Deaths: sadly, 23,623 people have died; an increase of 32
- People tested per million: 786,935
- Percent Positivity: 3.9%
- Vaccinations: 10,122,400 doses administered; more than 9,206,424 Canadians have received at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine; 915,976 Canadians are fully vaccinated; 141,774 vaccine doses were administered yesterday.
- In total, 12,658,710 doses of COVID-19 vaccines (including Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca) have been delivered to the provinces for administration. As of today, 80.0% of doses delivered to the provinces have been administered.
Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA)
199 Quetico Avenue
Oshawa, ON L1J 1E9