Coronavirus: Ontario preparing plan for potential second wave

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Coronavirus: Ontario preparing plan for potential second wave
Coronavirus: Ontario preparing plan for potential second wave

The Ontario government is preparing to roll out a plan for a potential second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed Tuesday.

“We are, as a province, as a people, a hundred times more prepared now in health care, in PPE … We’re so much better prepared, but we can never, ever, ever let our guard down,” said Ford.

The premier addressed reporters from a Cambridge factory Tuesday, the first of many stops on a provincial tour to showcase Ontario businesses and communities working to recover from COVID-19. Ontario is providing the factory, Eclipse Innovations Inc., with $1,408,475 to manufacture N95 masks.

“Over the coming months, Premier Ford will visit a number of communities to recognize those who have gone above and beyond, hear ideas from the people on how the government can help them succeed in the new environment, and support made-in-Ontario products as a key part of the province’s path to recovery,” according to an Ontario government press release.

Ford also suggested the province and federal government are “very, very close” to working out a deal to get more funding to Ontario municipalities, whose budgets have been devastated by COVID-19.

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“Hopefully by the end of this week, myself and all the other premiers will agree with the deal.”

Ontario recorded 111 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional death Tuesday, a slight decrease in both figures compared to the previous day.

There are currently 137 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the province, including 30 in ICU and 21 on ventilators.

Twenty-seven long-term care homes are battling outbreaks of the virus – two more since Monday.

Outside of Ottawa, none the public health units in eastern Ontario reported new cases of COVID-19 in the last day.

Local

Ottawa Public Health provided some further clarity Tuesday about how bar, restaurant and cinema reopenings, permitted as of Friday, will interact with the local rule around mandatory masks.

“Patrons should be wearing masks indoors as much as possible,” said OPH, in a statement to this newspaper. “With restaurants, bars and movie theatres, people should wear a mask when they are not eating (e.g. entering/leaving the restaurant/bar/theatre, moving around the facility, talking to staff, etc.).” Further details were promised at Wednesday’s council meeting.

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Ottawa Public Health reported seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19 — for a total of 62 active cases in the city — and no new deaths on Tuesday.

Three patients are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, and one is in ICU. Some 85 per cent of cases have been resolved.

National

The Senate’s finance committee says the federal Liberals need to tell people very soon what the government will do for those who max out a key federal COVID-19 benefit in the fall without jobs to go back to.

The $500-a-week Canada Emergency Response Benefit is set to run out in September for millions of workers who have seen their incomes shrink or dry up entirely. The committee’s report recommends the government provide declining CERB payments as incomes rise, rather than applying the current strict cut-off.

Senators are also calling on the Liberals to consider a guaranteed income program to make sure all Canadians have the means to meet their basic needs.

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According to The Canadian Press, sources say Canada and the United States are likely to agree to extend their mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries for another 30 days.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to so-called “discretionary” travel like vacations and shopping trips since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the continent in mid-March, an agreement that’s set to expire July 21. Officials familiar with the ongoing talks, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters not yet public, say another extension until Aug. 21 is all but inevitable.

Quebec

Quebec reported 109 new cases of COVID-19 and five additional deaths Tuesday, while the Outaouais recorded three new cases and no new deaths.

There are currently 60 active cases in the region, while the average number of tests completed there daily over the last seven days was 186.

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