Please see below the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- There was no federal update today.
- Dr. Williams and Dr. Dirk Huyer (Coordinator of the Province’s Outbreak Response) provided today’s update, noting that the province continues to deal with serious issues as a result of the pandemic. This was a significant week as Ontario has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 cases. Today is the highest in single day reported COVID-19 cases and the highest reported deaths. .
- Currently there are 1,724 people in the hospital and 373 in ICU due to COVID-19. They noted that York, Peel and Toronto previously made up the largest percentage of cases, but now make up 54%, which is concerning because it is evidence that numbers are growing outside of these areas. They also noted that the strain this puts on Ontario hospital ICU’s will cause hospitals to begin cancelling elective surgeries.
- Southern Ontario elementary schools will continue with virtual learning for another two weeks due to the community transmission being at its highest and concerns of the UK variant transmission. The province is currently working on further health and safety measures in schools and the Minister of Education will make an announcement in the coming days.
- Northern Ontario, will remain in lockdown until January 23, however schools will open January 11. The province recognizes in some areas have less infrastructure for virtual learning.
- Dr. Williams indicated the medical experts continue to look at the data and hope the numbers will start to go down. Deferring schools for an addition two weeks is due to the high numbers in community spread. Waiting until this time to make the announcement allowed data to be assessed and was the two-week mark after December 26th provincial lockdown. Th expectation is for schools to open in two weeks, if numbers go down, with further safety measures in place.
- When asked about children being vaccinated, Dr. Huyer said hospitals are vaccinating and the province is working towards doing LTC facilities and will then be looking at vaccinating children. Focusing on the older population and then working on the younger groups.
- The question about further plans being in put in place was answered by Dr. Huyer indicating the plan had been put in place by the government locking down the province starting December 26. He said it is the peoples’ responsibility to take part in making the numbers go down and allowing the hospitals to recover.
- Dr. William will be looking at a plan proposed by the NHL to play hockey. At the expense of the NHL, who are working with provincial and federal authorities to put together a comprehensive plan to protect the players and not compromise the safety of Canadians. This plan also will restrict movement within the country as well as no travel outside of the country. No final decisions have been made to date.
Executive Secretary Treasurer
IBEW Construction Council of Ontario