- Ottawa Public Health reports 176 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, with one new death
- Province confirms Ottawa among health units where residents 60 years of age and older can book vaccinations through provincial system as of Wednesday
- Schools to shut done in Toronto, Peel despite provincial assurances that closures not needed
Premier Doug Ford hinted Tuesday that further restrictions may be coming in the province in the face of apparent lack of response to the province’s “emergency brake” shutdown measures.
“I saw the same thing that other people saw. You go by Yorkdale (shopping centre) and you couldn’t even get a parking spot. it was absolutely jam packed,” Ford told a news briefing.
“Going to the malls is not essential. What’s essential is going to buy food, medicine and getting your vaccines.”
He defended the government against criticism that authorities haven’t gone far enough in the shutdown that began at midnight Saturday.
“I think we made a massive moves last week by basically shutting down the entire province. That was huge. Shutting down thousands and thousands of businesses, which I hate doing, but we’re going to have further restrictions moving forward very very quickly,” he said.
“We have to focus on where we see the problem. Three regions — York, Peel and Toronto — represent 60 per cent of the COVID cases. When you have an inferno going on somewhere, you have to turn the hoses there.”
Ford said another announcement on shutdown measures would be made Wednesday, based on information from the province’s chief medical officer.
“(COVID-19 variants of concern are moving hour by hour, day by day. We have to … move with it, be nimble and be quick.
“We’re going to target the big employers in hot areas, we’re going to target the neighbourhoods in hot areas.”
Meanwhile, schools in Toronto and neighbouring Peel region will shut down on Wednesday and students moved to online learning.
The move, announced Tuesday, will keep nearly 250,000 public and more than 90,000 Catholic students at home.
The measures were taken despite assurances from the premier and Education Minister Stephen Lecce that shutdowns were not yet required in school systems.
Ontario will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to residents aged 50 and over in “hot spot” postal codes in the coming weeks, provincial health officials said Tuesday.
Ottawa is identified among the 13 hotspot regions. The regions are to receive a combined total of up to 920,000 extra vaccines, which will be targeted by local authorities to handle problem settings.
In addition, under another measure of the province’s Phase 2 vaccine rollout, mass vaccinations will extend to anyone over 60 in most of Ontario, including Ottawa, through the provincial portal as of Wednesday.
Ontario reported 3,065 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s hotspots were once again Toronto, with 955 new cases, Peel with 561 cases and York with 320.
More than 2.6 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the province, Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted Tuesday morning.
Tuesday’s numbers lift Ontario’s total case count to 367,602, of which 34,026 are active cases.
Eight more deaths were reported Tuesday, raising the death total to 7,458.
There are 1,161 patients in hospital with COVID-19, with 510 people in intensive care and 310 on ventilators — both record highs for the pandemic.
The province reported 30 new lab-confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant of concern, for a total of 2,165 cases, three new confirmed cases of the P.1 (Brazil) VOC, for a total of 106 cases. There were no new confirmed cases of the B.1.351 VOC Tuesday, and total remains 71 confirmed cases.
There are 27,193 cases under laboratory examination.
The province’s R(t) number, a seven-day average that measures the speed of the virus’s spread, remains unchanged at 1.2.
Elliott said the province conducted 37,541 tests Monday, with a positivity rate of 8.9 per cent.
Ontario says 76,199 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered since Monday’s report.
A total of 2,621,839 vaccine doses have been administered in the province.
In health units in the Ottawa area: Eastern Ontario Health Unit, which includes Hawkesbury and Cornwall, reported 22 new cases; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark district reported 19 new cases;
Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington, reported 12 new cases; and Renfrew County reported 10 new cases.
Meanwhile, Ontario restaurateurs are asking the province for $100 million “to reverse the devastating impacts of dining closures.”
In an open letter to Premier Doug Ford signed by Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association are urging the province to allow outdoor patio dining, additional rebates for tax and energy costs and an end to the markup they pay to the LCBO for liquor.
According the the association, last week’s provincial shutdown cost each owner about $10,000 and the industry as a whole more than $100 million.
Many Ottawa restaurant owners expressed their frustration watching crowds of people crowding into areas like the ByWard Market over the holiday weekend, sitting on park benches when restaurant patios were ordered closed.
Dave Longbottom, owner of Flora Hall Brewery in Centretown, complained to this paper that the current lockdown is “glaringly inconsistent, punitive and unfair” to close patios while allowing large stores to be open at 50 per cent occupancy.
“To close patios and leave Walmarts and Costcos open to the extent that they are makes no sense to me,” he said.
Latest COVID-19 news in Ottawa
The provincial government confirmed Tuesday that, as of Wednesday, anyone 60 years of age and older will be able to book a vaccination through the provincial booking system.
The announcement includes anyone in the Ottawa Public Health region, as well as 19 other health units across the province.
Ottawa Public Health reported 176 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, with one new death.
There are 1,852 active cases of COVID-19 in the city and 469 people have died.
OPH reported 56 patients in hospital with 18 in intensive care.
There have been 18,436 confirmed cases and 469 deaths since the pandemic began.
The agency reported one new outbreak among health care institutions, with 28 ongoing outbreaks, and one new community outbreak, for a total of six. There were no new outbreaks in schools or child care. There are 10 ongoing outbreaks in that category.
Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches had a reassuring message for Ottawa parents, students and staff worried about the safety of schools Tuesday as the rate of COVID-19 rises sharply in the city.
Transmission of the virus at schools is low, Etches maintains. Students usually contract the virus at home or in the community, from soccer games to barbecues.
Etches met with administrators from all four Ottawa school boards Monday, and plans to attend a virtual meeting of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board on Tuesday night to answer questions.
Latest COVID-19 news in Quebec
Quebec has recorded 1,168 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced Tuesday.
In addition, four new deaths were reported, including one over the previous 24 hours.
The other deaths occurred between March 30 and April 4.
Hospital admissions were up by 11, for a total of 514 people.
However, ICU cases dropped by two, to 121.
The Outaouais region continues to register triple-digit case growth, with 111 new cases Tuesday bringing the number of cases to 8,163 since the pandemic began.
The death toll remains unchanged at 174.
There were 39,816 vaccine doses administered Monday, bringing the total to 1,592,197.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 318,532 cases and 10,701 deaths linked to COVID-19.
Latest COVID-19 news in Canada
Canada’s chief public health officer is advising Canadians to avoid interprovincial travel amid concerns COVID-19 vaccines might not be fully effective against new variants of the disease.
Dr. Theresa Tam says she is concerned about people travelling as tourists and gathering for leisure activities.
With growing numbers of variants of concern now being identified in provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, there is concern Canadians could further spread these strains of the virus across the country.
Tam says some laboratory tests show the P1 variant (also called the Brazil variant), in particular, might elude a person’s immunity response.
This means people who have been vaccinated or who have contracted COVID-19 could still get sick or reinfected by the virus.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned of the seriousness of the pandemic’s third wave.
“This isn’t the news any of us wanted, but hospital admissions are surging, ICU beds are filling up, variants are spreading. And even people who convinced themselves they didn’t need to be concerned are getting sick,” Trudeau said.
“Even if the sun is shining and the weather is getting warmer, COVID-19 isn’t done with us yet.”
Trudeau said he would speak with Ontario Premier Doug Ford later in the day Tuesday to discuss the spike in cases and the impact COVID-19 is having on Ontario hospitals and about the importance of vaccinating people as quickly as possible.
Trudeau said most provinces have made it clear they don’t need federal help when it comes to getting COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of Canadians, but he adds the federal government will be there if needed.
He says political leaders are just as exhausted as Canadian families, business owners and frontline workers, which he believes is why some premiers, including Ontario’s Doug Ford, have been critical of the vaccine rollout in Canada.
The federal government has now shipped more than four million doses of vaccine to Ontario. The province said Tuesday it had so far administered 2.6 million doses.
Trudeau said the government has increased the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit by another two weeks to help people take time off work when they’re ill.
“No one should be going to work sick, right now,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau said the federal government is delivering about $700 million to provinces this week, the final instalment from billions of dollars announced last summer to help provinces and territories through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada surpassed more than one million cases of COVID-19 on the weekend and currently has nearly 59,000 active cases of the disease, 43 per cent of which are in Ontario. The disease has killed 23,118 Canadian, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
By the Numbers
(as of Monday)
176: New confirmed cases
18,436: Total cases
1: New deaths
469: Total deaths
56: In hospital
18: In ICU
124.2: Seven-day COVID rate, per 100,000 population
7.8: Positivity rate among people tested
1.10: Seven-day R(t) number
82: Percentage of 193,710 doses Ottawa has administered to patients
(as of Monday)
3,065: New confirmed cases
367,602: Total cases
8: New deaths
7,458: Total deaths
1,161: In hospital
510: In ICU
310: On ventilators
124.2: Seven-day COVID rate, per 100,000 population
37,541: Tests administered Monday
8.9: Per cent positivity rate
1.2: Seven-day R(t) number
76,199: Vaccines administered in last 24 hours
2.6 million: Total vaccines administered to date
30: New B.1.1.7 (UK) variant cases confirmed (total 2,165)
0: New B.1.351 (South African) variant cases confirmed (total 71)
3: New P.1 (Brazilian) variant cases confirmed (total 106)
27,193: Suspected VOCs under further testing
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at at 300 Coventry Rd. reopens Wednesday at 10 a.m. Open seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Howard Darwin Centennial Arena on Merivale Road: The site will remain open for at least two weeks, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for anyone older than four. Those wanting to be tested must make an appointment by calling 1-877-232-8828, a line scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Ottawa COVID-19 testing data: ottawatestingupdate.ca
Ontario vaccination portal:covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine
Call centre: 1-888-999-6488. The Vaccine Information Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is capable of providing assistance in 300 languages.
Vaccine eligibility in Ottawa: secureforms.ottawapublichealth.ca/vaccines/COVID-19-Vaccine-Screening-Tool
To book a pharmacy vaccine: Eligible adults aged 55 and over (if 60 or older as of the day of vaccination or, if will be 60 or older in 2021) who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy
-With files from Postmedia and The Canadian Press
Etches calling for stay-at-home order, reviewing approach to schools
Ottawa restaurateurs who have shut their patios are left fuming by people congregating in public spaces