Coronavirus News Today: Ontario COVID-19 LTC Commission to Submit Final Report to Province; British Columbia Minister to Release Travel Ban Enforcement Details
The last coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
5:51 a.m. Ontario’s vaccination plan is accelerating – with anyone over 18 eligible to reserve a photo by the end of May – and a two-week focus on COVID-19 hotspots should be enough to do significant progress, according to the scientific table of experts advising the Prime Minister. Doug Ford.
A decision to introduce 50% of the new doses to high-risk areas until mid-May was timid of the month-long blitz that scientists initially recommended to seriously reduce transmission rates, as the province is working to mitigate the third wave of the pandemic and avoid a fourth.
However, calculations made Thursday night show that rising vaccine stocks, coupled with higher recent immunization levels, suggest that three-quarters of adults could receive hits in hot spots within two weeks.
“Whether we hit 75 percent or not will depend on how well the deployment works and how much adoption in these communities,” a source at the Science Table said Thursday.
“Two weeks is enough time to achieve the kind of immunization coverage in the hot spots that we were hoping for.”
5 h 37 Security guard Chris Sokoloski has spent hours trying to book a daytime vaccine appointment at four different pharmacies this week. Failed, frustrated and worried about the high number of COVID-19 cases in Peel, he turned to the recently launched overnight clinics, lining up outside a Mississauga Shoppers Drug Mart on Thursday at 1:15 a.m. An hour later, he was vaccinated.
Sokoloski was one of 75 people who stood in the dark in the cold April drizzle outside the Hurontario Street pharmacy, some chatting with others in the queue as they eagerly awaited their first blow in a region ravaged by the pandemic. .
Home to thousands of essential at-risk workers like Sokoloski, Peel Region continues to be hit hard by COVID-19, with the province’s highest positivity rate at 14.5% and 901 new cases confirmed as of Thursday. Even as the number of cases continues to rise, the vaccine supply in the region has been insufficient, leaving frontline workers and their families particularly vulnerable to the virus.
“I hope to be safer at work,” said Sokoloski, 45, after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. “I do health screenings all day for people. My girlfriend is immunocompromised, so I’m afraid to report the virus to her.
5:32 a.m.. Toronto is on track to have 40% of adults vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose by this weekend. It’s a step forward towards the Ontario government’s goal of reaching that threshold across the province by Monday.
Vaccination progress in the city, which is expected to accelerate with increased shipments of Pfizer vaccine, combined with local COVID-19 infection rates that appear to have leveled off and may have started to decline, are a good news, according to health experts.
Dr Eileen de Villa on Wednesday was not ready to say the city has turned a corner in this punitive third wave of the pandemic.
New daily infections are down from all-time highs, but she wouldn’t say they are “leveling off.”
Over 1,000 new cases a day is not something to celebrate, she said, and to get this wave under control and have the “kind of summer we want … there’s a lot of work to be done. “.
5:30 a.m. The solicitor general of British Columbia is expected to announce more details on the application of a travel ban aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Mike Farnworth, who is also Minister of Public Safety, announced orders a week ago to limit non-essential travel between three regional areas until May 25.
He said police would conduct periodic roadside checks at major travel points and violators could face fines of $ 575.
The National Police Federation criticized the order, saying it lacked clarity and BC RCMP members were at risk of negative public reaction and exposure to the virus due to the slow deployment of agent vaccination.
The BC Civil Liberties Association has said that Indigenous, black and racialized communities could be exposed to negative adverse effects when dealing with police.
However, Farnworth maintained that the province seeks input from racialized communities.
5 h 24 People who break health rules by throwing parties leading to death from COVID-19 should heed British Columbia judge’s warning on manslaughter charge, experts say legal.
Professor Lisa Dufraimont of Osgoode Hall Law School at York University said the manslaughter charges stem from an unlawful act causing death and predictable activity that could cause bodily harm.
“And if, in fact, it causes someone’s death, as the judge said, it could constitute manslaughter,” Dufraimont said in an interview Thursday.
“The judge is right about it.”
Provincial court judge Ellen Gordon reprimanded Mohammad Movassaghi this week, sentencing him to one day in prison, a fine of $ 5,000 and 18 months probation. He had previously pleaded guilty to disobeying a court order, failing to comply with a health worker order and illegally purchasing grain alcohol.
The court heard he had a party for 78 people in a condominium of around 165 square meters that police described as a makeshift nightclub.
Gordon called the event a “crime, not a party,” adding that it was an event attended by people “stupid enough” to put their own health and that of their grandmothers at risk.
“If someone who was at your party was infected and died, as far as I’m concerned, you’re guilty of manslaughter,” she said. “If someone who had been at your party was infected and passed it on to Grandma, as far as I’m concerned, you’re guilty of manslaughter.”
Movassaghi apologized to the judge and the public for his “serious error in judgment”.
In the months that followed, Movassaghi said he followed public health orders “to a T,” practicing physical distancing and wearing a mask.
“I learned a hard lesson,” he said.
Speaking generally about the law, Dufraimont said offenses that could result in manslaughter charges could follow if a person blatantly violates provincial health orders.
“When you commit a dangerous act, it is also a predicate offense under the law, and if it were to result in the death of someone, it could be manslaughter,” she explained.
Manslaughter does not have a minimum sentence but could result in life imprisonment.
However, Isabel Grant, professor at the Peter A. Allard Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia, urged caution on the manslaughter charge.
“I think it’s technically possible that the Crown could justify a charge of manslaughter, but I think it’s highly unlikely,” Grant said.
“I’m not sure that gets us very far.”
Grant said it would also be “very difficult” to prove where a person contracted the virus.
Friday 5:20 am Ontario’s COVID-19 Long-Term Care Commission is due to present its final report to the provincial government on Friday.
The commission looked at what went wrong in the province’s response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Thursday, 3,768 residents of long-term care facilities died from COVID-19 in Ontario.
The commission interviewed a range of individuals and groups, from Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton to physicians and personal support workers to family members of sick residents.
The report is to include recommendations on how the province can protect long-term care homes from any future pandemics.
The commission has already issued two sets of interim recommendations.
Thursday 9:15 p.m. (updated) A southwestern Ontario golf course has been charged after illegally opening a business, despite provincial stay-at-home COVID-19 orders.
Tillsonburg Bridges operated for almost a week before the OPP accused the company of failing to comply with the Ontario Reopening Act on Thursday.
Last Saturday, departure times were full at the bridges in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions. Ontario’s stay-at-home order includes the closure of golf courses and most other outdoor activities until at least May 20.
Under the law, companies that fail to comply can be fined up to $ 10,000,000.
Police said the case is scheduled to be heard at the Ontario Court of Justice in Woodstock on June 3.
Thursday 7:23 p.m. Alberta targets COVID-19 hotspots with tighter restrictions that include home learning for junior and senior high school students and a ban on indoor fitness and sports, reports The Canadian Press .
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also said curfews will be considered if the numbers increase, according to CP.
He says it’s a difficult but necessary step to bend the curve of outbreak cases.
The restrictions will apply to areas with more than 350 cases per 100,000 population and will be in place for at least two weeks.
These regions include the cities of Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Airdrie and Strathcona County.
Kenney says major indicators of infection are still on the rise and there is a record 632 people in hospital with COVID-19, 151 of them in intensive care.
He says the test positivity rate in the province is 10% and that variants now account for more than 60% of all cases.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Deena Hinshaw reported 2,048 more cases today and three more deaths.
The total number of active cases stands at 21,385, a number that is close to a record set in mid-December.