Top COVID-19 stories and news Online.
5:46 pm Bank of Canada says economic situation too uncertain to forecast a recovery
Canada’s central bank is unable to forecast the future right now with any degree of confidence.
Its newly released biannual Monetary Policy Report assesses the overall economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada rather than following its usual format of projecting growth in the country’s gross domestic product.
The bank’s governing council notes in the 27-page report that until the COVID-19 outbreak is brought under control, “a substantial proportion of economic activity will be affected.” It also concludes that a “sharp contraction in the global economy in the first half of the year is unavoidable.”
The report was released on the same day that the Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 0.25 percent.
Read more here.
5:07 pm Toronto has 2,670 cases of COVID-19
As of 12:30 pm today, there are 2,670 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, including 2,369 confirmed cases and 301 probable cases, the city’s medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said on Wednesday. Of those cases, there are 243 hospitalized and 94 in intensive care units.
The number of cases in the city that have been resolved is 148 and 121 deaths. There outbreaks in 71 institutional settings.
3:32 pm Theresa Tam: “The epidemic is slowing down”
Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam said on Wednesday that the spread of COVID-19 is slowing, but it’s too soon to lift physical distancing measures.
In late March, when the growth rate in the number of cases was the fastest, the number of cases in Canada doubled every three days, causing a steep rising curve.
“In recent days we’ve observed a doubling time of over 10 days,” Tam said. “This means the epidemic is slowing down. Though we all wish this could be a sprint to the finish, it is not. It’s a marathon and there will be no rewards for quitting early.”
She added that COVID-19 is an emerging disease and growth trends must be closely monitored in order for public health officials to quickly respond to new cases.
“Let’s maintain our collective resolve and crush this curve,” she said.
1:17 pm Province to boost testing in long-term care homes
Over next 48 hours, the province will roll out more aggressive testing, screening and surveillance measures in long-term care homes. Ontario’s minister of long-term care Merrilee Fullerton announced today that testing will be enhanced in long-term care homes. Symptomatic staff and residents and asymptomatic contacts of confirmed cases will be screened. Asymptomatic staff and residents in select homes will also be tested for COVID-19.
Hospital and home-care workers will also be redeployed into long-term care homes, she added.
Last night, the province issued an emergency order limiting the number of sites long-term care workers can work in.
11:23 pm Trudeau relaxes criteria for CERB to include contract workers and artists
People earning $1,000 per month or less, seasonal workers with no prospects and people who have run out of Employment Insurance (EI) can now apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), prime minister Justin Trudeau said today.
“Many other people were not eligible and yet they still need help,” he said. “Today, we will be relaxing the criteria to allow even more Canadians to benefit from it.”
The “wage boost” will help people doing contract or gig work.
Trudeau acknowledged that the government has heard from artists and creators, who have reached out to the government to ask that copyright for their work before the crisis not make them ineligible for the CERB. “They bring sunshine into our daily lives,” he said of Canadian artists.
As he did yesterday, Trudeau said more news for post-secondary students and small businesses asking for commercial rent relief will be forthcoming this week.
10:52 am Ontario has more than 8,000 cases of COVID-19
The number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario has passed the 8,000 mark. On Wednesday, public health officials reported that there are 8,447, an increase of 494 – or 6.2 per cent – over the previous day.
The number of resolved cases in the province is 3,902 and 385 people have died. There are 795 patients in hospital, with 254 in intensive care and 188 on ventilators.
The total number of tests completed in Ontario is 119,092 and 4,429 cases are under investigation.
As the province ramps up testing, the daily numbers are starting to include the numbers of tests completed on the previous day. On Tuesday, 6,010 tests were completed in Ontario.
There are also 98 outbreaks reported in long-term care homes.
9:11 am Ontario to unveil long-term care home plans
Ontario premier Doug Ford will announce news measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the province’s long-term care homes. The sector has been hit hard by the virus, with 93 outbreaks in Ontario care homes.
Ford, along with minister of long-term care Merrilee Fullerton and health minister Christine Elliott, are expected to detail increased testing and infection control measures. The premier said yesterday the province will also issue an emergency order to prevent workers from working in more than one home in order to prevent spread between facilities.
9 am Canada has over 27,000 cases of COVID-19
There are 27,063 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 903 people have died.
The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized.
Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.