COVID-19: Doug Ford in self-isolation after staffer tests positive; Elliott “considering” paid sick leave program

The province reports 4,212 new cases and more than four million people vaccinated


Top COVID-19 stories and news

Doug Ford goes MIA as calls for his resignation grow louder

Here’s the list of people eligible for vaccines in Phase 2

Here are the rules for Ontario’s new stay-at-home-order


Toronto’s vaccine supply issues to be resolved in a “few short weeks”: de Villa

2:45 pm The city’s vaccine supply issues will likely be resolved in a “few short weeks,” Medical Officer of Health Eileen de Villa today.

Speaking at a city hall news conference, Mayor John Tory said once supply increases a new block of 231,000 appointments will open at the nine city-run clinics for May 10-June 6. The clinics will also increase daily dose capacity by 540 to 8,586 shots per day.

Additionally, Toronto Public Health and hospital partners are ramping up vaccinations via mobile and pop-up clinics in 13 “hottest hot spot” postal codes in the city in next two weeks. People ages 18+ will be eligible and the clinics will be promoted locally by community leaders, building managers and health-care partners. The postal codes are:

  • Northwest: M9W, M9V, M9L, M9M, M9N, M6M, M3K, M3J, M3N, M3M
  • Central: M4H
  • East: M1J, M1G

Any left over supply will be used in the next highest-risk postal codes. De Villa said the 13 “hottest” spots were determined in partnership with hospitals based on data such as virus transmission rates and vaccination rates, as well as socio-economic factors.

Vaccine supply will be increased by 25 per cent at city-run clinics at The Hanger, Malvern Community Centre and Scarborough Town Centre, and by 20 per cent at Carmine Stefano Community Centre.

The city is also deploying mobile teams of paramedics and firefighters to vaccinate vulnerable residents such as people experiencing homelessness, people living outside and people living in drop-ins and shelters.

Toronto Public Health is in active discussions with the province about lowering the age of eligibility at city-run clinics in light of the expected increase in vaccine supply. Currently people age 60 and up are eligible to be vaccinated at city sites and people age 50 and up who live in hot spots are also eligible.

De Villa reported a daily increase of 1,302 new cases. There are now 1,010 patients in hospital in Toronto, including 194 in ICU. Of those, 128 are on ventilators.

“The figures for people currently in hospital, people currently in ICU and people currently intubated are all the highest recorded at any point in the pandemic so far,” she said.

Another 27 people have died in the city in the past day. In the past week, a total of 93 Torontonians have died from COVID-19. To date, the virus has killed 2,970 people in the city.

“If the loss of life continues as it has, we can expect to pass a death toll of 3,000 very soon,” de Villa added, urging people to stay home and follow public health guidelines and get vaccinated as soon possible. “I ask everyone to ask themselves if we should mark this loss of life in some way more than as a milestone. And that is why I ask all of us to reflect on this terrible loss of life and what we can do in the days and weeks ahead.”


Ontario reports 4,212 new cases of COVID-19, 32 deaths

11:30 am Ontario is reporting 4,212 new cases of COVID-19 and 32 additional deaths on April 21.

The province detected 3,469 cases on Tuesday, 4,447 on Monday and 4,250 on Sunday. The seven-day average has increased again after several days of a slightly downwards slope, moving from 4,319 the day before to 4,327 today.

Ontario administered a record number of 136,695 vaccine doses in the past day, coming the closest to the 150,000 a day target that vaccine distribution officials have previously pointed to. The province has now surpassed the four million mark, administering 4,131,882 doses so far with 349,396 people fully vaccinated.

The province completed 51,877 tests in the past 24 hours, marking a positivity rate of 8.1 per cent.

Active cases and hospitalization dropped slightly from 42,941 to 42,917 and 2,360 to 2,335, respectively. There are now 790 people in intensive care, up 17 from the day before, including 566 people on ventilators.

“Locally, there are 1,249 new cases in Toronto, 771 in Peel, 386 in York Region, 276 in Hamilton and 214 in Durham,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter.

Two of the deaths reported today are people between the ages of 40 and 59.

To date, there have been 429,123 total COVID-19 cases and 7,789 deaths.


Doug Ford in self-isolation after close contact with a positive staffer

9:50 am Ontario Premier Doug Ford is in self-isolation after having close contact with a staffer on Monday who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Ford was tested and received a negative result, his office said in a statement.

“The Premier will follow all public health advice for close contacts of positive cases, including isolating. He will do so in Toronto,” his office added. “Members of the Premier’s Office staff who were close contacts of the individual who tested positive will also isolate.”

Ford was vaccinated with a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at an Etobicoke pharmacy on April 9.

The news comes as Ford faces intense scrutiny over his latest round of COVID-19 restrictions, which did not include paid sick leave for vulnerable essential workers – something the province’s science advisors have called on the government to implement.

Read Enzo DiMatteo’s column Doug Ford goes MIA as calls for his resignation grow louder


Christine Elliott says paid sick leave is now on the table

10 am Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters at Queen’s Park on Monday that Ontario is considering boosting financial support for essential workers after the federal budget did not include changes to the Canada Recovery and Sickness Benefit (CRSB).

“It didn’t seem necessary for us to institute another program if there already was a federal program that could have been improved,” Elliott said, according to CP24. “However it was clear yesterday with the budget that it was not going to be improved by the federal government, so we are considering our alternatives now to deal with those gaps.”

The CRSB pays workers ordered to isolate $500 per week for four weeks, but critics have said the money takes too long to arrive and doesn’t cover the cost of living in some cities. Premier Doug Ford has repeatedly resisted calls from frontline doctors and Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisors to bring in a new paid sick leave program.

In a report released on Tuesday, Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table said paying workers to stay home when sick is among six things the province can do to reduce virus spread during the third wave.

“Compared to other models that appear to have limited spread, the federal program is cumbersome and does not provide enough financial support,” the report reads. “An emergency benefit that offers more money, is easily accessible, immediately paid and that, for the duration of the pandemic, is available to essential workers – when they are sick, when they’ve been exposed, need time off to get tested, or when it’s their turn to get vaccinated – will help limit spread.”


New COVID-19 cases in Ontario on April 21

The following regions reported five or more new COVID-19 cases:

Toronto = 1,249

Peel = 771

York Region = 386

City of Hamilton = 276

Durham Region = 214

Niagara Region = 201

Ottawa = 177

Halton Region = 168

Simcoe Muskoka District = 124

Region of Waterloo = 120

Middlesex-London = 117

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph = 82

Windsor-Essex County = 74

Brant County = 50

Southwestern = 24

Eastern Ontario = 22

Haldimand-Norfolk = 21

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge
District = 20

Thunder Bay District = 16

Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District = 13

Porcupine = 11

Hastings Prince Edward = 11

Peterborough = 11

Northwestern = 9

Timiskaming = 9

Algoma = 8

Sudbury & Districts = 8

Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington = 8

Grey Bruce = 7

@nowtoronto

Comments (1)

  • Joe Andely April 22, 2021 08:28 AM

    Ford in isolation?Best news of 2021!

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