Ontario reports more than 400 cases of COVID-19 Toronto asks province to collect race-based data

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8:32 pm Ontario extends state of emergency until June 30

The province has extended the state of emergency until the end of the month.

On Tuesday, the Ontario legislature voted to approve the move, which allows the government to create and enforce emergency orders, such as the closure of non-essential businesses and prohibiting gatherings of five people or more.

Ontario has been under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic since March 17.

4:45 pm Toronto reports 175 new COVID-19 cases, seven more deaths

Toronto Public Health officials have reported an increase of 175 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the city’s total to 11,513. Another 108 people have recovered from the virus. In all, 8,738 cases are resolved.

Seven more people have died since yesterday. The city’s death toll now stands at 835.

2:23 pm Province appoints new management of Kitchener long-term care home

The Ministry of Long-Term Care has appointed new management of a long-term care home in Kitchener that has been unable to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement, the province said St. Mary’s General Hospital will temporarily manage Forest Heights long-term care home for 90 days. The order could be extended further, if necessary.

The home has been receiving hospital support for weeks, but has not contained the virus. “By taking these steps, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is putting in place a rigorous management structure to help contain the spread of the disease and assist in returning the home to normal operations,” the government said in a news release.

2:18 pm 700 positive COVID-19 cases not reported to public health: Elliott

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed press reports that 700 positive COVID-19 cases were not reported to public health officials.

Elliott said the error was due to a “misunderstanding” between the hospital and the lab that conducted the tests. “That has been rectified to ensure it won’t happen again,” she said. “Notices have been sent out to the hospitals and assessment centre that it is their responsibility to notify public health.”

Provincial public health officials are following up with the people who tested positive to do contact tracing and case management, she added.

12:03 pm Trudeau pauses after question about Trump’s handling of anti-racism protests

The Prime Minister seemed to be rendered speechless after a reporter asked about Donald Trump’s recent threat to deploy military force against protestors across the United States.

Tom Parry from CBC news asked Justin Trudeau why he’s been “reluctant to comment on the words and actions of the U.S. president… If you don’t want to comment what message do you think you’re sending?”

After a long pause, Trudeau said: “We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States. It is a time to pull people together but it is a time to listen. It is a time to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades. But it is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we too have our challenges that Black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day.”

Asked again why he is reluctant to comment on Trump’s rhetoric, Trudeau said, “My job as a Canadian prime minister is to stand up for Canadians. That is what I have done from the very beginning. And that is what I will continue to do.”

11:51 am Toronto tenants to protest at Queen’s Park on June 9

A group of tenants from across the GTA will stage a protest at Queen’s Park at 2 pm on June 9.

Organized by the activist group Keep Your Rent, the demonstrators will demand the province prohibit evictions for unpaid rent during the COVID-19 crisis. 

On Monday, the Toronto Foundation warned in a report that renters and mortgage holders are struggling to make payments and that homelessness could increase to “unprecedented” levels could as a result of the crisis.

Ontario has suspended evictions during the pandemic, but activists and community groups are concerned about residential evictions once the moratorium on evictions has lifted.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the protest date was today. The post has been updated.

10:30 am Ontario reports 446 new COVID-19 cases, 17 more deaths

Provincial public health officials have confirmed 446 new COVID-19 cases – 1.6 per cent increase – bringing Ontario’s total to 28,709.

The number of cases has steadily increased in recent days.  There were 323 cases reported on Saturday, 326 on Sunday and 404 on Monday. Premier Doug Ford said yesterday that the spike in cases was largely due to migrant farm workers testing positive in Southwestern Ontario.

The number of resolved cases is 22,484 and another 17 people have died. In total, the virus has killed 2,293 people in Ontario.

The number of patients in hospital is 801, with 125 in intensive care and 81 in intensive care on ventilators.

There were 15,244 tests completed – up from yesterday but just short of the daily 16,000 target – and another 10,622 cases are under investigation.

9:30 am Toronto asks province to collect race-based COVID-19 data

Toronto Board of Health chair Joe Cressy has written a letter to the provincial government to “immediately” begin collecting and sharing COVID-19 data related to race, occupation and socio-economic status.

Physicians and public health experts have been calling on the province to do, but officials in Doug Ford’s government have said, as Cressy’s letter notes, Ontario’s 34 public health units could collect the data on a voluntarily basis.

“This approach will not provide a complete picture of how COVID-19 is affecting Ontarians,” Cressy writes.

Toronto Public Health has been analyzing preliminary data based on socio-economic status and race since late April.

“What we have learned is both disturbing and crucial for informing our understanding of this virus,” Cressy writes. “Areas in Toronto with the highest percentages of people who are low income, racialized and recent immigrants have the highest case rates of COVID-19 (per 100,000 residents.”

Last week, the city shared an interactive map that tracks COVID-19 cases in neighbourhoods across the city. Cressy’s letter notes that five neighbourhoods with the lowest number of cases have median household incomes that are “almost double” the household incomes in the neighbourhoods with the most cases.

“At the same time, the percentage of visible minorities in areas with the most cases is more than double that of neighbourhoods is more than double that of neighbourhoods with the fewest cases,” he writes.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott noted that the government has approved public health units to collect race-based data on a voluntary basis and several units have already begun the process.

“We recognize that the collection of race-based data is important in order to guide our decision-making on how to protect vulnerable groups who may be at a higher risk for COVID-19,” said Hayley Chazan in a statement. “That’s why the ministry is considering proposing to make income level and race for COVID-19 cases reportable to local public health units and we are in the process of working with public health and privacy experts to determine how best to collect this data across all public health units.

“It’s important to note that mandating the collection of this data would require regulatory changes,” she added. “As discussions about these changes are ongoing, we are working with partners to determine implementation.”

8:30 am Ontario expected to extend state of emergency to June 30

Doug Ford’s government is going to ask the Ontario legislature to extend the state of emergency to June 30.

The emergency legislation, which gives the government power to create and enforce emergency orders, expires today and has been in effect since March 17.

“We need the ability to go out there and make quick decisions absolutely immediately,” Ford told reporters during a Queen’s Park press conference on Monday.

“That will hopefully get us over the hump per se – that’s another four weeks and we just want to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. We want to get the economy going and we need that tool to make that happen.

“It all depends on the situation we’re facing,” he added. “If we’re seeing that everything is moving in the right direction, numbers are moving down then we don’t need to [extend it again]. If we see the movement hasn’t happened then the option’s on the table.”

8:30 am Canada has more than 90,000 cases of COVID-19

There are 91,705 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 7,326 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.


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