Here’s a summary of the COVID-19 related announcements from our federal and provincial leaders over the weekend of March 21-22nd. The announcements range from special powers being given to hospitals to redeploy staff, emergency day care to support front-line workers, mobilizing business to produce medical supplies to repatriating Canadians stuck abroad.
The Ontario Government announced the following new measures:
Provisions to Support Hospitals:
- Hospitals were given new powers to deploy personnel to where their needed most. Specifically, these temporary provisions allow hospitals to:
- redeploy staff to different locations in or between facilities;
- cancel and postpone services to free-up space and staff;
- redeploy staff to work in COVID-19 assessment centres;
- change the assignment or scheduling of work or shift assignments, including cancelling vacations or other leaves;
- employ extra part-time or temporary staff, contractors or volunteers to perform bargaining unit work; and
- provide training to staff and volunteers as needed to support such redeployments.
- These powers supersede the provisions of collective agreements, including lay-off, seniority/service or bumping provisions and are valid for 14 days unless revoked or renewed.
- certain day cares will be allowed to open so that they can support health care and frontline workers (e.g. doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, police, and correctional officers);
- the number of centres that can re-open will be restricted along with the number of children in any one centre;
- health and safety requirements will need to be in place along with a plan to deal with any staff, children or parents exposed to the virus;
- a list of emergency child care centres will be available here, once opened;
- the Ontario Government is collaborating with service system managers, health, First Nations and other partners to provide these emergency child care services.
- a new web portal, Ontario Together (https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-your-organization-can-help-fight-coronavirus ) was launched this past Saturday to encourage businesses to submit proposals on how they help manufacture medical supplies to help fight COVID-19 as well as other innovative services to help communities “withstand the pandemic”;
- along with looking for ventilators, swabs, masks and eye protection, the government is also looking for innovative solutions to provide:
- virtual mental health services for people who are vulnerable or living in remote communities;
- supply chain resiliency monitoring; and
- low-cost online financial planning and advice for small businesses.
Outlined below are the key statements made by federal leaders over the weekend:
Social/ Physical Distancing:
- The Prime Minister thanked children for doing their part in staying at home and away from others;
- Health Minister Hajdu signaled that social distancing measures could be in place for months and if we don’t follow them now, stricter controls could be put in place confining us to our homes;
- she warned of penalties for those returning to Canada who do not self-isolate for14 days;
- special flights are being organized to bring home Canadians but not all will be able to be helped.
Special Session of Parliament on March 24th:
- Parliament will resume this coming Tuesday for a special session to pass legislation that can support the financial aid measures the Prime Minster announced last week; this aid package was seen by the Prime Minister as “just a start”;
- The Prime Minister is still not considering bringing into effect the Emergency Measures Act;
- he signalled that he’d want to consult with all parties and the provinces before doing so and is seeing provinces, territories and municipalities putting the restrictions they think are needed in place.
Status of cases in Ontario
The symptoms of the 2019 novel coronavirus, which can include fever and cough, are similar to other respiratory infections, including influenza. As a result, individuals who may simply have the flu are being tested out of an abundance of caution and in line with Ontario’s robust detection protocols. This means that most individuals who are tested are unlikely to be infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus.
This web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario, every day, seven days a week, at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET.
|Currently under investigation2||8361|
|Total number of patients approved for COVID-19 testing to date||26420|
1Patient negative based on testing performed at Public Health Ontario (PHO) Laboratory and non-Public Health Ontario laboratories.
2Test results are pending
3Patient still testing positive and has not had two consecutive negative results greater than 24 hours apart
4Patient is no longer infectious based on two consecutive negative tests performed at PHO Laboratory at least 24 hours apart
Last updated: March 22, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. ET
Learn about how the Ministry of Health is preparing for the 2019 novel coronavirus in Ontario. Find out how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick after you travel and how to recognize possible symptoms by visiting: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus. This web page will be updated with the most up-to-date information on the status of cases in Ontario, every day, seven days a week, at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET.
Declaration of emergency
The province has enacted a declaration of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the public.
As a result, the following establishments are required to close immediately:
- all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout and food delivery
- all facilities providing indoor recreational programs
- all public libraries
- all private schools
- all licensed child care centres
- all movie cinemas
- all theatres, including those offering live performances of music, dance and other art forms
- all concert venues
Additionally, all organized public events of over 50 people are prohibited, including parades, events and communal services within places of worship.
These orders will remain in place until March 31, 2020, when the province will reassess for an extension or end the closures.
Information on the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for health care professionals
If you are a health care professional, learn how to protect yourself and your patients by reading our guidance documents and learning about:
- laboratory testing
- treatment recommendations
- occupational health & safety and infection prevention & control measures