Ontario reported 4,212 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday — an increase from the 3,469 cases reported the previous day, but a decrease from the 4,447 new cases reported on Monday and 4,250 cases recorded on Sunday. The province also reported 32 deaths (an increase from the 22 deaths reported the previous day), and 4,204 resolved cases (an increase from the 3,369 reported on Tuesday).
Wednesday’s case count includes 1,249 new cases in Toronto, 771 in Peel, 386 in York Region, and 214 new cases in Durham.
There are currently 2,335 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across the province, with 790 total patients in ICU due to COVID-related critical illnesses and 566 total patients in ICU on ventilators due to COVID-related critical illnesses.
As of Wednesday morning, 4,131,882 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the province.
As of yesterday (Tuesday, April 20), the Ontario government began offering the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 40 and over at pharmacies and primary care settings. When the province begins to receive more vaccine supply from the federal government, it will expand 24/7 COVID-19 vaccinations to additional hot spot areas.
The AstraZeneca #COVID19 vaccine will now be available to those 40 years & older in Ontario, starting April 20 (previously for 55+ years).
There are ~1400 pharmacies in the province & Family Docs administering this vaccine.
Smart move. This will help. https://t.co/RqYNHwvZ8E
— Isaac Bogoch (@BogochIsaac) April 18, 2021
Meanwhile, officials from Toronto and Peel Region announced on Tuesday that, as of Friday April 23, any business with five or more cases of COVID-19 in the last 14 days will have to shut down for at least 10 days, and workers at the affected workplaces will be required to self-isolate. Although certain workplaces, including health care facilities, schools, child care centres, and workplaces providing critical services, may be exempt from full closure requirements.
“Workplaces that are open provide an opportunity for COVID-19 to spread. Given that the majority of our cases are now as a result of variants of concern, which transmit faster, this order will support Toronto Public Health’s investigators to help workplaces immediately reduce the risk of spread and manage workplace outbreaks quickly,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said of the upcoming measures.
Many are suggesting that a lack of paid sick days for essential workers is only contributing toward the virus spread, as federal benefits aren’t enough. In Ontario, employees are entitled to up to three sick leave days per year once they have worked for an employer for at least two consecutive weeks.
As one Twitter user succinctly tweeted, people have to choose between going to work and getting COVID “or not being able to pay for rent and groceries.”
The reason Ontario COVID cases are out of control is because people are having to choose between going to work & getting COVID or not being able to pay for rent and groceries.
Both options are a matter of life and death and paid sick leave would alleviate both. But here we are.
— Gabrielle V Fayant (@GabrielleFayant) April 16, 2021
The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, in their latest report, noted that paying essential workers to stay home when they are sick, exposed, or need time to get vaccinated, is one of six measures that will help reduce transmission, and allow the province to re-open safely and as soon as possible.
Since the federal budget didn’t include any changes to the Canadian Sickness Recovery Benefit (CSRB) program on Monday, it appears that the province may consider implementing changes when it comes to paid sick days.
After Question Period on Tuesday, Ontario Heath Minister Christine Elliott told reporters: “It didn’t seem necessary for us to institute another program, if there already was a federal program that could have been improved.”
“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,” she added.
Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is in isolation after a staff member that he came in close contact with on Monday tested positive for COVID-19.
“Immediately upon learning that this staff member was even at risk of exposure, the premier left the legislature to be tested,” a statement from the premier’s office noted. “While his test results have returned negative, the premier will follow all public health advice for close contacts of positive cases, including isolating. He will do so in Toronto.”
Click here for more COVID-19 Ontario updates.