Ontario To Release Framework To Reopen Economy As COVID-19 Long-Term Care Deaths Increase

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The provincial government will unveil a framework early next week for how it plans to reopen Ontario’s economy, Premier Doug Ford said on Friday.

In his daily press briefing on the COVID-19 crisis, Ford said the community-wide spread of the virus was a step in the right direction. But he also warned that any plans to reopen would be accompanied by priority given to the health and safety of residents of Ontario.

” [The plan] will provide a gradual and measured approach to the opening, “said Ford.

Health Minister Christine Elliott also said the province will start planning elective surgeries “as soon as we can.”

“This is something I know is extremely anxiety-provoking for many people,” she said.

But, she noted, Ontario still treats more than 500 cases daily, so officials must make sure the province has passed its peak of transmission to make sure hospital capacity is adequate.

Meanwhile, the military is now responding to retirement and long-term care homes in the province, where the Ontario government reported a jump in 57 deaths on Friday.

There are currently 131 outbreaks in homes across the province, with 573 deaths in total. Some 2,287 residents and 1,089 employees were also positive.

Ford had asked the federal government for military support in five of Ontario’s hardest hit nursing homes:

  • Orchard Villa, 40 deaths, 104 resident cases, 59 staff cases.
  • Eatonville Health Center, 37 deaths, 143 cases.
  • Altamont Community Care Center, 28 deaths of residents and one staff member, 58 cases of residents, five cases of staff.
  • Hawthorne Place, nine deaths, 47 cases.
  • Holland Christian Homes ‘Grace Manor, two deaths, 49 resident cases, 21 staff cases.

Military support could be redeployed to other sites if necessary, province spokeswoman Ivana Yelich said in a statement on Friday.

“Our top priority is to ensure that the staff in these long-term care homes can focus on providing care and have the resources to help stop the spread of this virus,” the statement said.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s deputy chief medical officer of health, said at a press conference on Friday afternoon that the province was “extremely concerned” about the numbers seen in long-term and mid-term care rallying, but “cautiously optimistic” about the spread in the community. .

Officials say the number of people in the wider community has peaked, but “we will not know for sure when we will be at the top until we are going down,” she said. declared.

Dr. Barbara Yaffe said Friday that officials will not really know that COVID-19 cases have peaked until the numbers begin to drop. (CBC)

Still, Yaffe said, it looks like the numbers have “plateaued” – but she couldn’t say how long the numbers would peak along this line.

“It could actually take weeks,” she said. ” We do not know. “

Province Reports 640 New Cases

Ontario reported a record 640 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in the province since the start of the outbreak to 13,519.

The provincial government reports 763 deaths, although CBC News has counted 814 deaths according to data from local health units. Some 7,087 people have recovered.

The province claims to have completed 12,295 tests within 24 hours of its last update, while 5,414 are currently under investigation.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations for the virus have gone from 877 to 910.

The number of intensive care and ventilator patients also increased, bringing the total to 243 and 193, respectively.

These updated figures come a day after Ford announced that her mother-in-law, who lives in a Toronto long-term care home ravaged by COVID-19, had tested positive for the disease.

Her mother-in-law is a resident of the long-term care home in West Park, where at least 13 people died from COVID-19 on Thursday.

Province Announces Rent Reduction For Small Businesses

Ford also announced on Friday that the province is partnering with the federal government to help homeowners and small businesses affected by the pandemic.

The province has announced that it is committing $ 241 million through the new Ontario and Canada Commercial Rent Emergency Assistance Program (OCECRA) to help provide relief.

The program will make repayable loans to eligible commercial property owners experiencing rent deficits because their small business tenants have been affected by the pandemic, according to a statement released on Friday.

To receive the loan, homeowners would have to reduce the rental costs of small business tenants from April to June 2020 by at least 75% and commit to a moratorium on evictions for three months, according to the province.

“The vast majority of small businesses and homeowners in Ontario are struggling during this extraordinary public health emergency,” said Ford in a statement. “This is why we are doing everything we can to support them during these difficult economic times, so that they can start on the ground when we are able to open up the provincial economy. “

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