AIAI Weekly COVID-19 Update – Feb 4th

Posted by: Ira Timothy
in: All News

Provincial Restrictions & Public Health Measures
Stay at Home Order and State of Emergency
On January 13th, 2021, the province declared an immediately effective state of emergency and implemented a province-wide stay at home order. This order requires everyone to remain at home, leaving for essential purposes only. Examples of essential purposes include:

• Going to the grocery store or pharmacy
• Accessing health care services
• Going to work (where the work cannot be done remotely)
• Exercise

Additional public health measures implemented with these orders include:

• Outdoor organized public gatherings and social gatherings limited to a maximum of five people.
• Masks or face coverings are required in all indoor areas of businesses or
organizations that are open.
• All non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, may only be open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
• Non-essential construction is further restricted, including below-grade construction.
• All businesses must ensure that any employee able to work from home does so.

These public health measures are to remain in place until at least February 9th, 2021 but, may be further extended. Non-compliance with public health restrictions can result in fines and other enforcement measures.
More information on the new state of emergency and stay at home order is available here:
https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-toaddress-covid-19-crisis-and-save-lives

Confirmed Cases
First Nations in Ontario

Twenty-five new cases of COVID-19 were reported in First Nations in Ontario over the past week. As of Wednesday, February 2nd , there are 84 active cases of COVID-19 amongst First Nations communities, which is very close to the amount active last week and a significant decrease from the 130 cases reported the week from. There are currently 19 communities that have active cases, which is up from the 12 communities with cases at this time last week. The communities with active cases include:

• Six Nations
• Akwesasne
• Aamjiwnaang
• Beausoleil
• Long Lake No. 58
• Mississaugas of the Credit
• Webequie
• Moosonee
• Poplar Hill
• Kettle and Stony Point
• Oneida Nation of the Thames
• Walpole Island
• Ginoogaming
• Constance Lake
• Wahta Mohawks
• Pikangikum
• Lac Seul
• Fort William
• Moose Factory

51 out of the 133 First Nation communities in the province have had at least one case since the beginning of the pandemic. The highest concentrations of cases and highest numbers of cases are located in the South West region of the province.
There have been 697 cumulative cases of COVID-19 in First Nations. Of these cases, 603 have been resolved for a resolve rate of 87%. Ten community cases have resulted in death with one additional death occurring this past week.
More information on case counts and increases in recent weeks is contained in attached memos from the Chiefs of Ontario called “First Nation Cases – COVID Testing Report 40” and “03-02-21 Memo First Nation Community Cases.”

Ontario General

The province’s weekly average for daily case counts has decreased from 2,128 at this time last week to 1,746 today. This is the second week with case counts trending downwards.
On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021, Ontario reported 1,172 new cases of COVID-19 with 444 reported in Toronto, 199 in Peel and 110 in York Region. According to reports from the Chiefs of Ontario, other hotspots in the province include: the Regions of Waterloo, Simcoe Muskoka,
Ottawa, Middlesex-London, Niagara Region, Durham, Halton, Hamilton, and Windsor-Essex County.
Ontario is processing an average of 50,965 tests daily, which is a slight decrease from last week. Ontario’s weekly average positivity rate currently sits at 3.9% which is an improvement from last week’s average rate of 4.5%. As of Wednesday, the positivity rate across Ontario is sitting at 3.3%. This rate has been consistently trending downward in since approximately two weeks into the provincewide lockdown order that began on December 26th,
2020.
As of Wednesday, there were 1,066 people with COVID-19 in hospitals across the province. This is down from the 1,382 patients that were hospitalized at this time last week. Of patients currently in hospital, 336 are being treated in intensive care. This is another decrease from last week’s 358 in hospital. Total ICU admissions have been steadily declining over the past two weeks.
Despite trends in the right direction, ICUs in several regions continue to be strained. This week, Ontario is reporting 21 out of 34 Public Health Units (PHUs) are at 70% or more capacity of ICU beds occupied with 5 of these PHUs at over 100% capacity including: Eastern, York, Huron Perth, and Hastings and Prince Edward.

Further detail on case numbers and demographics in the province is available here:
https://covid-19.ontario.ca/data

Education Update
Return to In-Person Learning

On February 3rd, Minister Lecce announced that as of Monday February 8th all schools except for those schools in current hot spot areas will return to in-person learning. Thus, schools in the Toronto, Peel and York public health regions are expected to return to in person learning February 16th, 2021.
This means elementary and secondary schools in the following PHUs will return to in-person learning on Monday, February 8, 2021:

• Brant County Health Unit
• Chatham-Kent Public Health
• Durham Region Health Department
• Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
• Halton Region Public Health
• City of Hamilton Public Health Services
• Huron Perth Public Health
• Lambton Public Health
• Niagara Region Public Health
• Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
• Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
• Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health
• Windsor-Essex County Health Unit

For more information go to: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60228/enhanced-safetymeasures-in-place-as-in-person-learning-resumes-across-ontario

First Nation/Federally Operated Schools
First Nation communities have the continued authority to determine their own locally identified measures of protection. Access updated guides, resources, and policies for First Nations from the Ministry of Education’s Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/operational-guidance-covid-19-
management-schools

COVID-19 Cases in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Schools
As of February 3rd, 2021, the province reported 9 new school-related student cases and 6 new school-related staff cases. There is at least one reported case of COVID-19 in 42 of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools that are permitted to be open right now. The cumulative total of all school-related cases reported since September 5, 2020, is 7,392 (this includes resolved cases).
In addition, on February 1st, 2021, the Ontario Government announced its plans to spend the second half of the Federal government’ safe return to class fund of $381 million. These funding allocations include:

• $80 million for laptops and other technology
• $64.5 million for PPE and other health and safety measures
• $62 million for summer school
• $60 million to develop online learning (including elementary digital curriculum)
• $50 million to improve school ventilation
• $33 million to be spent in COVID-19 hot spots
• $10 million on school nutrition
• $10 million on mental health

Ontario has also introduced additional measures of protection to keep schools, staff, and students safe such as:

• Provincewide access to target asymptomatic testing for students and staff, using a combination of lab-processed PCR and rapid antigen tests;
• Mandatory masking for students in Grades 1-3, including outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;
• Enhanced screening of secondary students and staff;
• New guidance discouraging students from gathering before and after school; and
• Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism.

COVID-19 Cases in Child Care Centres & Home Care Agencies
As of February 3rd, the province reported 29 new cases within child care centres and homes, including 13 child-related cases and 16 staff-related cases. There are currently 168 child-care facilities in Ontario with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and 23 centres closed due to virus outbreaks. This brings the cumulative total of all COVID-19 cases reported in child care and home care since June 12th, 2020 to 2,259 (this includes resolved cases).

Before and after school child care programs will resume in regions to which schools are open. A detailed list of the schools, licensed child care centres, and homecare agencies with COVID-19 cases can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-cases-schoolsand-child-care-centres

Complimentary to this list, is the COVID-19 Dashboard that maps confirmed school-related COVID-19 cases in publicly funded elementary and secondary schools across the province:
http://covid19schooldashboard.com

Targeted Emergency Child Care (ECC) Program

Emergency child care for school-aged children is to be extended to support frontline workers that require it at this time (in public health regions where in-person learning is not resuming). For those students returning February 8th, 2021, emergency child care will end February 5th, whereas those in the Peel, Toronto and York region will have access to emergency child care
until February 15th, 2021. As of January 27th, 2021, the Ontario Government announcement new additions to those eligible for Emergency Child Care such being:

• Individuals working in fuel distribution and oil refineries;
• Education staff who are required to report to work in person while their children continue with remote learning;
• Grocery store and pharmacy workers;
• Truck drivers; 6
• Farmers and those who support food or agricultural product supply chains;
• Individuals involved in the collecting, transporting, storing, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste; and
• Individuals working in the manufacturing and distribution of disinfectants and sanitizers.

Support for Learners Program

This program is intended to support learners financially through the COVID-19 pandemic for the 2020-21 school year. This is a one-time payment to support children and youth up to grade 12 (to receive $200) and children with special needs 21 and under (to receive $250).

The deadline to apply is February 8th, 2021.

For more information and to apply go to:
https://www.iaccess.gov.on.ca/SupportForLearnersWeb/public/index.xhtml

Vaccines
Provincial Vaccine Implementation

As of Tuesday February 2nd , 348,331 shots have been given out to people in Ontario and nearly 75,000 people have been fully immunized (with two doses received). This is up from the 55,000 people Ontario reported being fully vaccinated as of this time last week.

Members of Ontario’s Vaccine Distribution Task Force reports that vaccine implementation progress has been hampered by reductions in the size of vaccine shipments arriving to Ontario. There is currently capacity to administer up to 40,000 doses per week in the province.

The vaccines currently available are only recommended for people aged 16 and older. Vaccinations for children younger than 16 are currently in clinical trials and new guidelines are currently being developed for pregnant women. Ontario has established a COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force with includes an urban Indigenous sub-table and a First Nations sub-table, the latter of which is co-chaired by Ontario
Regional Chief Roseanne Archibald and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Ontario Greg Rickford. This Task Force has developed a three-phase plan for vaccine implementation plans. Currently, we are in the first phase of this plan.

Phase 1
During Phase 1 of Ontario’s vaccine implementation process, priority is being given to:

• Long Term care residents, caregivers and staff including retirement homes.
• Health care workers, personnel and hospital employees.
• First Nations, Metis and Inuit populations including remote and urban populations*

* A prioritization matrix for Indigenous communities as been developed to determine vaccine
distribution amongst First Nations across the province.

Phase 2

During Phase 2 of Ontario’s vaccine implementation, priority is given to:
• Older adults beginning with 80+yrs and decreasing in 5yr increments*
• High risk congregate settings (shelters etc.)
• Essential workers (teachers, food processing etc.)
• High-risk chronic conditions and their care givers
• Other populations facing barriers
*An Elder in Indigenous communities is being considered as anyone over +55yrs when the vaccines

Phase 3
Phase three will focus on the remaining portion of the population in the province.
For more information COVID-19 vaccination in Ontario is available here: https://covid19.ontario.ca/getting-covid-19-vaccine-ontario#phase-1

Federal Procurement and Approvals
To date, Canada has reportedly secured a combined total of 132 million total doses of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines and dispersed 1.1 million across the country. In total,
Canada has invested more than $1 billion to have access to up to 414 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from up to seven different manufacturers. According to federal reports, Ontario has now received over 411,650 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

More information on federal vaccine procurement and disbursement is available here:
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirusinfection/prevention-risks/covid-19-vaccine-treatment/vaccine-rollout.html#a4

Border Closures & Travel Restrictions
On Monday February 1st , new travel restrictions were announced by Canada. New restrictions include a requirement for people arriving in Canada flight to quarantine in an approved hotel for up to three days until they receive results from a COVID-19 test taken at the airport. Since January 7th, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. Upon entrance to Canada, it is mandatory to self-quarantine for 14-days.

Starting Wednesday, February 3rd , all international flights into Canada will be funnelled into four airports: the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport.
The Canada-U.S. land border remains closed for non-essential travel as it has since March of last year. The most recent extension holds the land border closure in place until February 21st, 2021.
Canada is continuing to advise against all non-essential travel.

Provincial Travel Restrictions
Provinces and Territories across Canada have varying restrictions for entry. It is recommended to research each region’s policies prior to any essential travel.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly advises that individuals and families only travel out of the province if it is essential and self-isolate for 14 days when arriving in or returning to Ontario.

Confirmed Cases – First Nations Across Canada
There are now over 16,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst Indigenous peoples on reserve with less than 9,327 resolved. There are approximately 3,000 active cases in Indigenous communities across the country, which is a decrease of approximately 2,000 from this time last
week.
More information from Indigenous Services Canada is available here: https://www.sacisc.gc.ca/eng/1589895506010/1589895527965

Confirmed Cases – Canada General

Canada now has confirmed over 786,000 cases with 2,828 added today. This is a marked decrease in the daily increase of new cases which were sitting around 4,000 daily this time last week. There are currently 49,562 active cases, 716,642 recovered cases, and 20,213 cases that have resulted in death. Seventy-seven deaths were reported on Wednesday.
Monitor country-wide case counts and trends here: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html

Additional Information & Resources

• Ontario COVID-19 website: https://covid-19.ontario.ca
• Canada COVID-19 website: https://www.canada.ca/en/publichealth/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
• Chiefs of Ontario COVID-19 webpage: https://chiefsofontario.wordpress.com/
• Generic email for Indigenous Services Canada COVID-19 information: sac.covid19fnihbontario.isc@canada.ca
• Red Cross Support 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CST), 7 days a week at: 1-833-937-1597.
• InfoPoint Health managers can call or email to ask specific questions. Toll free: 1-855-446-
2719 or Email: Infopoint@fnhma.ca

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