COVID-19 Updates: April 6-13

The Federal government is expanding the criteria on who can apply for the CERB

By: Laura Steiner

This is a space for updates on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for the week of April 6-13.

Key Developments from last week:

  • Travel: Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 is banned from boarding a domestic flight, or inter-city train (VIA for example)
  • Ontario: Bans gatherings of over 5 people.  Increases business closures.  School closures are extended another month.  Learn at home moves to phase two.
  • Halton/Milton: Active enforcement of Emergency Orders began.  By-law officers are now allowed to ticket, and enforce fines for violations.  Town of Milton extends closures until May 29, 2020.  Residents can report violations by contacting Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) at: 905-825-4722

Update: 6/4/2020: 2pm CERB begins roll-out, PPE Shipment Stopped at the Border

Today is the first day Canadians can apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).  “You need support now,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his morning address.  Applicants can sign up for it based on their birth month.  January-March can start applying today.  April-June: Tuesday, July-September Wednesday, and October-December on Thursday.  As of noon there had been over 300,000 applicants.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced this morning that a shipment of 500,000 masks held up at the US border over the weekend.  “We are desperately counting on the fulfillment of shipments Ontario has placed through the federal government’s bulk purchasing program,” he said in a statement.” The shipment has since been released.  Canada is seeking an exemption to the Defence procurement act.  Ontario reported 307 more cases overnight bringing the total to 4,347.  1,624 have been resolved.

Halton Region meanwhile is up to 155 cases, with 36 of those in Milton.  A Milton family from India is trying to get home from India after being given conflicting information regarding flights from New Delhi.

Update:6/04/202: 8:30 pm-  Britain’s Johnson in ICU, Ontario announces measures to further protect First Measures

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to ICU.  Johnson was hospitalized Sunday evening in London after experiencing mild COVID-19 symptoms.  He’s asked Foreign Secretary Dominc Raab to step in.  “Sending my best wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a full and speedy recovery,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

Ontario has announced more steps to protect its first responders.  Paramedics, police, and fire fighters will now be able to obtain the COVID-19 status of those whom they come into contact with.  “Strict protocols will be enforced to limit access to this information, and will only be used to allow first responders to take appropriate safety precautions to protect themselves and the communities they serve,” a statement from Health Minister Christine Elliott, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.  Information would be inaccessible after the state of emergency is lifted.

Oakville Trafalgar Hospital found itself the recipients of a surprise salute.

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Update: 7/4/2020: Trudeau updates on Production, Plans for Virtual House move forward

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau updated the country on the production of medical supplies and equipment.  Approximately 5,000 businesses have agreed to re-tool or share expertise on everything from hand sanitizer, and medical gowns to ventilators and masks.  “Canadian companies are answering the call to protect our health care professionals with made-in Canada solutions,” Trudeau said.   Companies involved include: Canada Goose, Thornhill Medical, and Spirits Canada. The Liberals are also moving forward with plans for a virtual house of commons.

Update: 7/4/2020: 10pm- Ontario Aids First Nations, Asks Doctors to help

Ontario has announced funding to help Indigenous communities fight COVID-19.  $37 million was part of March’s economic update.  “We know the continuation of social services is critical to the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit, Metis and urban communities” Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford said.  The funding includes $16.4 million to provide emergency funds.

The province has also set up a web portal to match healthcare workers with potential employers.  “Whether you’re retired or in training, we can’t afford to have people with professional health care skills who want to help sitting on the sidelines during this crisis,” Premier Doug Ford said.  Ontario saw an increase of 379 cases overnight, with another three deaths.  Ontario has also declared the Easter Bunny an essential service.

The Region of Halton has a total of 169 cases overall, with Milton sitting at 39 cases total.  Milton Library continues using their 3D printer for headbands.

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Update: 8/4/2020- 12:30 p.m.-  Wage Subsidy relaxed Milton Unveils Aid plan for Businesses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his daily address to tell Canadians about a plan for the Canada Summer Jobs Program.  The changes include coverage 100% of the minimum wage for public or private sector employers, and the extension of the program until February, 2021.  “Small businesses and community organizations are the backbone of our economy and a critical lifeline for communities across this country,” Trudeau said.  He also indicated that standards for the previously announced 75% wage subsidy program would be relaxed so that businesses would be able to use a 15% loss in March.

The Town of Milton has launched its own support program for Businesses affected by COVID-19.  Measures look at everything from tax relief, and development applications to business license renewals, and building services.  Milton MP Adam van Koeverden, and MPP Parm Gill are teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce to host a series of online business forums.

Update: 8/4/2020- 7:30 pm: Ontario Relaxes noise bylaws, Halton Cases spike

Ontario is relaxing the noise bylaws on construction projects related to essential services.  Hospital building, hospital expansion  or building on a COVID-19 Assessment Centres will be allowed to continue 24 hours/ day in order to hasten completion.  “That’s why we’re extending construction hours to allow us to build essential infrastructure faster, while ensuring construction workers can practice physical distancing on work sites to stay safe and healthy,” Premier Doug Ford said.

Ontario recorded 550 cases overnight, with 21 additional deaths.  Cases in Halton Region have reached 228,  50 of which are in Milton.  Four retirement homes, and two long-term care homes including Allendale are now considered to be in an “outbreak” situation

Milton residents continue to make noise in support of First Responders. The Milton District Hospital Foundation (MDHF) is extending its thanks to the community for the donations so far in a Facebook post:

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Update: 9/4/2020- 8:30 pm- Milton DBIA cancels Street Festival, Canada Releases Pandemic Models

The Public Health Agency of Canada has released the models on COVID-19.  “Canada is at an earlier stage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they conclude. They’re forecasting 22,580-31,850 cases of the virus by April 16, resulting in 500-700 deaths.  In a best case scenario, the pandemic might result in 11,000-22,000 deaths. Without controls up to 80% of the population could be infected.  The report, released this morning caused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to admit that a return to normal life is “a long way off.”  There are indications the first wave could end this summer, but the virus may return for subsequent waves.

The House of Commons will sit this weekend for a rare Saturday session in order to debate, and pass the enhanced aid package.  Discussions continue on the viability of a virtual Parliament.  According to the CBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent a letter to the Premiers; the first step in the process that would trigger the use of the Emergencies Act.  The legislation would allow the federal government to redirect supplies and equipment to where it’s most needed.

Ontario is planning its economic recovery.  Finance Minister Rod Phillips will Chair the Jobs and Recovery Committee to look at ways to help businesses get back on track.  “While we focus our energy and resources on defeating COVID-19, today’s job numbers highlight why we also need to plan for economic recovery,” Phillips said.  Ontario found another 483 cases of COVID-19.  200 have died of the disease.  Halton Region reported another 21 cases increasing to 249.  Of those 8 are in Milton, with another six listed probable cases.

The Downtown Milton Street Festival has been officially cancelled. “Although we are saddened to make this decision, the safety of our members, vendors, entertainers, attendees, volunteers and staff is our number one priority. We look forward to celebrating this event with the community in an even bigger way in 2021,” Milton DBIA Executive Director Cheryl Ciccarelli said.

10/4/2020: 8:30 pm- New Business Loan announced, Ontario Increases Testing Capability

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a new business loan this morning.  The Canada Emergency Business Account will allow business owners to access $40,000 loans through their banks.  The money could be used for expenses such as monthly expenses to paying employees.  If the loan is repaid within two years, 25% of it will be forgiven.  “We know you’re facing difficult decisions, but we’re here to take some of the pressure off,” Trudeau tweeted.  Trudeau will be attending the House of Commons tomorrow, before taking Sunday and Monday off to be with family.  The provinces have said no to the Emergencies Act for now, however the final decision is up to the federal government.

Ontario is proactively increasing its testing capability.  The province will target high-risk groups including hospital inpatients, remote communities,  Indigenous groups, as well as essential workers.  “We’re laser-focused on ramping up our testing capacity so we can protect the most vulnerable in our communities and those who protect them, like our frontline health care workers, and first responders,” Premier Doug Ford said.  The province hopes to double testing to 4,000 by April 15, and push it to 14,000 by April 29.  Ontario reported another 473 cases overnight.

Ontario has also moved to protect parents while daycares are closed.  The province has issued an emergency order preventing daycare operators from charging parents while they are closed.  “We need to support our parents who may be facing reduced income or layoffs during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Lecce said.

The Region of Halton reported another 12 cases bringing its total to 261 cases to-date.  The Town of Milton reports another two, with seven listed a probable cases.  Milton Mayor Gord Krantz has  released an Easter statement.  “I can confirm that the Easter Bunny will be making rounds in Milton this weekend,” he said.  The Easter Bunny was made an essential worker earlier this week.

April 11-12: Wage Legislation passed, Ontario Extends its State of Emergency,

April 11:  Parliament passes Bill C-14; the wage subsidy legislation unanimously.  Bill is signed into law by Governor-General Julie Payette.  Ontario announces it has received more than 14,000 submissions through its Ontario Together web portal including one from a Milton Ontario company.  The province will also extend its state of Emergency until April 23, 2020, and with it all existing Emergency orders.  Emergency orders are now enforceable by police, and bylaw enforcement officers.  Ontario cases rose by 478 cases.  Halton Region found a total of 269, with 62 in Milton.

Alberta offers equipment to Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia.

April 12: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released an Easter statement.  “This year, we celebrate differently in response to the COVID-10 pandemic, he acknowledged.  He credited Canadians’ helping each other out.  “By doing this, Canadians are showing the true meaning of loving our neighbours as ourselves.”  Trudeau took the day away from his daily briefing with Canadians.

Premier Doug Ford also extended his Easter greetings.  “This year, Easter celebrations will be different due to the pandemic.  All but essential workers will need to stay home and practise physical distancing in order to keep everyone safe and healthy,” he said.

Ontario announced a new Health data platform to help detect, and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.  The Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR) has been developed in consultation with Ontario’s privacy commissioner.  “Better access to integrated data will improve modelling and research to determine how COVID-19 is evolving, ensuring frontline staff are as prepared as possible in these unprecedented times,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.  The information gathered will help researchers with this following:

  • Increasing detection of COVID-19;
  • Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations;
  • Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen;
  • Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working; and
  • Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.

Ontario rose by another 401 cases.  Halton increased to 280, with no cases in the Milton area.

13/4/2020: 6pm Health Canada Approves Testing kit, Ontario gets supplies from Alberta

Health Canada has approved a new Rapid COVID-19 testing kit.  Spartan Bioscience has been given the okay to begin tests using their hand-held kits, that give results within an hour.

Ontario has secured more medical equipment and supplies.  Over the last five days the province has received more than 13 million masks, 200,000 N95 masks, and 50 ventilators.  “I am pleased to report that we continue making significant progress in securing the necessary personal equipment needed to effectively respond to COVID-19,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said.  Supplies include a donation from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.  Ontario found another 421 cases overnight.

Halton increased to 316 cases, with 64 of those being in Milton.  Oakville Mayor Rob Burton responded to a Global News story involving ending up with an $880 ticket for roller skating .  “Municipal enforcement does first warn individuals that they must leave and only issues a ticket when they don’t comply,” he said in a Facebook post.  

Municipal bylaw enforcement officers are able to enforce all provincial emergency orders.   Residents can call Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) non-emergency number at 905-825-4722 to report violations.