Ontario hit seven million vaccines — and counting — on weekend

Ontario hit — and then surpassed — administering seven million vaccine doses on the weekend, fuelled in part by a blitz of clinics in Toronto including one that expected to give out 10,000 shots on Sunday alone.The vaccination site at Thorncliffe Park Community Hub, run in conjunction with Michael Garron Hospital, had given out 9,000 Pfizer shots by 8 p.m. Sunday night, and long lineups remained before its 11 p.m. closing.“It’s been a long road and it’s going to take the collective efforts of all Torontonians to roll up their sleeves so we can get back to the lives we knew before COVID-19,” said Dr. Jeff Powis, medical director of infection and control at the hospital. In Peel, public health hosted an around-the-clock “Doses After Dark” on Saturday and Sunday — a marathon, 32-hour clinic offering offering jabs at the International Centre in Mississauga. It got a boost Sunday when Premier Doug Ford dropped by to thank and congratulate health workers there who had given out about 4,000 doses by the afternoon. Bramalea Civic Centre in Brampton also opened a new vaccine pop-up clinic for Black, African and Caribbean residents on Saturday. And as the province begins to open up vaccines to younger teens — now that Pfizer has been approved for children ages 12 to 17 — Downsview Arena will host a clinic for those 16 and up who live or work in any ‘M’ hotspot postal code on Monday.In Ontario, more than 7,064,815 doses have been given in total, with 139,583 daily doses reported as of May 15. Organizers of Doses After Dark, which was dubbed the first mass overnight vaccination site in Canada, said it was well attended and there was only a brief stretch between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when the clinic wasn’t operating at full capacity.Paul Sharma, co-lead of Peel Region’s mass vaccination program, said the overnight clinic aimed to attract a wider range of people from across a region that’s long been one of the province’s most active COVID-19 hot spots.“This was really targeted toward essential workers who are working non-traditional hours,” he said. The province announced last week that it aims to have all willing adults in Ontario fully immunized with two doses by Sept. 22. With files from Canadian PressBreanna Xavier-Carter is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach her via email: bxavier@thestar.caAnn Marie Elpa is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach her via email: aelpa@thestar.ca

Ontario hit seven million vaccines — and counting — on weekend

Ontario hit — and then surpassed — administering seven million vaccine doses on the weekend, fuelled in part by a blitz of clinics in Toronto including one that expected to give out 10,000 shots on Sunday alone.

The vaccination site at Thorncliffe Park Community Hub, run in conjunction with Michael Garron Hospital, had given out 9,000 Pfizer shots by 8 p.m. Sunday night, and long lineups remained before its 11 p.m. closing.

“It’s been a long road and it’s going to take the collective efforts of all Torontonians to roll up their sleeves so we can get back to the lives we knew before COVID-19,” said Dr. Jeff Powis, medical director of infection and control at the hospital.

In Peel, public health hosted an around-the-clock “Doses After Dark” on Saturday and Sunday — a marathon, 32-hour clinic offering offering jabs at the International Centre in Mississauga. It got a boost Sunday when Premier Doug Ford dropped by to thank and congratulate health workers there who had given out about 4,000 doses by the afternoon.

Bramalea Civic Centre in Brampton also opened a new vaccine pop-up clinic for Black, African and Caribbean residents on Saturday.

And as the province begins to open up vaccines to younger teens — now that Pfizer has been approved for children ages 12 to 17 — Downsview Arena will host a clinic for those 16 and up who live or work in any ‘M’ hotspot postal code on Monday.

In Ontario, more than 7,064,815 doses have been given in total, with 139,583 daily doses reported as of May 15.

Organizers of Doses After Dark, which was dubbed the first mass overnight vaccination site in Canada, said it was well attended and there was only a brief stretch between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when the clinic wasn’t operating at full capacity.

Paul Sharma, co-lead of Peel Region’s mass vaccination program, said the overnight clinic aimed to attract a wider range of people from across a region that’s long been one of the province’s most active COVID-19 hot spots.

“This was really targeted toward essential workers who are working non-traditional hours,” he said.

The province announced last week that it aims to have all willing adults in Ontario fully immunized with two doses by Sept. 22.

With files from Canadian Press

Breanna Xavier-Carter is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach her via email: bxavier@thestar.ca

Ann Marie Elpa is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Reach her via email: aelpa@thestar.ca

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Summer camps for kids will go ahead, Premier Doug Ford promises

In a surprise announcement, but one which is sure to offer thousands of frazzled Ontario parents a ray of hope, Premier Doug Ford vowed to open summer camps this year.Speaking at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Peel Region on Sunday, Ford was light on details saying only that camps would be “opening up.”“The more people that can come out (to be vaccinated), the quicker we can open up,” the premier said in Mississauga. “And we are going to open up very, very soon and I have to say one thing about the summer camps — July 3 is usually the time they open, and they’re opening up this year.”He did not say anything about the reopening process, nor what kind of camps he was talking about — day or overnight — and if kids would be required to follow any public health restrictions.Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ford, told the Star that the government is working with Ontario’s Chief Medical of Health on a plan to safely reopen the province, but did not say if that specifically would include summer camps.“We will provide more detail on what the weeks ahead will look like before June 2, when the latest extension of the stay-at-home order expires,” she said. Toronto parent Emily Griffith said she and her husband welcomed the premier’s comments and would send their kids to day camp “in a heartbeat.”“Every parent that I know is at the end of their rope. They’re scrambling to find a local teenager to watch their kids or trying to take them to their grandparents every other day,” said Griffith, who has a four-year-old son, Oliver, and a seven-year-old daughter, Lily. “Our kids have been out of school more than they’ve been in school in the past year and it’s not good for them. They need their peers.”Griffith, who works full-time, added that she worries about those children whose parents don’t have the ability to devote substantial amounts of attention to them during the day.“I’m taking them out every day to this park, that park, trying to stimulate them. Not everybody has the ability to do that, and it’s still hard,” she said.NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles said Ford’s comments were a “strange way to announce something that could have a massive impact on our families and kids.”“We’re looking for details now on what Doug Ford’s latest musings mean. But to get kids’ camps open later this summer, Doug Ford needs to follow expert advice now. Focus on hot spots. Give all working folks paid sick days. Open outdoor amenities and activities and close non-essential workplaces,” Stiles said.The Ontario Camps Association, which represents more than 400 accredited camps across the province, issued a statement on Twitter Sunday saying it is “thrilled” by the premier’s announcement and that it looks forward to “working with the government and Ministry of Health in the coming days to communicate guidance and further details to our camps and their communities.”Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said his party supports the safe reopening of outdoor activities, as recommended by Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.“This prolonged shutdown of outdoor activities, against nearly all medical advice, has had a huge impact on mental health,” he said in a written statement. Stu Saunders, owner of Youth Leadership Camps Canada, a privately run summer camp in Oro Medonte, near Orillia, said while Ford’s announcement was “good news,” he and others in the camping industry were caught off guard. “There was no heads-up to anybody in the camping industry at all, zero,” Saunders said Sunday, adding that there are still many unanswered questions, such as whether the premier meant camps across the entire province, whether he was talking about day camps or overnight camps, or what protocols would apply to reopening.“Immediately when he said that stuff, I started getting emails from parents, saying ‘does this mean that we’re open? Does this mean that all the kids can go?’ ” he said. “It was just this completely ambiguous comment that had a trickle-down effect to all of us without having any answers.”With files from the Canadian PressKenyon Wallace is a Toronto-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @KenyonWallace or reach him via email: kwallace@thestar.ca

Summer camps for kids will go ahead, Premier Doug Ford promises

In a surprise announcement, but one which is sure to offer thousands of frazzled Ontario parents a ray of hope, Premier Doug Ford vowed to open summer camps this year.

Speaking at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Peel Region on Sunday, Ford was light on details saying only that camps would be “opening up.”

“The more people that can come out (to be vaccinated), the quicker we can open up,” the premier said in Mississauga. “And we are going to open up very, very soon and I have to say one thing about the summer camps — July 3 is usually the time they open, and they’re opening up this year.”

He did not say anything about the reopening process, nor what kind of camps he was talking about — day or overnight — and if kids would be required to follow any public health restrictions.

Ivana Yelich, a spokesperson for Ford, told the Star that the government is working with Ontario’s Chief Medical of Health on a plan to safely reopen the province, but did not say if that specifically would include summer camps.

“We will provide more detail on what the weeks ahead will look like before June 2, when the latest extension of the stay-at-home order expires,” she said.

Toronto parent Emily Griffith said she and her husband welcomed the premier’s comments and would send their kids to day camp “in a heartbeat.”

“Every parent that I know is at the end of their rope. They’re scrambling to find a local teenager to watch their kids or trying to take them to their grandparents every other day,” said Griffith, who has a four-year-old son, Oliver, and a seven-year-old daughter, Lily. “Our kids have been out of school more than they’ve been in school in the past year and it’s not good for them. They need their peers.”

Griffith, who works full-time, added that she worries about those children whose parents don’t have the ability to devote substantial amounts of attention to them during the day.

“I’m taking them out every day to this park, that park, trying to stimulate them. Not everybody has the ability to do that, and it’s still hard,” she said.

NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles said Ford’s comments were a “strange way to announce something that could have a massive impact on our families and kids.”

“We’re looking for details now on what Doug Ford’s latest musings mean. But to get kids’ camps open later this summer, Doug Ford needs to follow expert advice now. Focus on hot spots. Give all working folks paid sick days. Open outdoor amenities and activities and close non-essential workplaces,” Stiles said.

The Ontario Camps Association, which represents more than 400 accredited camps across the province, issued a statement on Twitter Sunday saying it is “thrilled” by the premier’s announcement and that it looks forward to “working with the government and Ministry of Health in the coming days to communicate guidance and further details to our camps and their communities.”

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said his party supports the safe reopening of outdoor activities, as recommended by Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

“This prolonged shutdown of outdoor activities, against nearly all medical advice, has had a huge impact on mental health,” he said in a written statement.

Stu Saunders, owner of Youth Leadership Camps Canada, a privately run summer camp in Oro Medonte, near Orillia, said while Ford’s announcement was “good news,” he and others in the camping industry were caught off guard.

“There was no heads-up to anybody in the camping industry at all, zero,” Saunders said Sunday, adding that there are still many unanswered questions, such as whether the premier meant camps across the entire province, whether he was talking about day camps or overnight camps, or what protocols would apply to reopening.

“Immediately when he said that stuff, I started getting emails from parents, saying ‘does this mean that we’re open? Does this mean that all the kids can go?’ ” he said. “It was just this completely ambiguous comment that had a trickle-down effect to all of us without having any answers.”

With files from the Canadian Press

Kenyon Wallace is a Toronto-based investigative reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @KenyonWallace or reach him via email: kwallace@thestar.ca

Source : Toronto Star More   

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