Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario surpasses 7 million vaccine doses over weekend; U.K. says variant first identified in India is likely to become the dominant strain

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.9:15 p.m.: 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 Ontario, more than 7,064,815 doses have been given in total, with 139,583 daily doses reported as of May 15.Read the full story here: Ontario hit seven million vaccines — and counting — on weekend9:00 p.m.: A Calgary mayoral candidate who is under a restraining order and a pastor both face charges for allegedly violating COVID-19 laws over the weekend.The Calgary Police Service alleges Kevin J. Johnston was in violation of a court order when he attended an illegal gathering Saturday morning.The injunction, obtained by the province’s health delivery agency on May 6, mandates that event organizers comply with public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits.Police also say Pastor Tim Stephens was arrested Sunday afternoon for organizing a church service that was held earlier in the day at Fairview Baptist Church, which police allege did not comply with public health orders.Read the full story: Pastor, candidate under restraining order arrested for allegedly breaking COVID laws8:30 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday May 16, 2021:There are 1,328,582 confirmed cases in Canada.Canada: 1,328,582 confirmed cases (70,341 active, 1,233,293 resolved, 24,948 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.There were 4,903 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 185.08 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,721 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,817.There were 40 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 306 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 44. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.64 per 100,000 people.There have been 33,482,165 tests completed.Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,193 confirmed cases (89 active, 1,098 resolved, six deaths).There were nine new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 55 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.There have been 255,378 tests completed.Prince Edward Island: 191 confirmed cases (10 active, 181 resolved, zero deaths).There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.There have been 154,113 tests completed.Nova Scotia: 4,736 confirmed cases (1,531 active, 3,133 resolved, 72 deaths).There were 126 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 156.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 819 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 117.There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.35 per 100,000 people.There have been 719,049 tests completed.New Brunswick: 2,063 confirmed cases (117 active, 1,905 resolved, 41 deaths).There were 11 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 14.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 61 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine.There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people.There have been 322,461 tests completed.Quebec: 363,296 confirmed cases (7,312 active, 344,950 resolved, 11,034 deaths).There were 716 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 85.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 737.There were two new reported deaths

Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario surpasses 7 million vaccine doses over weekend; U.K. says variant first identified in India is likely to become the dominant strain

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world on Sunday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:15 p.m.: 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 Ontario, more than 7,064,815 doses have been given in total, with 139,583 daily doses reported as of May 15.

Read the full story here: Ontario hit seven million vaccines — and counting — on weekend

9:00 p.m.: A Calgary mayoral candidate who is under a restraining order and a pastor both face charges for allegedly violating COVID-19 laws over the weekend.

The Calgary Police Service alleges Kevin J. Johnston was in violation of a court order when he attended an illegal gathering Saturday morning.

The injunction, obtained by the province’s health delivery agency on May 6, mandates that event organizers comply with public health restrictions, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits.

Police also say Pastor Tim Stephens was arrested Sunday afternoon for organizing a church service that was held earlier in the day at Fairview Baptist Church, which police allege did not comply with public health orders.

Read the full story: Pastor, candidate under restraining order arrested for allegedly breaking COVID laws

8:30 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday May 16, 2021:

There are 1,328,582 confirmed cases in Canada.

Canada: 1,328,582 confirmed cases (70,341 active, 1,233,293 resolved, 24,948 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 4,903 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 185.08 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 40,721 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,817.

There were 40 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 306 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 44. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 33,482,165 tests completed.

Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,193 confirmed cases (89 active, 1,098 resolved, six deaths).

There were nine new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 55 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 255,378 tests completed.

Prince Edward Island: 191 confirmed cases (10 active, 181 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 154,113 tests completed.

Nova Scotia: 4,736 confirmed cases (1,531 active, 3,133 resolved, 72 deaths).

There were 126 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 156.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 819 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 117.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.01 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.35 per 100,000 people.

There have been 719,049 tests completed.

New Brunswick: 2,063 confirmed cases (117 active, 1,905 resolved, 41 deaths).

There were 11 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 14.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 61 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people.

There have been 322,461 tests completed.

Quebec: 363,296 confirmed cases (7,312 active, 344,950 resolved, 11,034 deaths).

There were 716 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 85.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,162 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 737.

There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 47 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.68 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,838,292 tests completed.

Ontario: 509,316 confirmed cases (26,656 active, 474,175 resolved, 8,485 deaths).

There were 2,199 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 180.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17,013 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,430.

There were 30 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 177 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 25. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.17 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.59 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,586,270 tests completed.

Manitoba: 45,149 confirmed cases (4,440 active, 39,699 resolved, 1,010 deaths).

There were 534 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 321.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,200 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 457.

There were four new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 73.23 per 100,000 people.

There have been 740,345 tests completed.

Saskatchewan: 44,531 confirmed cases (2,082 active, 41,932 resolved, 517 deaths).

There were 167 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 176.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,390 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 199.

There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 15 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.86 per 100,000 people.

There have been 817,641 tests completed.

Alberta: 218,961 confirmed cases (22,280 active, 194,538 resolved, 2,143 deaths).

There were 1,140 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 503.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,171 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,453.

There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 33 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.46 per 100,000 people.

There have been 4,379,989 tests completed.

British Columbia: 138,304 confirmed cases (5,717 active, 130,953 resolved, 1,634 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 111.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,762 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 395.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 16 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.74 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,623,522 tests completed.

Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (one active, 81 resolved, two deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,129 tests completed.

Northwest Territories: 121 confirmed cases (38 active, 83 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 84.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 22 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 21,730 tests completed.

Nunavut: 624 confirmed cases (68 active, 552 resolved, four deaths).

There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 172.79 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 59 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is eight.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,170 tests completed.

7:30 p.m.: Alberta is reporting 1,140 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical health officer, says in a tweet that Alberta's test positivity rate is 9.6 per cent.

Hinshaw says there are 647 people with COVID-19 in Alberta hospitals, including 186 in intensive care.

She says Alberta has administered 2,189,999 vaccine doses.

6:00 p.m.: As some Brazilian states strain to get coronavirus vaccines to complete immunizing their seniors, a city in the interior of Sao Paulo state devoted all its doses Sunday to a mass immunization for all residents 18 to 60 years old as part of a medical research project for the pandemic.

The task forces set up 45 vaccination points at voting sites in Botucatu and people were directed to get their shots at their normal election center. Those showing up for shots also were separated by age groups.

The first dose of the day was administered by Brazil’s health minister, Marcelo Queiroga, who highlighted the importance of maintaining care to avoid the transmission of the coronavirus.

Read the full story here: Brazil city offers COVID immunization to all as part of test

5:00 p.m.: Canadian provinces continued to take steps towards hitting their vaccination targets today even as questions linger after the departure of the senior military officer in charge of the national immunization drive.

Ontario administered its seven millionth vaccine dose over the weekend, which saw several hot spots trying to scale up their efforts to reach more residents.

One vaccine clinic in Peel region west of Toronto operated for at least 32 hours straight in a bid to reach essential workers logging non-traditional hours as well as younger people.

Read the full story here: Provinces push forward on vaccination amid lingering questions after Fortin departure

4:05 p.m.: Saskatchewan is reporting 167 new cases of COVID-19 and one additional virus-related death.

The person who died was in the 80-plus age category, according to the province's daily pandemic update, and was from the Saskatoon zone.

The update says 2,082 COVID-19 cases are considered active in Saskatchewan.

There are 137 people with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan hospitals, with 24 in intensive care.

3:00 p.m.: A clinic in East York is planning to administer between 6,000 to 10,000 doses, during a vaccine blitz on Sunday.

Thorncliffe Park Community Hub at 45 Overlea Boulevard is open to those 18+ living or working in a ‘M’ postal code in Toronto.

Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), who’s running the clinic told the Star that 3,000 doses had already been administered by noon.

Read the full story here: East York clinic planning to administer up to 10,000 doses in vaccine blitz on Sunday

2:35 p.m.: Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19.

The province is now dealing with 116 active infections, and has reported 2,063 cases and 41 deaths since the pandemic began.

Seven people are recovering in hospital, including two in intensive care.

1:20 p.m.: Ontario Premier Doug Ford says summer camps will be allowed to reopen in the province this year.

The premier's remarks came during a stop at a mass vaccination clinic west of Toronto.

Ford offered no details on reopening plans, including whether they pertained to overnight or day camps and any public health measures that may be in place.

A spokesperson from the Premier's office says more details will be announced before the province's stay-at-home order lifts on June 2.

12:40 p.m.: The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the U.S. said Sunday that “the undeniable effects of racism” have led to unacceptable health disparities that especially hurt African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has shown a bright light on our own society’s failings,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a graduation ceremony for Emory University.

Speaking by webcast from Washington, Fauci told the graduates in Atlanta that many members of minority groups work in essential jobs where they might be exposed to the coronavirus. He also said they are more likely to become infected if exposed because of medical conditions such as hypertension, chronic lung disease, diabetes or obesity.

“Now, very few of these comorbidities have racial determinants,” Fauci said. “Almost all relate to the social determinants of health dating back to disadvantageous conditions that some people of colour find themselves in from birth regarding the availability of an adequate diet, access to health care and the undeniable effects of racism in our society.”

Fauci said correcting societal wrongs will take a commitment of decades, and he urged the graduates to be part of the solution.

Fauci said that once society returns to “some form of normality,” people should not forget that infectious disease has disproportionally hospitalized and killed people of colour.

Read the full story here.

12:20 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford attended a vaccine site at the International Plaza Hotel in Mississauga on Sunday. Ford commended the efforts of Peel Public Health saying, "these folks are champions, the more people that come out, the quicker we can open up, and we are going to open up very soon."

11:33 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 716 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths, both from the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations and intensive care numbers each declined by one to 508 and 119, respectively.

The province added 90,196 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours and 2,234 from earlier to its grand total of 4,323,040 vaccines administered.

The province says 48.2 per cent of the population has received at least one dose.

10:15 a.m.: Ontario is reporting another 2,199 COVID-19 cases and 30 more deaths, according to its latest report released Sunday morning.

There are 1,292 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, including 785 patients in intensive care. There are 552 people on ventilators.

Ontario has administered 139,583 vaccine doses since its last daily update, with 7,064,815 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. last night. The province says 429,636 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they’ve had both doses.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says locally, there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 547 in Peel, 172 in York Region and 143 in Durham.

Read the full story here.

9:51 a.m.: Today, Premier Doug Ford will be visiting the ‘Doses After Dark’ mass vaccination clinic in Mississauga. Peel Region aims to administer more than 7,600 doses, including 5,000 doses overnight, during a 32-hour vaccination marathon.

9:02 a.m.: Police are reaching out to villagers in northern India to investigate the recovery of bodies buried in shallow sand graves or washed up on the Ganges River banks, prompting speculation on social media that they're the remains of COVID-19 victims.

In jeeps and boats, police used portable loudspeakers with microphones asking people not to dispose of bodies in rivers. "We are here to help you perform the last rites,” police said.

On Friday, rains exposed the cloth coverings of bodies buried in shallow sand graves on a wide, flat riverbank in Prayagraj, a city in Uttar Pradesh state. While officials say the riverside burials have taken place for decades, the sheer numbers in the shadow of the pandemic are focusing more attention on the practice.

Navneet Sehgal, a state government spokesman, on Sunday denied local media reports that more than 1,000 corpses of COVID-19 victims had been recovered from rivers in the past two weeks. “I bet these bodies have nothing to do with COVID-19,” he said.

The Health Ministry on Sunday reported 311,170 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, down from 326,098 on Saturday.

It also reported 4,077 additional deaths, taking the total fatalities to 270,284. Both figures are almost certainly a vast undercount, experts say.

Read the full story from The Associated Press here.

8:41 a.m.: A new blood-clotting syndrome seen in a small minority of COVID-19 vaccine recipients continues to draw significant attention, but experts maintain the event is exceedingly rare — and treatable, in most cases.

Vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia, or VITT, has been identified in at least 18 Oxford-AstraZeneca recipients in Canada, with 10 more under review. There have been three deaths associated with the condition.

The disorder, characterized by low platelet counts, has been associated with but not definitively linked to the viral vector shots from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Some provinces have started to move away from using AstraZeneca for first doses. Canada's increased supply of mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna means more Canadians are getting access to those shots.

Here’s what we know about VITT

8:27 a.m.: Yale University is requiring its faculty and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations before the fall term, extending a requirement already imposed for students.

The private university says faculty members, staffers and academic trainees must be fully inoculated by Aug. 1, although there are provisions for exemptions for reasons based on medical conditions or religious or “strongly held” personal beliefs.

More than 350 colleges and universities around the country are requiring vaccinations for students, at least those living on-campus. However, requirements for employees are somewhat rare. That’s according to information compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

8:24 a.m.: Britain’s health minister says a fast-spreading coronavirus variant first identified in India is likely to become the dominant strain of the virus in the U.K.

Health officials are conducting door-to-door testing in several areas of the country in an attempt to curb the spread of the variant, which the government has warned could disrupt the U.K.’s reopening plans. Surge vaccinations in key regions are to begin shortly.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain, formally known as B.1.617.2, is more transmissible than the U.K.’s dominant strain. He told the BBC “it is likely it will become the dominant variant.”

Hancock said scientists had a “high degree of confidence” that current vaccines work against the new variant, and there is no evidence it causes more a severe disease.

The government says it will go ahead with plans to ease lockdown restrictions on Monday. People in England will be able to eat a restaurant meal or drink a beer indoors, go to a movie and visit one another’s homes for the first time in months.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that if the variant causes a big surge in cases it could scupper plans to lift all remaining restrictions on June 21.

4 a.m.: As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks.

Health Canada says up to 37 million doses of vaccine could be shipped in May and June, but only 20.3 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and 1.04 million doses of Moderna are confirmed. The remaining 11.3 million doses of Moderna, and another four million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca from various sources are still tentative.

Provinces initially suspended giving AstraZeneca shots to people under the age of 55 based on an advisory committee's advice, but their recommendation changed on April 23 to reflect that the shot is safe for anyone aged 30 and older.

More than 655,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the global vaccine sharing alliance known as COVAX, are scheduled to arrive and be distributed to provinces in the week ahead, but most provinces have already said they plan to put them on ice in reserve for second doses.

Health Canada, meanwhile, approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children 12 and older on May 5.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says almost 50 per cent of eligible adults in Canada have received at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

He says by the summer, Canada will have enough vaccines so that every eligible resident will have gotten their first dose, and by September, it will have enough doses for everyone to be fully vaccinated.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 364,245 new vaccinations administered for a total of 18,098,470 doses given. Nationwide, 1,395,315 people or 3.7 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 47,754.13 per 100,000.

There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 20,355,204 doses delivered so far

4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

There are 1,323,681 confirmed cases in Canada (71,903 active, 1,226,870 resolved, 24,908 deaths).The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 5,269 new cases Saturday. The rate of active cases is 189.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 43,117 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,160.

There were 40 new reported deaths Saturday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 328 new reported deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 47. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 33,383,698 tests completed.

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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