Ontario government moves into Phase Two of COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan
The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in “hot spot” communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. In addition, this phase will prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions in April 2021. With a steady supply of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government, over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and end of June 2021.
During Phase Two, the following groups will be eligible for vaccination:
- Older adults, between 60-75-79 years of age;
- Individuals with specific health conditions and some primary caregivers;
- People who live and work in congregate settings and some primary caregivers;
- People who live in hot spots with high rates of death, hospitalizations and transmission; and,
- Certain workers who cannot work from home.
Phase Two is focused on age and at-risk populations to prevent further death, hospitalization and transmission. To support this, Ontario is increasing vaccine allocations to COVID-19 “hot spot” communities across 13 public health units, targeting historic and ongoing areas with high rates of death, hospitalization and transmission. Niagara has been identified as one of the “hot spot” communities.
Prime Minister announces final instalment of Safe Restart Agreement
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced the final instalment of the over $19 billion Safe Restart Agreement, to help provinces and territories safely restart the economy, and provide continued support to Canadians.
Since the Agreement was reached last summer, this federal funding has been used to support the capacity of our health care systems, secure personal protective equipment for essential workers, and protect the most vulnerable in our communities. This funding has also supported safe and affordable child care, and assisted in the operating needs of municipalities and public transit.
Niagara to begin vaccinating frontline child care and education workers over April Break
- Teachers and educators, including occasional supply teachers who are actively working in-person and/or who backfill teachers who are absent because of potential COVID-19 exposures
- Early childhood educators, including those who provide coverage within either or both childcare and elementary school sectors.
- Licensees, employees and students on educational placement working in licensed childcare centres
- Licensed home childcare and in-home service providers
- Custodial, cafeteria and administrative staff
- Bus drivers and monitors
COVID-19 in Niagara: Media Conference April 6, 2021
Ontario is widening its vaccination plan in hard-hit areas and Premier Doug Ford hinted at further restrictions as the country’s most populous province faces a growing strain on hospitals and intensive care units from COVID-19 cases.
Residents aged 50 and over in “hot spot” postal codes — 90 or so neighbourhoods in 13 public health units that were identified by Ontario’s COVID-19 science advisory table — can start signing up for vaccines in the coming weeks, health officials said Tuesday.
Many of those who will be eligible under the initiative are essential workers, officials said. However, younger essential workers likely won’t have access to shots until mid-May at the earliest, according to a slide deck they presented.
In a letter dated April 4, medical officers of health in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa urged the province to impose stronger public health measures immediately, saying a provincial stay-at-home order is needed now to curb COVID-19.
At Tuesday’s briefing, Ford, who is due to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later Tuesday, signalled new restrictions ahead for the province but did not offer any specifics.
“We’re going to have further restrictions moving forward, very very quickly,” he said.
Catharine Tunney, CBC News
Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the federal government is closely monitoring the gap between the number of vaccines delivered to the provinces and the number that have been administered. Federal figures show close to 4,022,875 vaccines have been delivered to Ontario, for example, but only 2,545,640 have been administered. Quebec has received 2,320,707 vaccines from the federal government and has administered 1,552,215 doses, said Hajdu.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford pushed back against Hajdu’s comments today as he pushed for more vaccine deliveries. “I saw some tweet from a federal minister, ‘Oh, we have a million three in the freezers.’ We just got those. We literally got them a few days ago. So before that, we were running out, and we’ll continue to run out,” he said during his own news conference.
Wuyou Sui, Harry Prapavessis, The Conversation
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of new behaviours into daily routines, like physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Meanwhile, many old behaviours such as attending events, eating out and seeing friends have been put on hold.
However, one old behaviour that has persisted, and has arguably been amplified due to COVID-19, is sitting — and it is not surprising to see why. Whether sitting during transportation, work, screen time or even meals, everyday environments and activities are tailored nearly exclusively to prolonged sitting. As such, sedentary behaviours, like sitting, make up the vast majority of our waking day.
Pre-COVID-19 estimates place the average Canadian adult’s sedentary behaviour at around 9.5 hours per day. Current daily sedentary time is likely even higher as a result of stay-at-home orders, limitations on businesses and recreational facilities, and elevated health anxieties.
This is a problem, given that chronic excessive levels of sedentary time have been linked to greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, mortality and even some cancers. However, for many people, their own judgments and feelings about their quality of life (also known as subjective well-being) may be more important and relevant for informing their health decisions and behaviours than potentially developing chronic diseases.
Niagara COVID status tracker (March 21-27)
Niagara’s most up-to-date COVID statistics, measured against the targets for the various stages of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, are presented below. This does not predict government policy, but is offered to give you an idea of where Niagara is situated and how likely a relaxation (or further restrictions) may be. These data are the most recent published by Niagara Region. The Grey-Lockdown level does not have its own metrics, but is triggered when the COVID-specific measurements in a Red-Control region have continued to deteriorate.
▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement
▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement
|December 18||December 25||January 1||January 8||January 15||January 22||January 29|
|New cases per 100,000||101.2||267.3||469.8||575.8||507.1||295.5||250.6|
|New cases per day (not including outbreaks)||60.7||178.7||311.7||376.9||325.4||182.7||145.7|
|Percent of hospital beds occupied||97%||95.2%||98.2%||103.2%||104.5%||103.6%||106%|
|Percent of intensive care beds occupied||78.8%||77.3%||87.9%||87.9%||90.9%||89.4%||93.9%|
|Percentage of positive tests||6.1%||15.6%||28.1%||28.6%||26.6%||21.2%||16.2%|
- Weekly Incidence Rate: the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per week
- Percent Positivity: the number of positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed
- Rt: the reproductive rate, or the number of people infected by each case of the virus