COVID-19 Highlights: May 17-24

By: Laura Steiner

Replacing a daily roundup with a weekly roundup of developments on COVID-19

Federal: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Announces a further $75 million in aid for agencies providing services for off-reserve Indigenous people. Trudeau also announced the expansion of eligibility of criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). Businesses with a payroll of $20,000 will now be eligible. The Canada-US border will remain closed to all but essential travel until June 21, 2020.

Ontario: Ontario announces it will close the schools until September at the earliest. This will not affect students who are scheduled to graduate. Additionally, overnight camps are cancelled. Ontario has extended its state of emergency until May 29. Reopening has ramped up as retail outside malls were allowed to reopen this past Tuesday. The province has also opened its OSAP program for applicants for the 2020-2021 school year. The province will hold a commission on what happened in Ontario’s Long-Term Care homes

Milton/ Halton: The Town of Milton has cancelled its summer camp program for kids. It could take between 2-4 weeks to process refunds. The Town is starting to reopen its parks and amenities with restrictions including: off-leash dog parks, tennis courts, and sports fields. The Halton Agricultural Board has cancelled the annual Fall Fair, and Canada Day festivities that were to be held at the Fair Grounds. The Canada Day fireworks scheduled for Mohawk-Woodbine Park are also cancelled.

Milton Public Library has begun to reopen. Their curbside book collection at the Main Branch is open until 10am tomorrow. Conservation Halton has opened some of its parks on a reservation only basis. For more information visit the website.

Health Notes: Masks, Numbers, and a Vaccine

Wearing Masks: Wednesday , Canada’s top public official Dr. Theresa Tam advised Canadians to wear non-medical masks where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Those with breathing issues that make them unable to tolerate a mask should practice the other measures such as hand-washing, physical distancing, and staying home while ill.

COVID Case Numbers: Growing concern over the numbers of new cases showing up in the community. The five-day rolling average was at 326 as of Monday, as of yesterday it increased to 416. With the counts over the last two days (Saturday- 441 and today’s 461) the two-day average is 451. Friday it was reported that 1/3 of new cases are now being transmitted in the community. Halton is reporting 612 cases, and 75 classified as pending. The Region’s Medical Officer of Health issued a mandatory quarantine order for those affected by the virus.

Vaccine Update: The CBC reports a group out of Halifax’s Dalhousie University is about to test a new vaccine. The product of CanSino Biologics Inc has been in trials on a group of 108 adults in Wuhan. The Canadians will start with fewer than 100 people between 18-55, before expanding to 500 people which is to include those in the 65-85 age range.