Community News Update - April 14, 2021

Dear Community,

Today, Ontario has reported another 4156 cases of COVID-19, and 28 deaths as a result of the virus. Here in Toronto, we had 1254 new cases, and across the province, our seven-day average has risen to 4003, the first time that it’s been over 4000 during the pandemic.

As we continue to grapple with the virus, we all have to do our part to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, and make sure that we are following the best advice from our public health experts. That means wearing your mask, only going out for essential purposes, and maintain our distance from one another when we are out.

It also means registering for your vaccination as soon as you are eligible, and helping others register for their vaccinations if they are having trouble doing so.

In an update from the University Health Network, they have temporarily paused registration for residents aged 18-49 in M5V, M6E, and M6H due to a shortage of vaccines. Anyone who has already registered will be contacted by the UHN or the Ministry of Health when there is an appointment available, and registration for this group will resume when they have confirmed additional supply.

This afternoon, Health Canada released an important update regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine, which today they have said they believe is safe for all adults, regardless of age. While the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) still haven’t updated their recommendation that the shot only be delivered to those 55 and older, we could see a change in those recommendations in the coming days.

This declaration from Health Canada has come after a thorough review of evidence from the United Kingdom, where the AstraZeneca shot has been given out over 20 million times.  

While the vaccine distribution rollout in Ontario has been plagued with challenges, this week we discovered some discrepancies in the Ford governments ‘hotspot’ prioritizations of postal codes.

Through a careful analysis of the data, CBC News discovered that the Ford government prioritized at least five postal codes which have hospitalization and death rates below the provincial average. Four of these five postal codes are represented by PC MPPs.

On the flip side, CBC found seven postal codes that have been more greatly impacted by according to the province's official criteria that were left off the ‘hot spot’ list. All seven of these postal codes are in ridings represented by Opposition MPPs.

In response to this, Andrea Horwath has written a letter to the Auditor General asking that she examine how the Ford government has gone about choosing ‘hot spots' in Ontario. As we hear more information on this front, I will be sure to share it with our community.

Finally, today is the Day of Pink, a day where we celebrate the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, and we recommit to challenging homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, transmisogyny, and every form of bullying – everywhere we see it.

In Solidarity,
 
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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