Community News Update - April 30, 2021

Dear Community,

I want to start today with an important announcement.

On Tuesday, May 4 at 7PM, I will be hosting a telephone town hall on COVID-19, where residents of our community will be able to share their questions with our expert panel regarding the pandemic, the response from the government, and anything else related you would like to ask.

While I will be dialing out to the community to tune in, if you want to make sure not to miss it, you can RSVP and participate here (note: you can ignore where it says US numbers only).

You can also tune in via Facebook Live on Tuesday here.

Our panel will consist of:

  • Dr. Samir Gupta, Respirologist
  • Dr. Vinita Dubey, an Associate Medical Officer of Health at Toronto Public Health
  • Nicole Welch, Director and Chief Nursing Officer at Toronto Public Health

I am looking forward to this event, and the opportunity to answer your questions directly. 

Today, Ontario reported another 3887 cases of COVID-19, as we continue to average around 4000 cases a day here in Ontario. Along with the new cases, we have reported an additional 21 deaths across our province.

These numbers remain too high, and while we need better protections from our provincial government, it remains crucial that we’re all doing our part too – that means wearing our masks, maintaining our physical distancing, and only leaving our homes for essential purposes.

Sadly, on the note of needing better supports from our government, it does not appear right now that they are coming. After many months of pressure applied by the Opposition at Queen’s Park, we have been able to push the government to implement a paid sick days program – however, the program that they have now implemented remains woefully inadequate.

I’ve covered this frustration in some length in recent communications, so as we enter the weekend, I won’t belabour the point – except to say this: this fight is not over, and I will continue to advocate for a permanent paid sick days program for all workers in Ontario that will actually provide them with the protection that they deserve.

As I am writing this newsletter, a very important story is continuing to emerge, as Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission has submitted its final report. The report comes in at over 300 pages, and while we have not had the chance yet to analyse the entire document, initial reports are pointing to some serious systemic failures that lead to the crisis in the sector.

One particularly telling quote reads: "This investigation has shown that long-standing weaknesses in the long-term care sector figured prominently in the death and devastation COVID-19 inflicted on residents, their loved ones and the staff who care for them."

I will have more updates about this report in the coming days.

In vaccination news, the government has released their Phase Two Schedule for Booking Eligibility, which you can see in the graphic below.

  • Week of April 26: All Ontario adults age 55 and up; those 45 years old and up in hot-spot communities; and licensed child-care workers.
  • Week of May 3: Ontario adults over the age of 50; adults age 18 and up in hot-spot communities; those with health conditions deemed "high risk"; and some people who cannot work from home.
  • Week of May 10: Ontario adults over the age of 40; those with health conditions deemed "at risk"; and more individuals who cannot work from home.
  • Week of May 17: Ontario adults over the age of 30. 
  • Week of May 24: Ontario adults over the age of 18.

 Thanks to CBC news for this breakdown.
Have a safe and restful weekend!
In Solidarity,
Jill Andrew
Toronto—St. Paul's

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