Earlier this week, Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table reported an estimated 100,000 – 120,000 COVID-19 cases per day based on wastewater surveillance. While official numbers are much lower due to limited testing, Ontario’s current caseload seems to be similar to the peak of the Omicron wave.
I, alongside my NDP colleagues, have again called the Ford government for an updated masking policy, paid sick days and broad access to PCR testing. Specifically, we need masking in long-term care, hospitals and on transit to continue, for masks in schools to return, and for the Ford government to either reinstate masking in public places like malls or clearly explain why they won’t. We also need at least ten permanent paid sick days so workers can stay home at a sign of symptoms instead of infecting their coworkers. Finally, we need to reinstate broad access to PCR testing.
Health care workers are exhausted and becoming infected with COVID at an alarming rate. This pandemic has been tiring and worrisome for all of us, but the government needs to do better and stop pretending the pandemic is over. Unfortunately, that’s not the case yet.
I also wanted to remind everyone that the fourth doses of the COVID vaccine are now available to individuals aged 60 and over, as well as First Nation, Inuit and Métis individuals and their non-Indigenous household members aged 18 and over.
Fourth doses are being offered at a recommended interval of 5 months after receiving the third dose. Book at ontario.ca/book-vaccine, 1-833-943-3900 or at participating pharmacies.
On another note, it was great to be out at Eglinton Station this morning meeting residents (and their delightful dogs!). We discussed with many residents the NDP’s plan for a better future, which includes affordable housing, improved long-term care, universal mental health support, less harmful impacts in our environment and more! It’s always important to hear which issues are a priority for each and every one of you.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with the Canadian Ethnic Media Association and its members about some of the things that I, alongside my NDP colleagues, have been advocating for. Ethnic, local and multilingual media represent an integral part of who we are as Ontarians. They tell our diverse stories and keep our community members connected to current news here and abroad. They are particularly important to those who do not have English as their first language and have played such a crucial role during this pandemic when many of us were isolated and needed accurate information.
As for events in our community, we have this drop-in virtual song-writing program happening on April 13th and April 20th from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Through this initiative, youth will learn vocal warmups and tips on how to write songs. The program can also be used as a therapeutic way for participants to process intense emotions.
Another event coming up is the TNG Community Services’ Career Exploration Speaker Series about careers in the green economy. This event is happening on April 14th at 2 pm. Register at [email protected] or 416.925.2103 x4000.
Finally, on April 20th, there is also the CP Planning’s workshop on empowering racialized people to build and implement planning solutions to speed up the development of affordable housing and increase security for racialized renters. Ontario lives a housing crisis, and initiatives such as this are so important so that we have more actors discussing how to make housing more affordable. More information at https://torontohscarrp.eventbrite.ca.