COVID-19 in Canada: Trudeau urges provincial, municipal leaders to implement 'targeted shutdowns' as Toronto imposes stricter measures; Ontario reports record number of new cases

·7 min read

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Toronto to introduce stricter COVID-19 measures on Saturday

The City of Toronto is mandating stricter measures when the city moves into Ontario’s red level COVID-19 frame work on Nov. 14.

The new protections by Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, include:

  • Social gatherings should only be with those you live with and/or one or two essential supports

  • Restrict close contacts only to those you live with and your essential supports

  • Limit in-person activities outside the home to essential activities only – going to work or school, health care, shopping for your household and health needs, and getting exercise and physical activity

  • Businesses and workplaces should implement work from home wherever possible

  • Businesses should review their HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order

  • Workplaces should appoint a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control measures

  • Indoor dining will remain closed

  • Indoor fitness classes are not permitted

  • Meeting and event spaces will remain closed

  • In malls, patrons should not be permitted to consume food or drink while walking through malls

  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will remain closed

“Given the rising case counts and other contributing factors, Dr. de Villa’s advice is that it is not safe to proceed right now in the direction of that safe reopening for some businesses,” Mayor John Tory said at a press conference on Tuesday. “We need to take these unprecedented actions in order to get this virus under control in our city and avoid things that could be much worse.”

“We are at a crucial point, we’re at a crossroads where all of us need to tighten up our own lives to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We need each and every person in our city to act like the virus is everywhere because it could be anywhere.”

All of Manitoba moving to the tightest level of restriction

The Manitoba government announced Tuesday that the entire province will move into the critical level (red level) of pandemic response on Nov. 12.

These increased restrictions include:

  • Social contacts reduced to your household only and social gatherings are not permitted

  • Travel to and from northern Manitoba is restricted and non-essential travel is discouraged

  • Retail businesses listed as critical services, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, can remain open at 25 per cent capacity

  • Retail businesses not on the list are able to provide e-service, curbside pickup or delivery services

  • All personal service businesses, including hair salons, barbers and sites offering manicures, pedicures and other esthetic services, must close

  • Gyms and fitness centres must close

  • Religious and cultural gatherings must close or be provided virtually only

  • Restaurants must close to the public and may be open for delivery, drive-thru or takeout only

  • All recreational activities, sports facilities, casinos, museums, galleries, libraries, movie theatres and concert halls must close

“If COVID has taught us one thing, above all, it has taught us there is no profitability in blame placing, there is no short-term fix, there is no one-step action that guarantee that it will not be coming back,” Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said at a press conference on Tuesday. “When we were abiding by the fundamentals we were beating COVID, then some of us lost our way, now COVID is beating us.”

The provincial government also announced the new Manitoba Bridge Grant, which will provide $5,000 upfront to small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit and charitable organizations that were ordered to temporarily cease operations or close their physical locations due to public health orders.

Pallister also revealed that the province will announce more details around enforcement measures in Manitoba later this week.

“There’s going to be more enforcement, there’s going to be more tickets, sadly, if people choose to break the rules,” the premier said.

‘Beating COVID is the only way to protect our economy,’ Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began a press conference on Tuesday by identifying that the “record numbers” of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba are “really concerning.”

On Tuesday, the province reported 384 new COVID-19 cases with a test positivity rate of 10.6 per cent. Infections have also been surging in Indigenous communities in the province, in particular.

Trudeau announced the federal government is partnering with Manitoba First Nations to provide $61 million in “immediate funding” to support their response to the pandemic, and Indigenous Services Canada is mobilizing contact tracers and equipment to impacted communities.

“With rising cases of COVID-19 here at home, there’s added pressure on all orders of government to keep people safe and to protect jobs,” the prime minister said. “But I would hope that no leader in our country is easing public health vigilance because they feel pressure not to shut down businesses to slow down our economy.

“I understand that worry but let me tell you, that’s how we end up with businesses going out of business and the economy damaged even more. Beating COVID is the only way to protect our economy.”

Trudeau is urging premiers and mayor across Canada to “do the right thing” and “act now” to protect public health, including reaching out to the federal government if more support is needed and implementing “targeted shutdowns” and restrictions, where necessary.

“If businesses go under because of the COVID-19 pandemic surges, we end up worse off in the recovery,” the prime minister said. “That’s why we certainly encourage the provinces to act quickly to control the spread of this virus with the measures that..scientists and experts around the world [agree] are effective.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, stressed that it’s critically important that Canadians do all they can to limit COVID-19 transmission, particular in the winter season where the cold weather provides “better opportunities” for the spread of respiratory viruses.

“It is clear we have yet to bend the curve on accelerated growth in Canada,” Dr. Tam said. “Going into this respiratory season, COVID-19 is already well ahead of us.”

Ontario breaks daily COVID-19 case record

Ontario reported 1,388 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest daily case count to date. There are 520 new confirmed cases in Toronto, 395 in Peel, 100 in York Region, 72 in Halton and 50 in Niagara.

The province also reported 15 more COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total to 3,260.

There were 29,125 tests completed in the last 24 hours and there are 422 people with COVID-19 in Ontario hospitals, including 82 in ICU.

There are currently 95 outbreaks in long-term care homes, with 647 active resident cases and 399 cases in staff.

Ontario also reported 159 new school-related COVID-19 cases, including 103 student cases, 23 staff cases and 33 individuals who have not been identified.

Quebec continues to see over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases a day

Quebec reported 1,162 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including 253 cases in Montreal, 192 cases in Montérégie and 173 in Lanaudière.

The province also reported 38 new confirmed COVID-19 deaths, including nine that have occurred in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 534 people in Quebec hospitals with the virus, including 82 in intensive care.

On Tuesday, the provincial government announced Quebec’s red zone restrictions will remain in place for another two weeks.

“Our numbers show us that we must be even more careful,” Premier Francois Legault said at a press conference on Tuesday. “I understand that the situation is difficult for a lot people but our measures are necessary to save lives, to keep our children in school, to keep our workers at work and to save our health system.”

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