Updated numbers show Brampton had 24% of Ontario’s COVID cases Sunday as provincial numbers rise
The Pointer file photos/Facebook/Flickr/Government of Canada

Updated numbers show Brampton had 24% of Ontario’s COVID cases Sunday as provincial numbers rise


Despite only having 4.5 percent of Ontario’s population Brampton accounted for 24 percent of the province’s COVID-19 cases reported Sunday, according to updated figures from the Region of Peel.

The city reported 27 cases in one day, while there were 115 across Ontario. The Sunday numbers are part of a larger trend, both in Brampton and across the province, as numbers are spiking since the entry into Stage 3 of the reopening plan.

Monday marked the fourth day in a row with a hundred or more cases in the province, the first time such high numbers have been seen since Toronto and Peel entered Stage 3 at the end of July.

Video of a Toronto patio violating rules in July, prior to the city's entry into Stage 3, is just one example of social distancing being ignored by younger generations

 

At Monday’s press conference Premier Doug Ford said, "I'm watching it like a hawk," referring to the number of new cases in Peel and Toronto. Ottawa, he pointed out, is another area where numbers are on the rise.

He detailed Monday’s case counts, which showed 75 of the 105 new infections in Ontario were reported in Peel, Toronto and Ottawa.  

Outside these three areas, "the province and the people are doing great," Ford said.

The province is now considering a new testing model that would allow people to get screened in drug stores, similar to a strategy being launched in Alberta.

"We have been discussing this for a little while," Ford said, mentioning discussions with Loblaws CEO Galen Weston. The company owns Shoppers Drug Mart and Superstore and talks have been initiated about utilizing their pharmacies to test people who are asymptomatic, in an effort to prevent a second wave of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Stephen Lecce fielded more questions about the scramble to get schools opened in time for the scheduled first day of classes. He said one focus has been on increasing in-class time for high school students, after some boards handed in plans that fell far short of expectations. For example, the York Region District School Board initially submitted a proposal for only 25 percent in-class learning, but Lecce said Monday that the ministry has worked with the board and it has now hit the 50 percent target for in-class learning in high schools.

In Peel, a number of questions are still outstanding but should be answered this week. The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board told The Pointer that key details for its reopening plan will be announced Wednesday. The Peel District School Board announced Friday that the first day of classes for some schools could be delayed, a common theme across the GTA.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board announced Monday that classes will not start until September 14, after the date was pushed back by a week to accommodate all the changes boards are trying to juggle.

Getting high school students enough in-class time while maintaining social distancing is proving to be a challenge for boards

 

Meanwhile, PDSB is also trying to figure out how to handle what it has described as a “monumental task”.

“To date, we’ve heard back from approximately 81% of PDSB families about their intentions to have their child(ren) return in September,” the board stated. “We have learned that 26% of all PDSB students—about 40,000 students—will attend through distance learning only—30% of elementary students and 17% of secondary students.”

The distance learning plan for those who do not want to or cannot return to class, is a particular challenge.

“As you can imagine, this presents us with a monumental task, as a structure to support PDSB Online School does not currently exist.”

The novel coronavirus might pose problems that jurisdictions are not prepared for, the World Health Organization reported Monday, detailing at least one case of a man in Hong Kong who was infected with two different strains of the virus in less than five months. Other cases around the world of people getting infected more than once, possibly with different strains, are also raising concern that a second wave of the pandemic is inevitable.

Even a vaccine, once widely available possibly some time next year, might not provide the type of global immunity people are hoping for, the WHO has warned.

With the economy opening up and schools around the world gradually reintroducing in-class learning, many researchers are suggesting the impacts of COVID-19 will be seen for months, maybe years.

Canadians shouldn't expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be a "silver bullet" that will bring a swift end to the novel coronavirus pandemic and a return to normal, according to the country's chief public health officer.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, says a vaccine should not be treated like a silver bullet

 

Dr. Theresa Tam warned against any unrealistic expectations earlier in the month. She swept away claims that a vaccine will allow a return to normal life before the end of the year.

"We can't at this stage just put all of our focus [on a vaccine] in the hopes that this is the silver bullet solution," she said.

"We're going to have to manage this pandemic certainly over the next year, but certainly [we are] planning for the longer term of the next two to three years during which the vaccine may play a role but we don't know yet."


 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @JoeljWittnebel


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