The CORONAVIRUS REPORT for FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2020

A look at the numbers … possible more restrictions

Ontario recorded a new high of 24-hundred and 32 coronavirus diagnoses yesterday.

We could see more restrictions announced for parts of the province later today, as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

The Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas are still seeing sharp increases in the number of new cases, and the City of Toronto has been discussing tougher measures with the province.

The Ontario Hospital Association wants a four-week lockdown imposed across the province to avoid what it says will be a “devastating surge” in the number of new cases after the holidays.

Premier Doug Ford says nothing is off the table at this point.

But Ford is also concerned about the effects that stricter controls would have on peoples’ mental health.

He notes there’s been a rise in the number of drug overdose deaths and suicides….and that has to be taken into consideration as well.

Creation of long-term care employee positions

The provincial government has launched an ambitious program to hire and train 26-thousand new long-term care employees by 2025.

It’ll cost as much as 1.9-billion dollars annually.

The government has pledged to increase personal care levels to four hours a day for those living in long-term care, and will work with the industry to provide more full-time job positions.

Premier Ford says they want to create more training opportunities and better employment conditions, so future nurses, personal support workers, and health care staff can take pride in what they do, and provide the care people need and deserve.

 

Santa declared essential worker

There is some good news on the COVID-19 front.

Premier Ford says Santa Claus has been declared an essential service, and will be able to perform his rounds on Christmas Eve.

Ford adds the jolly old elf and his reindeer have been taking all the proper precautions, and will be ready to go.

Ford is also thanking all other essential service workers for their hard work all through the pandemic.

 

Paying back the CERB – Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says those people concerned that they may have to repay some of the federal emergency benefits they received shouldn’t be worried over Christmas.

The Canada Revenue Agency has sent out letters to more than 440-thousand people, saying they may not have been eligible to receive money from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

In a CBC interview, Trudeau says a December 31st deadline listed in the letters isn’t hard and fast…..so people shouldn’t be anxious.

He adds the government will work with those who received the notifications on a case-by-case basis….and vulnerable populations will be protected.

 

Extension focuses time for new legislation for the dying

The Quebec Superior Court has granted the federal government another two-month extension to pass new legislation on medical assistance in dying.

In September of last year, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down, as unconstitutional, a restriction in the law that death must be “reasonably foreseeable” before people could seek medical assistance in ending their lives.

The new bill has made it through the Commons, but didn’t pass the Senate before Parliament adjourned for the Christmas break.

Opponents say the legislation doesn’t do enough to protect vulnerable populations, such as those with intellectual disabilities.

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