A look at the numbers
Our province continues to flatten the curve.
Health officials report 189 new cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday, a point-six per cent increase over Wednesday.
That brings to more than 34-thousand the number of diagnoses so far, 86 per cent of those infected have recovered.
The number of people being treated in hospital has dropped slightly, to 270.
Some 69 people are in intensive care, the lowest level since early April.
Another ten deaths were also reported.
So far, 26-hundred and 41 people have died of the coronavirus in Ontario.
The province’s chief medical officer of health, Doctor David Williams, is pleased with the numbers, but warns the virus is still a threat as the province continues to reopen.
He says it’s not open up and be casual; it’s open up and be cautious.
Williams adds he’s not considering making the wearing of masks compulsory.
That decision would be left up to municipal governments and he wonders how they would enforce it.
The news comes as the legislature approves another extension of the state of emergency, until July 15th.
Premier Doug Ford says he hopes this is the last time it will have to be extended.
Current health orders, such as bans on large gatherings, can be continued beyond that date.
Assistance for students
The federal government is releasing details of its program to help students who are missing out on summer job opportunities due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Canada Student Service Grant will offer up to five-thousand dollars to students who volunteer to serve in activities related to battling the pandemic.
The program to assist students also includes money for more student placements and internships through companies during the summer.
The feds will also invest $40-million to create 5,000 internships with the non-profit group Mitacs and $40-million on a wage subsidy for youth and small business through the Digital Skills for Youth and the Computer for Schools Plus programs.
The Canada Summer Jobs program will be expanded to provide another 10,000 jobs for students between the ages of 15 and 30.
Allowing Stage Two
Much of Windsor-Essex, including the city of Windsor, was allowed to move onto Stage Two of the provincial recovery program yesterday.
But the regions around Leamington and Kingsville will remain in Stage One, as provincial health official’s deal with outbreaks among migrant farm workers.
More teams of provincial health employees are being deployed to the area to test the seasonal employees and ensure they’re aware of guidelines regarding physical distancing.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says this will allow the rapid scale-up of testing in agri-food businesses across the region.
Ford cautious about American border
Premier Doug Ford is adamant that the closure of the U-S border must be continued for some time yet.
The two countries have agreed to extend their mutual closure to July 21st, but Ford says even that seems a little early.
He’s point to a spike in cases south of the border, including more than a dozen states that have set new record highs for infections in the past week.
Ford says, while he loves Americans, we’re just not ready to welcome them back yet.
He says we can’t let down our guard now.
United States hot bed of infections
The United States is reporting the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in two months, with nearly 36-thousand new diagnoses confirmed.
So far this week, ten states have recorded record high numbers of new daily infections.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott admits his state is facing what he calls, a massive outbreak, and increased restrictions may be necessary.
Nevada’s governor has ordered that face masks be worn in public as of tomorrow, which includes casinos.
Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have formed a travel bubble.
Anyone arriving there from eight states with high coronavirus infection rates must self-quarantine for 14 days, or face hefty fines.
WestJet announces layoffs
The coronavirus pandemic continues to hit hard at the travel industry.
WestJet says more than 33-hundred employees will be permanently laid off due to the devastating drop in business.
The airline’s flights are down by more than 90 percent.
The company is reorganizing its activities, concentrating call-centre activity in Calgary, and contracting out its ground services in all airports except Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Toronto.
WestJet officials say they hope the companies taking over the services can hire many of their laid-off workers.