Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- Ontario announced it will gradually reopen the province and lift the stay-at-home order
- Experts are recommending that Canada investigate mixing doses of different types of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to address shortages
- B.C. promised about a quarter of a million front-line workers a $4-an-hour boost during the pandemic, but months later, many are still waiting
In the last 7 days, 24,529 cases were reported, down 20 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 701 deaths announced, down 22 per cent over the same period. At least 2,863 people are being treated in hospitals and 747,114 others are considered recovered.
About 88 per cent of the 1,251,315 doses of vaccines distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 2.9 doses for every 100 people in Canada.
Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.
Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts • Lockdown rules and reopening • Canada’s vaccine distribution plan • Developing/approved vaccines • Pfizer’s vaccine, explained • Essential resources
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Last May, B.C. announced front-line workers would receive a “financial boost” of $4 an hour during the first four months of the pandemic. Months later, some workers are still waiting. Meanwhile, the province is aiming to increase its capacity to screen new COVID-19-positive samples for variants. Also in B.C., the province’s ombudsperson is calling for fair and consistent policy on long-term care visits.
- Ontario announced plans for a gradual easing of its COVID-19 restrictions while maintaining shutdowns in Toronto and other hot spots for another two weeks.
- In Quebec, there were 853 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, just as non-essential retail stores, personal-care salons and museums reopened across the province.
- New Brunswick is easing COVID-19 restrictions in two regions of the province where infection rates have been high.
- Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador suspended recreational sports in St. John’s after 11 new infections were reported.
- Paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki has been spending time playing sledge hockey on a pond behind his family’s home in Airdrie, Alberta, during the pandemic.
In Ottawa, the federal government is sparring with provincial health officials over paid sick leave while essential labourers continue to work in fear of surging workplace outbreaks.
- Workplaces have been a key driver of rising COVID-19 cases since the fall, yet more than half of workers in Canada don’t have access to paid sick leave.
Failing grade: Canadians gave an average of 4.7 out of 10 to Ottawa and the provinces for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout so far, a new survey shows.
Vaccine hesitancy: Polls conducted by unions and workplace safety associations in December suggest nearly half of long-term care staff in Canada were unsure if they’d get the vaccine or were flat-out opposed to it.
Coronavirus and business
The Bank of Nova Scotia is vacating the top floors in Scotia Plaza in Toronto, adding to the influx of office space for lease as numerous Bay Street firms and other businesses have been putting some of their space on the sublet market.
- The increase in sublets has sent downtown Toronto’s office vacancy rate to 7.2 per cent in the fourth quarter from 2 per cent before the pandemic, according to CBRE data.
Also today: A group representing thousands of small businesses across the country said the new version of the commercial rent-relief program still isn’t living up to expectations because it suffers from a lack of visibility and eligibility issues.
And: The average selling price for a Toronto home is expected to reach $1,025,000 this year, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.
- Karima-Catherine Goundiam: “As a small-business owner who’s heavily involved in international trade, I think the ‘shop local’ narrative can be a little too simple.”
- Jillian Kohler: Last year, the Trudeau government stated its aim to fight COVID-19 globally by helping developing countries get access to vaccines. Since then, we’ve seen Canada’s actions fall short of its earlier noble goals.
- Ian Savidge: “While the pandemic has upended my life, it has also created an unexpected pleasure: tutoring my six-year-old grandson.”
- For Chinese-Canadians the effects of the pandemic have been magnified by racism aimed at individuals and businesses
- Making a career change doesn’t necessarily mean starting from scratch, as many Canadians are using the pandemic to hit the job reset button
- People with high levels of needle fear don’t benefit from the pain and management strategies that are often recommended. A different approach is needed in the COVID-19 era
- How well do vaccines work? Here’s what you need to know.
- Rob Carrick’s 10-point checklist of things you should have done by now to protect or improve your money situation. Tips for minimizing damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to think about if you’re considering home delivery.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety and protecting your mental health; and what to do if you think you have the virus. Wash your hands. How to break a bad habit (like touching your face). Is flying safe?
- The best foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home; four eating tips when working from home; and five mistakes that might cause you to gain unwanted weight. Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples and how to stop stress-eating.
- Find answers to your coronavirus and employment questions.
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.