Ontario’s Minister of Long-Term Care, Rod Phillips, makes an announcement at 1:30 p.m. in Queens Park. Then, at 3 p.m., Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore will be briefing on the county’s COVID-19 situation.
You can watch both events live in this story.
Ontario’s new long-term care minister, Rod Phillips, made his first appearance in the position, as the province reported 209 new cases of COVID-19 – the lowest daily number of cases since mid-September, on the eve of the move to Step 2 of the government’s reopening plan.
Phillips resigned as finance minister late last year after it was revealed he had taken a week off in the Caribbean over the Christmas holidays while his government advised against travel.
He was appointed Minister of Long-Term Care as part of a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, when he replaced Dr. Meryl Fullerton in the position.
Today’s count comes from health units across Ontario that collectively administered 265,231 doses of vaccines yesterday – a new high number.
It is worth noting that the official report of the Ministry of Health today mentioned 299 other cases. However, ninety of these infections are from 2020 and are included today as part of a “data audit and cleanup” by Toronto Public Health.
The department also reported 25 additional deaths this morning, but 19 of them were from “previous months” and were added as part of a separate review of the data by Public Health Ontario.
The newly recorded deaths bring the county’s official death toll to 9,154.
Excluding cases that artificially inflated today’s total, the county’s seven-day average of new daily infections is now 266.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of laboratories has completed 28,306 tests — more than double the amount recorded on Monday. Public Health Ontario has a positive test rate of 1.6 percent.
As of yesterday, 276 people have been treated for COVID-related illnesses in intensive care units. About 185 of these patients were on ventilators.
At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, all but one of Ontario’s 34 public health units will move to Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan, as the province slowly rolls back pandemic restrictions introduced to quell a third deadly wave of infections this week. the spring.
This phase of the reopening plan will allow indoor gatherings of up to five people and see hair salons reopen for the first time in months.
As of Tuesday, county data said more than 77 percent of adults had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 35 percent had been fully vaccinated.
Those vaccination rates meet criteria set for entry into Step 2 and Step 3 of the reopening plan, though officials said they will proceed with caution before restrictions are relaxed further.
Ontario’s reopening plan leaves 21 days between each move to monitor public health indicators.
Dr. Isaac Bogosh, an infectious disease physician and member of the COVID-19 vaccine task force in Ontario, says the province is in “a very good place now” entering Step 2.
“The pace of vaccination is very, very fast,” he told CBC Toronto on Tuesday, adding that the number of people who have been fully vaccinated was “going up exponentially.”
Bogoch said that as the county continues to make new appointments and expand eligibility for vaccinations, the burden of COVID-19 will decrease further.
While he believes the county will be ready to enter Step 3 in the next few weeks, he says the county needs to continue to break down barriers so more people can get vaccinated.
“The mission is not over,” he said.
Premier Doug Ford said Monday that Step 3, which allows for more indoor activities and greater capacity for crowds outdoors, may come “sooner rather than later” on advice from the county’s chief medical officer.
Meanwhile, Dr. Kieran Moore, who replaced Dr. David Williams as Chief Medical Officer of Health on Saturday, is expected to answer questions today at 3 p.m. in his first press conference since formally taking office.
Moore has been working alongside Williams for the past several weeks since his appointment was announced.