LATEST UPDATE-COVID-19 Government and International Response: March 19, 2021

WHAT TO KNOW

Global COVID-19 cases have reached 122,666,869 up from 116,475,526 at 3:30 p.m. on March 19, 2021. Canada now reports 870,978 cases, down from 901,984 cases of COVID-19 on March 19. Ontario reports 325,254 cases, up from 306,007 cases on March 12, 2021.

The Province reports 1,745 (0.5%) new cases since yesterday. Of the province’s total cases, 304,789 have been resolved (93.7%) and there have been 7,212 deaths (2.2%). The province has now completed 11,981,432 tests and reports 29,545 tests are currently under investigation. More information here.

A province-by-province breakdown of Canada’s COVID-19 case count can be found here.

FEDERAL

On March 18, the Federal and Provincial Canada and Ontario announced the support for research projects to increase capacity and productivity in the horticultural sector through a more than $330,000 investment in in the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (VRIC).

Under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) the funding for each project will be used to purchase specialized equipment to improve the research capabilities that will benefit Ontario’s greenhouse sector. Research will focus on improving harvesting and storage practices, as well as inventory tracking and improvements to biosecurity and COVID-19 protocols. More information here

On March 18, to give workers the certainty they need should their job be affected by COVID-19, the government put forward legislation to increase the maximum number of weeks available to workers through EI regular benefits. Last night, this legislation, Bill C-24, received Royal Assent. Workers claiming EI regular benefits can now access up to a maximum of 50 weeks for claims established between September 27, 2020 to September 25, 2021. More information here

On March 17, the government will be moving forward with a two-pronged approach to quarantine requirements for TFWs after March 21, 2021, based on their final destination. Asymptomatic TFWs will be able to travel directly to their place of quarantine after getting a COVID-19 test at the airport provided they travel by private transportation and are accompanied only by others who travelled with them to Canada. TFWs who will need to travel by public means to a secondary location upon arrival in Canada will be required to stay in a GAA and await the results of their COVID-19 test. Provided TFWs have a suitable quarantine plan and safe transportation arranged to their place of quarantine, the government intends to ensure employers and TFWs will not assume incremental costs associated with the three-day quarantine requirement at the point of entry. Workers will also be provided with supports on arrival and during their hotel stay. More information here.

PROVINCIAL

Today, the Ontario government announced funding for colleges and universities with $106.4 million investment to help address the financial impact of COVID-19 on the postsecondary sector. The funding will provide immediate relief for institutions most affected by pandemic related costs. The distribution of funding considers the impact of COVID-19 on the revenues, expenses and accumulated resources of the institution as well as the size of the university or college. More information here.

Today, over 50 per cent of Ontario residents aged 80 and over have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Ontario government is expanding appointments through its online booking system to individuals aged 75 and over, effective Monday, March 22, 2021, ahead of schedule. More information here.

On March 18, the Ontario government announced the investment of more than $12 million in a new initiative to detect COVID-19 in wastewater. The province is partnering with 13 academic and research institutions to create a surveillance network to test wastewater samples taken from communities across Ontario. This will enhance the ability of local public health units to identify, monitor and manage potential COVID-19 outbreaks. More information here.

On March 18, the Ontario government announced it is moving to the next stage of planning for the Yonge North Subway Extension as part of its commitment to build a modern and reliable transit system for the Greater Toronto Area. The Initial Business Case and supplementary analysis for the project, released by Metrolinx, shows that the extension would strengthen connections to jobs and housing, take thousands of cars off our roads and provide more people with access to transit. More information here.

On March 17, the Ontario government is providing more than $15 million to support grassroots activities, sport and recreation organizations and high-performance athletes. This funding will encourage even more children, youth, families and athletes to get active and return to play safely, as the sector continues to follow COVID-19 restrictions and reopening regulations. More information here.

On March 17, the Ontario government announced it is making it easier for businesses to test for COVID-19 in the workplace by providing guidance to employees who want to self-swab for a rapid antigen point-of-care test on a voluntary basis under the supervision of a trained individual. Based on the success of the initial deployment of rapid antigen testing, the government is also expanding the program to more sectors including first responders, emergency medical services, trucking and transportation, wastewater management, and post-secondary institutions. More information here.

On March 16, the Ontario government invested $105 million through the new Community Building Fund to support non-profit tourism, culture, sport and recreation organizations. The funding will be used to help these non-profits recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the needs of their communities. More information here.

On March 15, the Ontario government is launched a provincial booking system and customer service desk to support COVID-19 vaccination appointment bookings. The portal will be live on Monday, March 15 at 8:00 a.m. and will be accepting appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics, starting with individuals aged 80 and older. More information here.

On March 15, the Ontario government invested $30 million to help the retirement home sector cover COVID-19 related costs such as hiring, training and testing additional staff, and sanitizing residences and purchasing supplies to prevent and contain the spread of infection. This funding is in addition to the $30.9 million that the province provided retirement homes earlier in the pandemic. More information here.

TORONTO

Today, the City of Toronto received direction from the Province of Ontario to expand COVID-19 vaccine availability to individuals born in 1946 and earlier as of Monday, March 22. The City’s three operating mass immunization clinics are prepared to welcome newly-eligible seniors once they have made confirmed appointments in the provincial booking system. More information here.

On March 17, the City announced it is working with the Province and the Chief Medical Officer of Health to explore ways to open additional businesses and amenities in a modified Grey zone, while not fully moving into the Red – Control Zone of the provincial Lockdown Regulation. As COVID-19 case counts continue to increase in Toronto and across Ontario with a rate of reproduction exceeding 1:1 and cases involving variants of concern are on the rise, Dr. de Villa said the science at this time does not support the kind of reopening that would be provided for under the Red Zone designation. As Mayor Tory and Dr. de Villa explained, with warmer weather approaching and vaccination progress while looking at the situation in surrounding regions, there is the opportunity for a data-led response that has led to discussions around outdoor dining, outdoor fitness and exercise and other areas. More information here.

On March 15, the City of Toronto announced they will be providing additional details on efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy in Toronto, led by the City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group. The COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Working Group is implementing a multi-sectoral approach to boost vaccine confidence in Toronto, including among health care professionals and communities with historically low vaccination rates. This work is informed through the use of an equity lens and an understanding of the cultural, religious and historical contexts that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy. More information here.

INTERNATIONAL

Country Total cases at 3:30 p.m. Total cases March 12 at 3:30 p.m. Increase from previous Active Cases (Increase decrease) Cases per million Total recovered Total deaths
Global 122,666,869 119,438,498 3,228,371 21,096,028 15,737 98,863,613 2,707,228
United States 30,371,904 29,957,985 413,919 7,294,751 91,376 22,524,505 552,648
Brazil 11,787,600 11,284,269 503,331 1,160,373 55,177 10,339,432 287,795
India 11,554,895 11,333,484 221,411 290,152 8,315 11,105,149 159,594
Russia 4,437,938 4,370,617 67,321 294,298 30,401 4,049,373 94,267
United Kingdom 4,285,684 4,248,286 37,398 538,165 62,895 3,621,493 126,026
Italy 3,332,418 3,175,807 156,611 556,539 55,174 2,671,638 104,241
Spain 3,212,332 3,183,704 28,628 193,976 68,687 2,945,446 72,910
Germany 2,637,633 2,554,411 83,222 160,949 31,410 2,401,700 74,984
Mexico 2,182,188 2,151,028 31,160 260,788 16,800 1,724,794 196,606
Iran 1,786,265 1,731,558 54,707 195,922 21,075 1,528,694 61,649
Peru 1,443,521 1,394,571 48,950 38,023 43,352 1,355,792 49,706
Chile 922,848 879,485 43,363 36,869 47,734 859,097 22,087
Canada 870,978 901,984 -31,006 29,280   24,300 870,978
Saudi Arabia 383,880 381,708 2,172 3,688 10,906 373,601 6,591
China 90,083 90,027 56 164 63 85,283 4,636
Australia 29,181 29,102 79 2,036 1,135 26,236 909

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