Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
SIMCOE-MUSKOKA — A breath of fresh air for Ontario schools comes as Simcoe reports 4 new COVID cases.
The province says it is investing $25 million for classroom air filters as students ready for a return to classes within weeks.
That means all occupied classrooms, gyms, libraries and other instructional spaces without mechanical ventilation will have portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter units in place when students are back in class, including junior and senior kindergarten classrooms in mechanically ventilated schools to recognize that the youngest learners will not be wearing masks in the classroom.
The Ford government also said yesterday in releasing its back-to-school plan doesn’t make vaccines mandatory for teachers and staff. And it won’t make health units reveal whether your school’s teachers and staff are vaccinated.
And there’s no word from school unions on whether they will voluntarily make that information public.
This as the region’s latest reported coronavirus cases Wednesday include 2 in Bradford-West Gwillimbury and 1 each in Barrie and Collingwood.
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) also reports 4 new variants since yesterday bringing to 19 the number of Delta variants.
They are among 5,061 total variants of concern (VOC).
Meanwhile, as Muskoka walk-in clinics continue this week in Bracebridge and Huntsville total vaccinations still lag provincial and federal averages at 69.2% for first-timers and 57.8% for second-timers.
WEDNESDAY: COVID BY THE NUMBERS … 4 CASES IN SIMCOE-MUSKOKA (9 YESTERDAY) … ONTARIO 139 AND 11 DEATHS (164-2) … TORONTO 26 (45), YORK 15 (23), PEEL 18 (22) … NORTH BAY-PARRY SOUND 0 (0) … PORCUPINE 0 (0) …
HEALTH UNIT HIGHLIGHTS:
- 12,385 cases to date
- 6 new cases this week, 28 last week, which was 22% higher than the 23 cases the week before
- 0 deaths in August, 4 in July, 6 in June
- 4,000 Alpha variants, 167 Gamma, 34 Beta, 195 Delta
- 672 await confirmation of VOC
- 780,433 vaccines have been administered in Simcoe Muskoka
- 418,910 residents have received at least one vaccine, which is 69% of the population
- 79% of those 12 years and older have had at least one dose of vaccine
- 68% of youth 12 to 17 have also received at least one vaccine.
IN OTHER COVID NEWS …
Woo hoo! Wuhan is testing all 11 million residents after reporting its first three cases in about a year in the Chinese city alleged to have been the source of COVID.
WHO wants to halt booster shots to make vaccines available for others in need of first and second shots.
Tokyo — population 14 million — reported a record 4,166 cases in the city today. Compare that to the GTA population of 6.2 million with just over 100 today.
Germany is dumping 1.3 million future orders of AstraZeneca on COVAX recipient countries. German media also reports the country will donate 1.7 million doses of Johnson & Johnson to the UN’s countries in need initiative.
This as Ontario pharmacists are having trouble giving away Moderna vaccines that will soon expire. They say there’s been a “deep decline” in demand for Moderna.
And AstraZeneca is standing in the way of some Albertans anxious to travel abroad again as the vaccine isn’t being recognized in some foreign ports of call.
Meanwhile, a Leger poll finds 54 per cent of Canadians think a fourth wave is inevitable. But whether it’s tsunami like last fall is still anyone’s guess.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney — seemingly unlike Doug Ford — is taking the advice of his chief medical officer of health for re-opening too soon. Or: read another way, he is blaming Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
Job No. 1 today for Ford and GM workers in the U.S. is to mask up on the job says the UAW, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for all workplaces as Delta variants are on the rise. It matters not if you’re vaccinated once or twice.
Same goes for NASCAR drivers and pit crews at Watkins Glen International, N.Y., this weekend who will all have to wear masks even if vaccinated.
Gators aren’t the only thing to fear in Florida, says the U.S. White House. They say Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is an impediment to vaccine recovery and they want him to mandate masks.
Chicago’s not much better, allowing bars and gyms to open without proof of vaccination.
Finally, hold this thought: Dr. Kieran Moore says “I really don’t see our schools closing going into the fall and winter and spring.” We’ll see.
28 years of ‘Local Online Journalism’
Twitter: @muskokatoday, Facebook: mclairmont1
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