COVID-19 Update for December 10 2020- 6:20PM

Federal Health Update

After the 23rd meeting with Canada’s Premiers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a press conference to discuss their progress. He opened by saying that yesterday, Health Canada approved the Pfizer vaccine as safe and effective, and the first 30,000 doses are expected to arrive in just a few days. He warned that this is only the first step in what will be a massive project over a long winter.

The Prime Minister said that the federal government will be covering the cost of vaccines and supplies needed. COVID-19 vaccines will be free for Canadians, and provinces will not have to use their funding to cover the cost for their citizens. He also said that the federal government is reinforcing its IT systems and creating a new management platform to ensure that the vaccine plan can be rolled out expeditiously across the country. Additionally, he assured the public that if required, federal support programs will be made available to ensure the safety of all vaccines.

In the meeting, the Prime Minister proposed working with the provinces to ensure best practices are in place for long-term care. The First Ministers discussed the federal government’s commitment to move forward on Pharmacare. The Prime Minster and Premiers also talked about the importance of sharing health data and how to deal with health care issues virtually.

The Prime Minister also announced that the federal government will increase its share of costs in the health care system in order to create better outcomes, and that this is a conversation he will have with Premiers in the coming months.

Maj-General Fortin was present and said that vaccines are expected to leave the manufacturer (Pfizer) tomorrow and will likely arrive at points of use on Monday. The national operation centre is closely monitoring the situation.

Ontario’s Updated COVID-19 Modelling

Today, Dr. David Williams (Ontario’s chief medical officer of health) and Adalsteinn Brown (the dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto) provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario. The update comes as Ontario hits a single-day record of 1,983 new cases.

COVID-19 indicators in Ontario are stable but continue to rise. There has been 1.5 per cent growth rate over the last week.

The modelling presented by Dr. Brown highlighted the ongoing challenges that public health face with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. With hospitalizations continuing to rise across the province, the access-to-care deficit continues to grow. Ontario continues to see well over 150 ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and this number will likely continue to be above 200 for the next month.

Key indicators in many public health units have begun to decrease across the province, while regions like Peel and Toronto continue to see an increase in case growth which have offset the declines in the rest of the province.

Dr. Brown also highlighted that the current restrictions that have been in place since September 19th have not had much impact on mobility and have not significantly lowered case growth compared to the full lockdown in March. Government modelling shows that these restrictions have not translated into individuals staying home but warned that relaxing these restrictions will result in an increase of case growth.

New EVP, Medical, Ontario Health

Dr. Chris Simpson has been appointed as Ontario Health’s Executive Vice-President, Medical, effective February 1, 2021.

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