COVID-19 Update for December 11 2020- 3:40PM
Ontario Premier Doug Ford held a COVID-19 update media briefing today, announcing that Phase One of the province’s three-phase vaccine rollout will begin next Tuesday, December 15, in Toronto and Ottawa. It will include the vaccination of over 2,500 health care workers with the Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The urgency to begin the immunization program was underscored earlier in the day when the province moved seven regions into stricter protection regimes.
Vaccine Rollout Phase One
Rick Hillier, Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force, assured that “we will be ready” when the first shipment of 6,000 doses arrives in Ontario on Monday. But he and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones – who called the vaccine “liquid gold” – cautioned that the rollout will face bumps along the way and asked for patience.
Starting Tuesday, two pilot sites at University Health Network in Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital will receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to health care workers who are providing care in hospitals and long-term care homes.
Phase Two, anticipated for later this winter, will launch when an increased stockpile of vaccines is available, expanding to more health care workers and long-term care home residents. Phase Three will come when vaccines are available for every Ontarian who wishes to be immunized.
The full news release is available here.
Seven Regions Moving to Stricter Protections
With COVID-19 cases continuing to surge, the Ontario government is moving seven public health units to increased levels of protection, as of Monday, December 14 at 12:01 a.m.
- Grey – “Lockdown”
- Windsor-Essex County
- York Region
- Red – “Control”
- Simcoe Muskoka
- Orange – “Restrict”
- Eastern Ontario
- Yellow – “Protect”
- Leeds, Grenville and Lanark
The full release can be found here.
Border Closure Extended
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also held a media conference today, primarily to focus on his government’s new climate change plan. He did provide a brief COVID-19 update, which included confirmation that the Canada-U.S. border closure has been extended for another 30 days until January 21, 2021.