Premier Doug Ford reiterated his support for the “mom and Pop” fitness operators who have been forced to shut down in Toronto York and Ottawa today, citing again the story of a couple who had invested their life savings in a gym to see it closed in last Friday’s crackdown. But Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe strongly hinted that some new restrictions may be in the works for gym operators. She was asked specifically about the Hamilton SPINCO fitness spa where more than 40 people have been infected with COVID, despite the operators apparently following all the necessary safeguards that had been recommended. Dr. Yaffe said if that the case then maybe the guidelines have to be reconsidered, adding that such a review is in progress now.
To a question from CHCH reporter Randy Rath, Health Minister Christine Elliott denied that there is any shortage of flue vaccine, but suggested people call ahead to their pharmacist before going in. She said the first shipments of vaccine were diverted to long term care homes and other sites where the people were most vulnerable, but says there will be enough vaccine for everybody. Many local pharmacies in Hamilton surveyed by the Bay Observer report running out of the high dose flu vaccine which is recommended for older residents. Some people who had booked appointments for fixed times were nonetheless turned away because high dose vaccine had not arrived.
At todays news conference there was growing concern expressed about the situation in Ottawa where the positivity rate for COVID is a six percent and the national capital is reporting the highest COVID count per 100,000 in the province. Dr Yaffe told reporters that the province in currently testing waste water at sewage treatment plans for COVID. She says detecting levels of COVID in waste water can signal an outbreak of the virus several days ahead or normal; testing.
Premier Ford clarified the $300 Million fund the province has established to help Ontario business affected by COVID. He said the fund is available to All Ontario businesses—not just the ones in the three hot-spots of Toronto, Peel and Ottawa. The fund is intended to cover fixed costs like rent, utilities and municipal taxes.