Doug Ford Has Totally Failed To Keep The Second Wave Out Of Long-Term Care
Hey there Passengers,
Welcome to another Monday in January. Did you sleep well? I sure didn’t. One of my cats decided 3:30 a.m. was the perfect time to jump on the nightstand, knock my phone onto the floor and generally be a menace. Cats, man. Anyway, Robert (@robert_hiltz) here with you once more.
Today we’ve got bad COVID news for long-term care homes and postal workers, followed by the bad news that a teen has died after contracting COVID-19 and finally, on a lighter note, Erin O’Toole’s very bad, no good climate plan.
Ready for that news?
The COVID Variant May Be Spreading In Long-Term Care Homes
One of the early lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic was how vulnerable long-term care homes are to infection. Barely able to handle flu outbreaks, when COVID-19 found its way inside these homes, it quickly became a death sentence for thousands throughout the province.
We’re once again being shown the vulnerability of these homes. The United Kingdom variant of COVID-19 is to blame for a massive outbreak at a Barrie, Ont. long-term care (LTC) facility where more than 40 residents and staff have died so far, and more than 200 have been infected.
The U.K. variant spreads more easily, and may be deadlier than the original virus. Health officials in the province are also worried the variant is responsible for another outbreak at a LTC home in Bradford West Gwillimbury, just down Highway 400 from Barrie. The government now assumes the U.K. variant is spreading through the general population in Ontario as well.
Now, you’d probably think that after the horrifically deadly spring we had we might have learned something. Some 72 per cent — nearly 14,000 — of the people who have died of the virus have been linked to a residential care facility, according to journalist and Passage columnist Nora Loreto.
But it seems clear the necessary lessons haven’t been learned.
It turns out that, according to the Globe and Mail, only a small minority of public health units in Ontario are using their enforcement powers against LTC and other residential facility operators. Only four of the 32 health units that responded to the Globe’s queries said they had used their enforcement powers. And even where some sort of enforcement has taken place, it’s very limited.
Via the Globe:
The health units have cited a total of 17 homes, including two that have been fined, for problems such as staffing shortages and poor infection-control practices. […] Between March 1 and Oct. 15 of last year, only 11 of the province’s 626 long-term care homes received a proactive inspection, the commission [looking into LTCs] has said, leaving the ministry with “an incomplete picture” of the state of infection control and emergency preparedness.
So, as a new COVID-19 variant is beginning a rampage through some of Ontario’s most vulnerable populations, little government action has been taken to save the lives of these residents. This winter looks like it’s about to get even more grim.
- An outbreak at Canada Post’s biggest mail sorting facility in Mississauga, Ont. has led 350 workers and contractors on the afternoon shift to isolate at home.
- Rapid tests between January 19 and January 23 have shown 42 positive test results. Workers on the preceding shift will need to isolate or be tested as a precaution.
- The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said workers on the afternoon shift would all receive paid quarantine leave. Some 4,500 people work at the plant, and there have been 190 cases this year.
- Yassin Dabeh, a 19-year-old refugee from Syria, has died after contracting COVID-19. The teen was working for a company that cleaned long-term care homes in London, Ont.
- Dabeh and his family came to Canada in 2016 after escaping the civil war in Syria.
- Public health officials say they are investigating Dabeh’s death because it had come after his infectious period had ended, but within four weeks of testing positive for the virus.
ICYMI: Erin O’Toole’s Plan For The Climate Is, Surprise, Not A Plan
Being the leader of the Conservative Party is something of a thankless job. Not only do you have to live on the scale of cretins — somewhere between cretin-ish and cretin-ous — but you will regularly have to put on a very serious face and pretend you care about things like climate change.
So it goes for Erin O’Toole. He sat down for an interview with Globe and Mail columnist — and Mike Harris superfan — John Ibbitson ahead of the restart of parliament this week to talk about stuff. The part I found interesting, which is to say very funny, was the bit on climate change.
Ibbitson asked O’Toole what his plans are for the climate crisis, as the Liberals have a real thing in the carbon tax, but the Tories only have dreamy talk.
Here’s O’Toole’s answer on how he will meet the Paris accord targets: “With a net zero approach, working collaboratively with large emitters. And it’s a much smarter plan.”
Heh, “much smarter,” but anyway. O’Toole’s plan would involve a bunch of collaboration with the provinces, but, Ibbitson asks, what if they didn’t go along? O’Toole replied, “That’s a challenge that’s inherent in our Constitution. But I’ll tell you I don’t anticipate that happening because I have spoken to [Alberta] Premier [Jason] Kenney on this specifically.”
And that’s how you know the climate plan is a joke. If Kenney is for it, it’s not a serious climate plan.
That’s it for today everyone. Come back tomorrow for another look at the day’s news from the left.
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