Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadians have stayed together by staying apart. This weekend the country came together for another reason - to share the pain and grief of Nova Scotians in the wake of a horrific mass shooting. We salute the brave first responders who lost their lives in this senseless act of violence, and mourn with all who lost loved ones.
On the COVID-19 front there is mixed news. The province released its latest modelling data and there are some encouraging signs, including the fact that COVID-19 appears to have peaked in Ontario. The likely number of cases stands at 20,000, much lower than the expected 80,000 thanks to physical distancing measures.
At the same time, the virus has exposed the flaws in our long-term care system, retirement homes, and assisted living centres for seniors and people with disabilities. The death toll continues to rise there, and it breaks our hearts. As of April 20, the Middlesex-London Health Unit reports active COVID-19 outbreaks at six local long-term care homes and two retirement homes, with a total of 58 residents and 29 staff confirmed positive. The current outbreak at Grand Wood Park Retirement Residence, affecting 16 residents and five staff, is the largest single outbreak at a seniors' care facility in the London area.
Although the curve has flattened in Ontario, it is currently plateaued, and we cannot afford to let down our guard. Before we can start to reopen the economy, a strong testing and contact tracing regime must be in place. But ramping up COVID-19 testing and contact tracing is an area of provincial responsibility where Ontario continues to lag.
Let’s continue our work to physically distance, flatten the curve, and never forget the most vulnerable among us. Together we will get through this.