Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Thursday, March 26, 2020

(LGL Health Unit via Newswatch Group)

Here is the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Thursday, March 26, 2020:

  • There have been 688 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario. Eight of those have recovered. Thirteen people have died. Ontario recorded it largest single day jump yesterday with 100 new cases. The number of Ontario people tested is 35,635; 24,458 were negative and test results are pending for 10,489.
  • Canada’s confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 case total is 2,792. The country has 27 COVID-19 related deaths – 13 in British Columbia, two in Alberta, eight in Ontario and four in Quebec.
  • With testing swabs in limited supply, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit is making sure the most vulnerable are being tested first. That includes those in long term care, retirement homes and hospitals – all showing symptoms. So far, at least 200 tests have been performed locally and none that have come back are positive.
  • North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford has declared a state of emergency for her municipality. “By declaring an emergency, we are imploring citizens in North Grenville to take responsibility for their everyday actions by staying at home and practicing social distancing at every opportunity to help us stop the spread of COVID-19,” Peckford said. The declaration gives North Grenville additional powers and tools to protect the health and safety of residents.
  • People in Prescott can be forgiven if they thought the army was moving in during the pandemic. Two trains full of with military vehicles rolled into the town on the weekend. The equipment was actually being sent back to home base from a cancelled exercise.
  • Ontario has barred long term care home residents from leaving their places for outings or visits in case they pick up the virus and bring is back into the building. That includes Brockville’s St. Lawrence Lodge.
  • Ottawa has recorded its first COVID-19 related death. A man in his 90s ran a fever about a week-and-a-half ago. He was admitted to hospital on Friday and died yesterday. The city has also declared a state of emergency, giving the municipality more tools to fight the pandemic.
  • A federal government order for people returning to Canada to go into quarantine when they return to the country came into effect at midnight this morning. There is an exemption for essential workers already allowed to cross the Canada-U.S. border. What is particularly worrisome for some health officials is half the cases in the United States are in New York State – just across the river and border checkpoints.
  • The Ontario government has unveiled a $17 billion package to help the health sector, people and businesses during the pandemic. They include a one-time payment of $200 per child, 12 years old and younger, $250 for special needs children of the same age bracket, doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System payment for low-income seniors and suspending student OSAP loan payments for six months.
  • A number has been set up for businesses that have questions about the Ontario emergency order to close non-essential businesses. The Stop the Spread Business Information Line is 1-888-444-3659 and is open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • A federal financial aid package is now on the books to help Canadians who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Eligible applicants will be able to collect $2,000 a month for four months. The online application system is expected to be launched soon and the finance minister says the money should be coming to Canadians by April 6.
  • To further protect seaway workers, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is modifying enhanced inspections of foreign ships. Under certain conditions, ships will be able to fill out a self-inspection report and a health declaration form. The seaway reserves the right to still inspect their ballast water.
  • “COVID-19 can’t stop spring coming to Westport,” Mayor Robin Jones said in a website post Wednesday night. The mayor said street sweepers will be out at 6 a.m. today (Thursday) – ahead of schedule – so make sure your vehicle is off the road.

Have a story or news release related to COVID-19? Send it along for possible inclusion in a future digest on Brockville Newswatch. Email editor@brockvillenewswatch.com. Please put “COVID-19 Digest” in the subject line.

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