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This article was last updated on Wednesday at 4:07 p.m.
Per today's government report, there are 3,480 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 455,606 since the pandemic began; 2,281 people are in hospital, 877 of them in intensive care, and 605 on ventilators. To date, 7,988 people have died. The minister of health's office advised media that today's numbers include "catch-up" cases from the Hamilton and Niagara public health units.
According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 39 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 49 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 133 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,756 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
Per the government's report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 116,173 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 4,907,203 since December 2020. 4,176,871 people have received only one dose, and 365,166 people have received both doses.
The Ontario government announced that full-time and part-time workers in the province who need time off due to COVID-19 will be eligible to receive up to $200 per day for up to three days as part of a temporary provincial paid sick leave program, reports CP24. The province says it will introduce legislation on Thursday that, if passed, will require employers to provide employees with up to three days off if they miss work due to COVID-19. Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the province will reimburse employers up to $200 per day for each employee.
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Yesterday, the Ontario government introduced the Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario’s Health System Act, 2021. According to a statement released by the government, the proposed legislation is part of the government’s commitment to build a more connected, patient-centred health care system. If passed, the government says the legislation will help strengthen Ontario’s health care workforce and support the delivery of high-quality care by regulating personal support workers, physician assistants and behaviour analysts.
Internal government documents obtained by CBC News show few signs that Ontario prepared the long-term care sector for the risks from COVID-19 before the virus began its deadly spread through the province's nursing homes. According to the outlet's reporting, only a handful of documents mention protecting long-term-care residents in February, even as cases were steadily arriving in Ontario.
CBC News reports that the federal government is rejecting Ontario's offer to top up the federal paid sick leave program to $1,000 a week for provincial residents instead of creating its own. The federal government said its wage subsidy program is already in place to help employers pay workers who are on sick leave. And the Canada recovery sickness benefit is designed to support workers who don't have a regular employer, or as a stop gap until their province mandates paid sick days, a spokesperson for the federal finance minister, Katherine Cuplinskas said in a statement to CBC News. "When Ontario is ready to mandate sick leave in provincially regulated businesses, as we have done for federally regulated businesses, we will be there to help," Cuplinskas said.
The Toronto Star reports on the experience of three Ontario workers without sick pay. “There are days I’m so exhausted, in so much pain. I have to force myself to go to work because if I miss a day of work I’m not covered," said Anna Farrow, an essential retail worker.