COVID-19: We got it wrong, tearful Ford announces; Ontario reports 3,683 new cases – Ottawa Citizen

Ontario Premier Doug Ford offered a tearful apology on Thursday for the harsh restrictions his government imposed a week ago before making an about-face.

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  • Ottawa Public Health reports 281 new cases, two new deaths Thursday.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford offered a tearful apology on Thursday for the harsh restrictions his government imposed a week ago before it made an about-face turn in the face of widespread opposition.

“We got it wrong,” he said. “We made a mistake.”

The premier said the government moved too quickly in limiting residents’ mobility.

“The buck stops with me,” he added. “I know that many people continue to be unhappy right now, and I understand and I accept the responsibility for that.”

It was Ford’s first news conference since the weekend, and at one point his emotions got the best of him as he briefly broke down while speaking of families who haven’t been able to hold the hands of their loved ones.

The news feed broke down for a few minutes at that point.

Despite the government’s turnabout, the premier dismissed the calls from critics demanding his resignation, saying he’s “not one to walk away from anything.”

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“Our team is strong, our team is united,” he said. “I’m so grateful to have the best caucus and cabinet that a premier has ever had. … We’re going to continue to lead and get through this pandemic.

“We’re going to move forward and the results of our actions and the impacts of our actions I think people will see over the next couple of weeks., and I hope to god that we’re right.”

Answering the charge that he ignored the advice of experts on his own science table, Ford said the province took “extreme measures.”

“And I’ll quote one of those doctors, who said if we didn’t take those measures that we did, we’d be seeing 15,000 cases a day, we’d be seeing mortalities go up at a rapid pace.”

Ford indicated, too, that his government was working on addressing sick-leave pay for workers unable to work because of COVID-19, after, he pointed out, the federal government failed to do so in its recent budget.

He offered no specific time frame or details for when the program might be in place.

Ford’s presentation was held virtually, from his deceased mother’s Etobicoke home, as he isolates after coming in contact with a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19.

Ontario is reporting 3,682 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday and 40 new related deaths.

There were 54,246 tests conducted in the previous 24 hours with a 7.8 per cent positivity rate.

There have now been 432,805 cases in Ontario and 7,829 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Another 4,597 cases were resolved since Wednesday and, according to the latest data, 383,014 people have now recovered.

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There are 2,350 patients in hospital in the province, with 806 in intensive care and 588 who require a ventilator.

Another 134,920 vaccine doses were administered Wednesday, and the province has now administered 4,266,802 doses, with 351,354 Ontarians now fully immunized.

There were 1,131 new cases in Toronto, 507 in Peel, 436 in York and 200 in Durham.

In regions surrounding Ottawa, there were 64 new cases in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, which includes Cornwall and Alexandria, eight in Kingston, nine in Hastings and ten in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.

There were 12 new cases in Renfrew County, which had reported no new cases the previous day.

Officials continue to track the spread of variants of concern and other positive cases that have been screened for mutations of the virus.

There were 2,810 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant detected in Ontario, with 44,205 cases of that variant now confirmed in the province.

There are 2,507 known cases of B.1.1.7 in Ottawa.

Another five cases of B.1.351 were identified, with 113 confirmed cases of that strain in Ontario, including seven in Ottawa.

There were six new confirmed cases of the P.1 variant Thursday, with 218 confirmed cases of that strain in Ontario, though there are no known cases in Ottawa.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, 4,266,802 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted.

Latest COVID-19 news from Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 281 new cases and two new deaths Thursday.

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There are now 3,239 active cases in the city, with 120 patients in hospital and 27 in critical care.

There have been 22,686 total cases in Ottawa and 486 people have died. Another 19,021 cases have been resolved.

Ottawa has on average 178.3 cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days, while the average test positivity rate in the community is 11.7 per cent.

Ottawa has received 305,130 vaccine doses and has to date administered 85 per cent of its inventory, according to the latest data.

The National Capital Commission is expanding its former “Sunday Bikedays” program to “Weekend Bikedays” beginning on May 1.

It’s offering a sneak peak this weekend, closing the Queen Elizabeth Driveway, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier parkways to vehicles.

The parkways will be open exclusively for “active” use this weekend, the NCC said, in light of Ontario’s stay-at-home order and mild temperatures in the forecast.

The following roadways will be closed this weekend:

  • Queen Elizabeth Driveway (2.4 km): 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Both lanes of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway (on the west side of the Rideau Canal) from Fifth Avenue to Somerset Street.
  • Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (9 km): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both westbound lanes of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway from Booth Street to Carling Avenue.
  • Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway (8 km): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both lanes of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway between the Aviation Parkway and St. Joseph Boulevard in Orléans.

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The NCC recently conducted an online public survey and will release more information later in April on its parkway plans for the rest of the season, including for Gatineau Park.

Latest COVID-19 news from Quebec

Quebec has recorded 1,248 new cases of COVID-19, the provincial government announced Thursday.

The latest update pushed the province’s seven-day rolling average down to 1,300, the lowest in two weeks.

In addition, seven new deaths were reported, including two over the previous 24 hours.

The Outaouais reported 135 new cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the pandemic total to 10,737 cases. One more person has died, bringing the toll to 187.

Hospitalizations in the province slipped slightly, down two cases for a total of 711 cases. There are 174 people in ICU, fown four cases from the previous report.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 341,645 cases and 10,845 deaths linked to COVID-19.

Quebec set a daily record for COVID-19 vaccinations with 85,000 doses administered on Wednesday.

Health Minister Christian Dubé said in a tweet Thursday the number includes more than 30,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca shots that were given as the province expanded access to that vaccine.

On Wednesday, Quebecers 45 and older officially became eligible to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, prompting long lineups at clinics.

Health officials in the Outaouais reported about 5,000 people were vaccinated and 12,239 appointments were made.

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Dubé said 103,000 people provincewide have scheduled an appointment to get an AstraZeneca dose in the coming week.

He said 11,000 people have been trained to provide COVID-19 vaccines, and the province is ready to receive more doses.

COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination in Ottawa

Updated information on COVID-19 testing: www.ottawatestingupdate.ca/

Ontario vaccination portal: covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine

Provincial call centre: 1-888-999-6488. The Vaccine Information Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is capable of providing assistance in 300 languages.

Vaccine eligibility in Ottawa: Vaccine eligibility screening tool, from Ottawa Public Health

To find a pharmacy vaccine: Eligible adults aged 40 and over who are interested in getting vaccinated via pharmacy can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating locations. Contact the pharmacy directly to ask if they’re offering appointments, walk-in vaccination or both.

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