Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Monday, March 23, 2020

Here is the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Monday, March 23, 2020:

  • There have been 412 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario. Eight of those have been resolved. Five people have died. The latest was announced on Sunday afternoon of a woman in her 70s from York region. The positive total includes the three confirmed cases in Prescott-Russell, in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit jurisdiction, all in Prescott-Russell. The number of Ontario people tested is 26,420; 17,634 were negative and test results are pending for 8,361.
  • Canada’s confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 case total is now 1,471. The country has 20 COVID-19 related deaths – 10 in British Columbia, one in Alberta, five in Ontario and four in Quebec.
  • The third case of coronavirus in the region is another Prescott-Russell resident. The man in his 30s is a healthcare worker at The Ottawa Hospital. The hospital is doing contact tracing of staff and patients there while the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is looking at the trace history in Prescott-Russell.
  • Specific details about positive cases locally will no longer be coming from the health unit. The EOHU says it will instead keep a positive case tabulation on its website, updated daily. It made the decision Sunday based on the growing number of cases expected in Ontario and locally.
  • Barbers and hairdressers will have to hang up the scissors and nail salons workers are putting down the files. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis signed an order Sunday for personal service setting businesses to close immediately. It also includes body piercing, tattooing, electrolysis and other aesthetic services as well as places of worship. You can read that story here.
  • If somebody comes to your door or calls you to process credit card payments for your Cornwall Electric bill, it’s a scam. The utility says the Ontario Energy Board has “ceased all collections until July 31, 2020.”
  • Driver testing is on hold. Ontario is closing all DriveTest examination centers and part-time Travel Point locations, effective today until further notice.
  • Parliament will be recalled on Tuesday to address measures in the federal government’s $82 billion aid package to address economic concerns over the pandemic. Local MP Eric Duncan won’t be there but will instead be working from home. “My Caucus colleagues & all of the MPs who will gather have my full faith & confidence,” he tweeted.
  • Oops! New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that St. Lawrence County had its first case of coronavirus. But it turns there was a mapping error in the governor’s briefing and there is no positive case. The Canada-U.S. border has been shut to non-essential traffic since midnight Saturday morning. New York State has over 15,000 positive cases.
  • In order to keep the supply chain going, Walmart Canada is adding 10,000 workers to it payroll. That includes a number of positions at its two logistics centers in Cornwall.
  • For those that get very sick, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says there are “over 500” ventilators available in the former Champlain Local Health Integration Network area. That area stretches from Deep River in the north to Lanark and all areas southeast of Lanark to the Quebec border – about 1.3 million people. There are 100 ventilators “immediately available to the Cornwall hospital,” Roumeliotis said. That doesn’t include any equipment available from the province.
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway is scheduled to open April 1 and its management company is putting COVID-19 measures in place. There’s a strict 96 hour advance notice ocean vessels have to give before coming into the seaway. Crews have to notify the traffic control center in Saint-Lambert if there are any confirmed or suspected cases on board before seaway inspectors board the ship. All cruise ships with 500 or more people are prohibited.
  • Canada won’t participate in the Tokyo Olympics, unless the games are delayed by a year. They are scheduled to start July 24. The International Olympic Committee is considering options, including postponing the competition.

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