Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

In this photo from the City of Cornwall's Facebook page, local residents are spreading a positive message safely from their homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The city initiative is called Chalk the Walk. (City of Cornwall/Facebook via Newswatch Group)

Here is the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Wednesday, March 25, 2020:

  • There have been 588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario. Eight of those have recovered. Eight people have died. The positive total includes four confirmed cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s jurisdiction – all in Prescott-Russell. The number of Ontario people tested is 32,457; 21,795 were negative and test results are pending for 10,074.
  • Canada’s confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 case total is 2,176. The country has 25 COVID-19 related deaths – 13 in British Columbia, one in Alberta, seven in Ontario and four in Quebec.
  • The City of Cornwall’s chief financial officer believes its fiscal moves to help local ratepayers won’t put the corporation in financial trouble. The mayor admits there is going to be a “financial impact” long term for all levels of government. More here.
  • Offered as a lifeline for small business with no bank to turn to, the Cornwall and The Counties Community Future Development Corporation is offering “micro loans” of $2,500 to $20,000 at a zero per cent interest rate for six months, then 2.95 per cent. It’s called the Emergency Loan Program and it meant to cover a business’ three months of expenses.
  • The local health unit is making a slight tweak on daycare centers to align with the Ontario exemption for essential services. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says he will lift the order for private daycare with fewer than six children. But they will be under strict conditions.
  • The City of Cornwall has closed playground equipment, benches and sports courts in its parks because they are not regularly cleaned or sanitized. More of this story here.
  • People stuck at home in Ontario will be getting some relief on their Hydro One bill. The province is suspending time-of-use pricing and all electricity under Hydro One will be the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents per kilowatt hour for the next 45 days. More here.
  • The coronavirus is taking its toll on the airlines. WestJet is temporarily laying off 7,000 employees or half its workforce. Bombardier is suspending all non-essential work including aircraft and rail production activities in Ontario and Quebec.
  • Parks Canada has restricted vehicle access to national parks and historic sites. That means all visitor parking facilities are also closed until further notice. The restrictions went into effect at midnight this morning.
  • Some local supply chain companies – Olymel and Walmart – are giving their employees bonuses during the pandemic. Read that story here.
  • I don’t! The City of Cornwall is still taking marriage licence applications and is honouring previously booked wedding officiant ceremonies. But if you didn’t book someone to oversee your nuptials, you’re out of luck. The service is suspended until further notice.

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