- The Ontario government is imposing stronger vaccination-proof laws while also recommending people to keep their Christmas gatherings small, safe, and properly vaccinated.
- According to the province, medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccinations will now require a document with a QR code.
The Ontario government is enacting stricter proof-of-vaccination regulations while advising people to keep their holiday parties small, safe, and fully vaccinated.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said, “We don’t want this holiday season to become a super spreading event.”
Hours after the province announced 1,453 new daily cases of COVID-19, Minister of Health Christine Elliott warned that the months ahead would be “extremely hard.”
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Because the omicron variety is expected to become “a dominant strain very soon,” Moore announced that booster shots will be available to Ontarians aged 18 and up beginning January 4, 2022.
It’s also scrapping plans to stop the provincial vaccine passport program in mid-January and starting January 4, 2022; all proof-of-vaccination certificates will have to incorporate QR codes.
The QR codes introduced a month after a PDF version of the certificate is assumed to be much harder to forge. In recent weeks, the province has come under fire for continuing to accept readily Photoshopped PDFs.
Medical exemptions require a QR code as well.
According to the province, medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccinations will now require a document with a QR code. As of January 10, 2022, a doctor’s note will no longer be valid proof for exemptions for firms operating under the provincial system.
Similarly, beginning December 20, any child aged 12 to 17 who participates in sports or other recreational activities will be asked to produce proof of vaccination.
Cases are up 41% over the previous week.
Friday’s case count is up 41% from last Friday, and it’s the highest new infection in a single day since May 23, when the pandemic’s third wave was winding down.
The seven-day average of daily cases has grown to 1,115, with the number of cases expected to treble every three weeks.
Today, Public Health Ontario reported a 4.4 percent positive rate on 39,941 tests, far and away from the highest rate of the fourth wave and the highest one-day rate since May 26.
Nonetheless, the COVID-19 burden on intensive care units has remained essentially steady. COVID patients in critical care were 151 on Thursday, down from 155 the day before and 17 less than the fourth-wave peak of 168 earlier this week.
School outbreaks are at an all-time high.
With 286, including 257 elementary schools, the province set a new pandemic high for school-related outbreaks.
According to a senior government source, there are no strategies to close the province’s schools before the winter holidays begin one week from tomorrow.
During the pandemic’s third wave in the spring, school-related outbreaks peaked at 264 on April 14, just two days after the province said it would halt schools to stop the virus from spreading.
In recent weeks, the bulk of COVID-19 outbreaks in Ontario have happened in schools. An epidemic is defined in this context as two or more lab-confirmed cases in students, staff, or visitors, with at least one of the diseases having an epidemiological link, showing that the case was transmitted within the school rather than in the wider community.
About 26.4 percent of five to 11-year-olds in the province have received their first dose of vaccine as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, the provincial Ministry of Health announced the deaths of 11 more people infected with the infection on Friday, bringing the complete number of those who had died to 10,065.
Source: CBC News
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