I hope that you had an opportunity during the holiday season to connect with friends and loved ones and enjoy some well-deserved time off. I know that many people acted responsibly and limited their contact with others. Your vigilance and care will pay dividends in the weeks ahead.
Unfortunately, we are still seeing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. During the past month we’ve seen the number of new infections double in Ontario. On December 7th, our 7 day average was 1,816. One month later, January 7th, we were at a 7 day average of 3,141.
We’ve also passed a grim milestone in Ontario – 5,000 total deaths from COVID-19. In light of these alarming statistics, our government and the provincial government have taken measures to help reduce the strain on our healthcare system.
In addition to the province wide lockdown, the federal government has made it mandatory for anyone flying into Canada to present a negative COVID-19 test before their departure. This helps ensure that Canadians, many of whom are ignoring public health instructions and continue to travel abroad, are not creating additional risk after their return home.
As you know, our neighbors in the US continue to see many COVID-19 cases, and our shared borders are still closed for all non-essential travel. Anyone returning from non-essential travel will not qualify for the Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit during their 14-day quarantine.
There is light at the end of the tunnel – vaccinations are being administered across the country. As of January 7th, we’ve delivered 548,950 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to the provinces and territories, so they can be administered to Canadians. We’re on track to have at least 1.2 million doses delivered to the provinces by January 31st. As hundreds of thousands more vaccines are delivered, we will continue to ensure that they are deployed efficiently and safely. I ask that you continue to remain patient as front-line workers and those most at risk are receiving their vaccines. Residents in long term care homes, vulnerable seniors, and front line workers are the top priority at this point. We must all continue to reduce case numbers to ensure fewer lives are lost.
I hope that the holiday season was a joyous one, and it has reminded us all of who we are fighting for during this pandemic.
I wish you all the best in the new year,
Bryan May, MP