The cheese slipped off the cracker again: Your Ontario COVID-19 roundup

The cheese slipped off the cracker again: Your Ontario COVID-19 roundup

Party time

Premier Doug Ford had strong words for the "bunch of yahoos" who held a house party in Brampton over the weekend and the 200 or so "yahoos" who attended it.

"What don't you get, like, it's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous, that someone would be reckless and careless and go out and hold this party," he said at his daily COVID-19 news conference on Monday.

"You'd think that the cheese slipped off the cracker with these people," he continued, employing a Fordism he uses to question someone's judgment or sanity. "Like, they just don't get it. Come on. We're all in this together."

Police were called to a Brampton home to disperse a party with 200 guests that was reportedly well-organized enough to include valet parking.

According to Mayor Patrick Brown, the property owners could receive a fine of up to $100,000 and it wasn't the only illegal house party held over the weekend in the city.

Ford agreed that the book should be thrown at the hosts and called on the media to "name and shame" them.

"You know, maybe the media should be calling this guy's name out, and calling him out, because I wouldn't want someone working at my place that just had 200 people over. They should be self-isolating, it's ridiculous," he said.

The premier also called on the party guests to self-isolate and get tested.

"Matter of fact," he added, "why don't you go to your grandparents and tell them you were just at a big huge party having a great old time, you know, dancing, and God knows no masks."

While it's typically young people who are blamed for spreading COVID-19 by partying, Ontario's associate chief medical officer of health says that's not quite fair.

"Originally, it appeared that it was mostly people in their 20s that were getting infected at private parties, but it turns out it's not just young people," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe at a media briefing on Monday. "We've had people in their 50s who had private parties at their cottage, for example, even while they were symptomatic. So, it isn't just young people, it seems to be people across the span of age, who are not taking public health measures as seriously as they have been and, unfortunately, getting infected and spreading the infection."

She said that it does appear that private parties are playing a significant role in increased infections, pointing to Ottawa in particular, which has seen its cases rise dramatically recently, after having tapered off in June.

(See for yourself with the chart below, which shows cases by age and location, on the day they were reported to each public health unit. Click on the image to open the graph in a new tab.) 

Overall, Ontario reported 119 new cases on Monday and one new death, with the bulk of new cases in Windsor-Essex (40), Ottawa (28) and Toronto (20).

But what about the children?

Ford promised Education Minister Stephen Lecce will have news on the province's plans for schools' reopening in the coming days.

"He'll be rolling out a plan that he's been working on in consultation with the school boards, along with teachers, along with students and parents, and I think it's a very good plan, but he'll be coming out in the next few days on that," the premier said, adding he's been getting a lot of questions from parents who need to go back to work.

"Our number one priority is to make sure that kids are back in the classroom and that they're in a safe environment."

Without a clear plan from the province, other groups have been stepping in with suggestions. That includes the Ontario Liberal Party, which released a safe return to school plan that would cost $3.2 billion and include the hiring of 17,000 additional teachers.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Union of Public Employees released a cost estimate of $590 million that would cover the cost of extra custodians, educational assistants, touch-free hand sanitizing stations, plexiglass barriers and the reopening of some closed educational spaces to accommodate smaller class sizes.

And the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, Liz Stuart, released a letter she wrote to Lecce saying the uncertainty of his approach to the school reopening is "wreaking (a) psychological impact" on teachers and families.

The week ahead

Ontario can expect some major news in the week ahead, on top of the school announcement. The premier is expected to announce on Wednesday if the parts of the province that remain in stage two — Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex — can advance to stage three. The government is also expected to release a report on staffing in long-term care and announce the details of an independent commission studying the long-term care system and the tragedy that has unfolded there.

Jessica Smith Cross

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