COVID-19 news today: Ontario’s fiscal watchdog to release new LTC spending report

A Medigas worker delivers new oxygen concentrators to the Seven Oaks long term care home, in Scarborough, Ont., on April 1, 2020.

Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s fiscal watchdog will release a report today examining government spending on long-term care.

The Financial Accountability Office says the new report is based on the province’s 2021-22 expenditure estimates.

It says the overview of the ministry will identify key financial issues including the government’s promise to add and redevelop 30,000 long-term care beds.

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The report will also examine the Progressive Conservative government pledge to increase the amount of average daily direct care per resident.

Last November, the government promised to establish a new standard that would see nursing home residents receive an average of four hours of direct care every day.

Premier Doug Ford has pledged to achieve the standard by 2024-25 and said the province will need to hire “tens of thousands” more personal support workers, registered practical nurses and registered nurses to provide the care.

Ontario’s top doctor wants to see schools resume in-person learning before province enters first step of reopening plan

Ontario’s top doctor says he’d like to see schools resume in-person learning before the province enters the first step of its reopening plan in mid-June.

Dr. David Williams says most public health units have said they’re in favour of schools reopening soon.

High schools and elementary schools across the province have been shut to in-person learning since mid-April.

Williams says he has heard from many public health agencies, including those in the hard-hit Toronto area, who want to see schools reopen.

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Ontario to provide $3-million in financial support to help Canadian Film Centre

Ontario says it’s providing $3-million in financial support to help the Canadian Film Centre through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Culture Minister Lisa MacLeod says the one-time funding is part of the province’s efforts to support the film, television and new media industries through the public health crisis.

The Canadian Film Centre says the money will be used to support training programs and COVID-19 adaptation plans.

Those plans include the development of new initiatives like virtual production training.

Nova Scotia’s vaccination rollout is ahead of schedule, health officials say

Health officials say Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout is ahead of schedule and should see second doses made available to the public two to four weeks faster than originally planned.

People who are due for their booster shot soonest – health care workers and those aged 80 and older – will be able to move their appointment up beginning in early June.

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Officials say if enough people move up their second dose appointments the province could reach its goal of vaccinating 75 per cent of the population by early September.

Nova Scotia reported 54 new COVID-19 infections yesterday and has 846 active reported cases.

Medical staff from Newfoundland and Labrador have been volunteering in Ontario hospitals to help deal with high numbers of severely ill COVID-19 patients. One doctor and two nurses say they feel conflicted about returning home at the end of their postings.

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