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NDP leaders guide the discussion on 1st anniversary of COVID in Canada

Frontline workers are at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 - NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

Monday January 25, 2021 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., editor | Island Social Trends

As of today it’s been one year since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Canada. To date there have been 747,383 cases across Canada (63,668 of those are active), and 19,094 deaths.

As the House of Commons prepares to convene today for its first session since before Christmas, NDP leaders took the lead in making some comments to the media.

Speaking in a press conference from Ottawa by Zoom call this morning, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will be pushing for better sick leave for workers during the pandemic which would help support people staying home and away from others if ill with COVID-19.

As infections and deaths continue to surge in hotspots across the country, Singh also points out that privatization in the long-term care system has been an underlying factor to the failure of COVID response in those facilities that primarily care for elders. This past weekend in Ontario a 19-year-old who was employed as a cleaner in a long-term care facility has died, and seven members of his family are now infected with the virus. The teen had immigrated to Canada from Syria just five years ago with his family.

Singh said today that public health expertise should continue to be followed for determining the order of rollout for COVID vaccinations in Canada. This was in response to a question this morning from Island Social Trends about how young adults might be better supported with vaccinations earlier in the rollout so that the economic impacts of COVID on long-term health and economic stability might be proactively addressed for the young working population.

Singh added that frontline workers are to be recognized for being “at higher risk for exposure” as they contribute to the ongoing active support of society during the pandemic.

COVID, active cases, Canada, January 25 2021
Illness in the population: presently 63,668 active cases of COVID-19 across Canada, at January 25, 2021 [Public Health Agency of Canada]

COVID in BC:

Here in BC, NDP Premier John Horgan today acknowledged “over 1,000 lives lost so far to COVID-19”, when in fact the tally as of January 22 was 1,128 and counting (10 or more deaths per day in BC in recent weeks).

In a statement this morning, the Premier also acknowledged the “countless efforts and sacrifices people have made to help protect and take care of others” over the past year.

Premier John Horgan
Premier John Horgan led the BC COVID immunization announcement on January 22, 2021.

Horgan notes a recommitment to “people’s health and livelihoods” from the threat of COVID-19, saying “there are better days ahead”. But in his remarks to media on January 22 said no one sector of the economy will be prioritized over another (other than health care workers).

As of January 22, there were 4,479 active cases of COVID-19 in BC, with another 6,719 people under public health surveillance for having been exposed to known cases of the viral infection who may well be a group that could benefit by stable sick leave benefits in Canada.

Premier Horgan along with Health Minister Adrian Dix, Public Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Dr Penny Ballem announced the BC Immunization Plan on January 22.

The BC Immunization Plan is based on first addressing high-risk populations (identified as long term care residents and workers, and seniors over age 80), followed by “general population” vaccination availability starting with people age 79 to 60 in descending order by 5-year increments during April to June.

In BC, the working-age adult population of 18 to 59 will start to be offered vaccines in July through September, leaving the 18 to 24 year old grouping to September 2021:

  • 59 to 55 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 54 to 50 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 49 to 45 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 44 to 40 (D1 July, D2 August)
  • 39 to 35 (D1 July/August, D2 August/September)
  • 34 to 30 (D1 August, D2 September)
  • 29 to 25 (D1 August/September, D2 September)
  • 24 to 18 (D1 and D2 September)
BC CDC, BC, January 22 2021
COVID-19 case dashboard for BC at January 22, 2021 [BC CDC]

===== Island Social Trends articles:

BC rollouts out their COVID immunization plan (January 22, 2021)

Vancouver Island COVID on year in (January 23, 2021)

Tough to put restrictions on inter-provincial travel, concludes Premier Horgan (January 21, 2021)

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