Niagara Health CEO in hot water after southern vacation
Dr. Tom Stewart is out as CEO of Niagara Health after he admitted to vacationing with family at his private home in the Dominican Republic from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5. Yesterday evening Niagara Health’s Board of Directors issued a statement notifying the public that Stewart is no longer its CEO and that Lynn Guerriero, current President of Niagara Health, will become President and Interim CEO.
Stewart had previously resigned from his position on the province’s Health Coordination Table, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and the LTC Incident Management System Table.
Stewart issued an apologetic letter to Niagara Health staff yesterday. In that memo he referred to his travelling as a “regrettable decision”.
Niagara to receive COVID-19 vaccine “early next week”
Pressure has been mounting from Niagara residents who are questioning why Niagara has yet to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Region’s acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. M. Mustafa Hirji took to social media this week calling out the province for the delay. Hirji tweeted that Niagara has 25 active outbreaks in LTC and retirement homes and that in the past two weeks, 33 residents in long-term care and retirement homes have passed away with COVID19. “It is deeply disappointing that we are not seen as a hotspot to receive vaccine that could stop this tragedy.”
Yesterday, Niagara West MP Sam Oosterhoff released a statement saying that he has been assured Niagara will receive the vaccine early next week. “I have spoken with Premier Ford, the Ministry of Health, and the Solicitor General regarding this urgent need. I have been assured that Niagara will be receiving shipments of the vaccines early next week, with more each week thereafter.” According to the statement, the early shipments will be targeted for high-risk and vulnerable populations such as frontline health care and long term care workers.
The daily case count numbers continue to hover around the 100 mark. Total number of active cases in Niagara is at 947 with 44 active outbreaks. 171 people in Niagara have died from COVID-19.
Pennachetti receives Order of Canada
Niagara’s Len Pennachetti has been awarded the Order of Canada by the Governor General. Pennachetti received the honour for his key role in developing the Ontario wine industry and for fostering tourism in the Niagara Peninsula region.
Co-Founder and President of Cave Spring Vineyard, Pennachetti has been a pioneer in the local, provincial and national wine and hospitality industries. From his early days as one of the first farmers to plant the noble grape varietals of Europe in Ontario, to his forward-thinking integration of Niagara wine and tourism, Pennachetti has worked tirelessly to define and grow Niagara’s wine sector.
Ridley College Alumnus helps develop COVID-19 vaccine
Ridley College alumnus Sir John Bell lead the development of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been approved for use in the U.K. and Mexico. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed this latest breakthrough as a “triumph” for British science.
The Edmonton-born immunologist and geneticist has championed the development of this particular COVID-19 vaccine, and was the first to provide an optimistic outlook back in November. The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine does not need to be stored in extreme cold and is less expensive, making it a game changer in terms of the rate at which it can be deployed and its global accessibility once approved.
Canada has a deal with AstraZeneca for 20 million doses. In a statement released after the authorization in the U.K., Health Canada said it has been reviewing AstraZeneca’s vaccine since Oct. 1 and is assessing data “as it becomes available from the manufacturer.”
Shooting in Niagara-on-the-Lake
This past Tuesday at around 1:30pm Niagara Regional Police officers were called to the area of Lundy’s Lane and Corwin Ave following the report of a suspected impaired driver. About an hour later the vehicle was located in the area of Line 3 and the Niagara River Parkway in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. There was an interaction with an adult male and he was subsequently shot by police. The male was transported to hospital with life threatening injuries where he was pronounced dead.
The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in investigating. The incident is also being investigated by detectives from the NRPS. Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or has information is asked to contact either the SIU at 1 (800) 787-8529 or the Niagara Regional Police Service at (905) 688-4111 ext. 1009134.
Ontario launches free and voluntary pilot program to support early detection of COVID-19
The Ontario government is launching a new voluntary and free border testing pilot program at Toronto Pearson International Airport for eligible international travellers returning to Ontario in hopes of quickly identifying and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“With over 60,000 international passengers coming into Pearson airport every week, we can’t take any unnecessary risks,” said Premier Ford.
Recognizing the increased risk that inbound international travellers may pose, including the potential to spread the new UK COVID-19 variant, the government said it’s fulfilling its commitment to quickly implement airport testing to help contain the virus. Beginning yesterday, the province, in partnership with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, will offer free and voluntary COVID-19 testing for international travellers arriving and staying in the province for at least 14 days.
Trudeau’s Carbon Tax not revenue neutral report shows
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is sounding the alarm after the federal government released a report showing it collected hundreds of millions of dollars more in carbon taxes than it rebated last year.
“Anybody who has believed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s rhetoric on the carbon tax is being made out to look like a fool,” said Jasmine Moulton, Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “His government said it wouldn’t go up past $50 per tonne by 2022 and that it would put more money back into our pockets, but both claims have now been proven to be blatant falsehoods.”
The federal government’s Green House Gas Pollution Pricing Act Annual Report shows total charges collected and rebated in the four provinces where the federal carbon tax applies: Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. For Ontario, the report shows that the federal government collected $218 million more through the carbon tax than it rebated in 2019-20.