SCHOOL REOPENING & ASTRAZENECA TOP THURSDAY'S COVID BRIEFING

May 27, 2021

By Christine Ross

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Doug Ford has written to more than 50 public health agencies, hospitals and teachers’unions looking for input on whether it’s safe to re-open schools. And the Premier is giving them until 5 pm Friday to get back to him.

Ontario’s top doctor says many schools boards are ready to-open next month.

“But I can say the feedback I’ve had as of today, all the ones around the G-T-H-A say they can do the contact management and they’re prepared to have their schools open,” said Dr. David Williams.

But he adds one region, Porcupine-Timmins will not reopen amid a spike in cases. Dr. Williams says Ontario needs to see no more than 500-600 new cases daily, consistently, to reopen the province gradually. Today, there are 1, 135 new cases and 19 more deaths. But the seven day provincial average is just over 1,400, the lowest since March.

Meantime, thousands of AstraZeneca vaccine doses that expire on Monday, have not been sent to pharmacies because they’re still undergoing quality checks.

But Dr. Dirk Huyer, Ontario’s Outbreak Response Coordinator, says there’s still time to get the soon-to-expire vaccines into arms.

“We have delivered 26,000 doses to pharmacies in the three pilot areas and we’re continuing to evaluate another portion of the AstraZeneca to ensure we get it, there is the opportunity prior to May 31st to provide those doses.”

Dr. Huyer says 7,000 second doses have been administered over the past three days.

The province says quality checks are needed because storage data for some of doses was incomplete.

Amid mounting pressure to get second vaccine doses to those 80 and older, Dr. Huyer expect more guidance Friday.

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