Federal government may introduce stricter travel measures very soon: Mayor Crombie

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In her weekly COVID-19 press conference, Mississauga mayor Bonnie Crombie suggested that the federal government could very soon implement stricter travel measures to limit the number of flights with COVID-19 cases.

The government has continued to report numerous flights with confirmed cases of the virus at Pearson Airport in Mississauga, reporting at least 40 flights over the past week.

Crombie thanked the province for launching a COVID-19 testing program at Pearson, but believes stricter travel measures are warranted, including increased quarantine enforcement to ensure residents are quarantining after returning from travel abroad.

In terms of the city’s recent case numbers, the mayor said she’s encouraged that numbers are trending downwards, reflecting the same trend across the province.

Peel reported 342 new cases of COVID-19 today while the province reported 1,670, its lowest daily case count since December 8, 2020.

In Peel, 23 long term care homes and 14 retirement homes are currently in active outbreak. At least 28,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to frontline healthcare workers and long term care home residents and staff, who are now awaiting their second dose.

While most residents are believed to be complying with the province’s stay-at-home order, city by-law officers issued 38 tickets over the past week to those found to be violating the order.

The mayor continued to rally for paid sick leave for workers, sharing what she called troubling information from Peel Public Health that at least 2,000 people in Peel have gone to work while symptomatic. Of that number, 80 of them went into work after testing positive, knowing they were carrying the virus.

She says residents shouldn’t have to choose between staying home sick or getting a paycheck.

“Lack of paid sick leave is a glaring gap in our COVID-19 response. It’s time we tackle this issue head on,” she said.

Crombie called the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit insufficient, saying that the payment it provides isn’t enough ($450 after tax for a one-week period) and doesn’t cover those who may need to take a day or two off to wait for the results of a COVID-19 test.

Crombie also took a moment to note the passing of a Canada Post employee following the massive outbreak at its Gateway facility in Mississauga.

While Canada Post employees do get paid sick leave, Peel’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh says paid sick leave alone is not a perfect solution for preventing workplace outbreaks.

Loh encouraged all workplaces to work on a COVID-19 safety plan, which includes inspection and rapid testing, in order to prevent outbreaks.

It was also confirmed today that three cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant have been found in Peel Region.

Loh confirmed the information but did not say where the cases are being treated.

He said there is cause for concern, but added that the spread of the variant greatly depends on the measures taken to stop transmissions.

“By virtue of the variants being in our community and possibly circulating, we need to make sure we are sticking to the precautions as much as possible,” he said.

“I think that at this point in time if we start to let down our guard and increase our contact interactions then we will potentially see more spread of this variant.”

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