Jan 11, 2022

By Christine Ross

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The province has announced plans to deal with health care capacity amid growing strain by deploying internationally educated nurses into hospitals and long-term care homes.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 1,200 have already signed on and 300 are scheduled to start immediately.

“Through this initiative, these nurses who have applied for registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario to practice in Ontario will have the opportunity to meet their application requirements by working in healthcare settings under the supervision of a regulated healthcare provider.”

Asked about a safe back to school plan on Monday, Minister Elliott punted most questions to the education minister who’s scheduled to speak tomorrow but explained why PCR tests will only be available to symptomatic staff and students while in school and why Ontario has stopped reporting COVID cases in schools.

“We know right now that Omicron is widespread and there will be some people who are staying home that haven’t received the test but they have the symptoms and so it would be difficult to report on a daily basis in schools as to the exact number of students that have Omicon,” said Minister Elliott.

In a statement, Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the province has shipped more than 9-million N95 masks and 4-million 3-ply masks to school boards.

Minister Elliott says the latest wave is not expected to peak until the last two weeks of January with ICU admissions peaking two weeks later but she noted the rate of hospitalizations seems to be slowing.

The current median stay in ICU is 7 days compared to 20 days during the peak of the Delta variant.

Ontario set a new daily record with 80 adults admitted to intensive care Monday.

Overall, 477 are in ICUs and more a daily high of 3,220 are hospitalized with COVID.

There are also 21 new deaths.

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