Ontario has appointed retired Gen. Rick Hillier to lead the province’s vaccine rollout.
Hillier previously served as the chief of defence staff of the Canadian Forces for three years.
Premier Doug Ford says deployment of the vaccine will require an expert in logistics, which make’s Hillier’s appointment important.
He says planning is already underway with vaccine manufacturers for the rollout expected in early 2021.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province will receive 1.6 million doses of Pfizer’s new vaccine and 800,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine.
Elliott says while the vaccines are on the way, she continues to urge people to follow public health rules to limit the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Ontario plans to extend the term of its top doctor as it continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said today that the government has asked Dr. David Williams to stay on as chief medical officer of health until September.
Williams’ term was set to end Feb. 16.
Elliott said Williams’ leadership is required as the province continues to manage the pandemic and develops plans for the deployment of vaccines.
Some within the health-care sector have criticized Williams for his handling of the pandemic, claiming he hasn’t provided clear guidance and has been slow to impose tougher measures when needed.
Premier Doug Ford has repeatedly defended Williams, saying he has been key to Ontario’s fight against COVID-19.
The government tabled a motion in the legislature today to extend Williams’ term, and it must still be approved.
Meanwhile, Ontario reported a record 1,589 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, and 19 new deaths due to the virus.
Elliott said 535 cases were in Peel Region, 336 cases are in Toronto, and 205 cases are in York Region.
The province also reported 60 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 51 among students.
Those brought the number of schools with a reported case to 676 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.
In the province’s long-term care homes, 528 residents currently have COVID-19 and 11 new deaths were reported Monday.
The province said 101 of its 626 long-term care homes are experiencing an outbreak.
The latest figures came as Toronto and Peel Region entered the lockdown stage of Ontario’s pandemic protection plan.
It means that for at least the next 28 days, non-essential retailers can only offer curbside pickup, while restaurants are closed to all but takeout and delivery orders in the two COVID-19 hot spots.
Personal services have also been forced to close, but schools and child-care centres remain open.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.
Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press