A blanket of hot, humid air that has settled over much of south Central Canada has come at a time when anti-pandemic measures have closed many of the usual places where people might seek relief.
Heat waves can be dangerous for those with underlying health conditions but with malls, swimming pools and cooling centres closed to help curb the spread of COVID-19, various authorities are trying to come up with ways to mitigate the concern.
The City of Toronto, for example, has opened six designated sites from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at otherwise idled cooling centres. It was not immediately clear how the centres would ensure physical distancing among users or how many spaces were available.
“They may not all meet your immediate needs based on hours and access,” the city said.
The City of Ottawa noted many of the usual ways people cool off might not be available given the pandemic but offered tips such as drinking lots of water and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity.
The majority of Canada’s 6,566 deaths have been at long-term care facilities, prompting the federal government to send in members of the Canadian Armed Forces to help, exposing members to the virus and to the conditions in the homes.
In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had read a grim report from the military on conditions in Ontario nursing homes and had passed it on to Premier Doug Ford, whom, he said, would share details with the public later on Tuesday.
Trudeau said he had a wide range of emotions while reviewing the report, including anger, sadness, frustration and grief.
“It is deeply disturbing,” Trudeau said. “There are things in there that are extremely troubling.”
The military reported on Tuesday that 36 members working in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec had now become sick — a 30 per cent jump in less than a week. Of those, 22 infected members of the military were in Quebec and 14 in Ontario.
Some good news did emerge from Ontario, which reported its lowest number of new cases — 287 — in more than two weeks. That’s down sharply from the more than 400 cases a day reported over the previous five days. However, 21 more people died from the disease.
Trudeau also announced a federal contract with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks and help employment in Oshawa, Ont. The government had also been diligent in ensuring personal protective equipment meets standards, he said.
—With files from Canadian Press reporters across the country.