The Canadian Press
Montreal surpassed 100,000 reported infections today as the downward trend in COVID-19-related hospitalizations continued across the province. Health officials are reporting 984 new COVID-19 cases and 25 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including four in the past 24 hours. Officials say hospitalizations dropped by 25, to 849, and 137 patients were in intensive care, a drop of six. Hospitalizations have fallen by 120 over the past four reporting periods. Montreal remains the region with the most new, daily reported infections in Quebec, with 432 cases, for a total of 100,203. The city has recorded 4,434 deaths linked to the virus. The province says it administered 7,927 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, for a total of 280,612. Quebec has reported 274,831 infections and 10,173 deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic. It has 10,657 active reported cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2021. The Canadian Press
Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today – CBC.ca
- Ottawa is reporting 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday.
- Western Quebec has confirmed 31 cases and one death.
Today’s Ottawa update
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday but zero deaths.
Another 56 cases have been classified as resolved.
Ottawa and communities under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are now in the orange alert level, with slightly more restrictive rules than the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green.
Numbers to watch
35: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents. The red zone threshold is 40.
.98: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Health officials consider the spread under control if it’s below one.
34: The number of outbreaks in Ottawa.
488: The number of known active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. One month ago there were more than 1,200.
Across the region
Western Quebec identified 31 new cases on Saturday and one more death.
There’s no ‘best’ vaccine, expert says as Canada OKs AstraZeneca shots – Globalnews.ca
Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford have now been approved in Canada. While Canadians may not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine to take, all three offer protection against severe illness, according to experts.
“All of these vaccines are good,” Dr. Bradly Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at the University Health Network told Global News Friday.
Available data shows all these three vaccines have the “ability to impact hospitalization” and offer “protection against severe illness,” he said.
Which vaccine is the best?
There’s no “best vaccine” option.
Whichever vaccine is available first, “it’s going to protect you,” Wouters said.
Parts of the world are already facing which-is-best challenges. Astrazeneca’s vaccine for instance, was cleared for use in Britain and Europe after data suggested that it was about 70 per cent effective.
Italy’s government recently decided to reserve Pfizer and Moderna shots for the elderly and designate the Astrazeneca vaccine for younger, at-risk workers, sparking protests.
“Right now, it’s not vaccine against vaccine, it’s vaccine against virus,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told The Associated Press.
Wouters reiterated a similar notion.
“In a pandemic, you need fast results,” he noted and the “priority is to ensure everyone gets vaccinated” and not “debate over which vaccine is better.”
“Each trial involves different people in different places,” he said, and while many may be making comparisons between vaccines from the results of different Phase 3 trials, “such comparisons are misleading,” he said.
After Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca is the third shot officially authorized in the country.
Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works
The two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95 per cent effective against the virus as compared to the AstraZeneca shots that stand at 62 per cent in preventing symptomatic cases.
However, Wouters said they will all work “as effectively as possible as long as combined with mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.”
“We must continue to follow public health guidelines, being cautious until positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths are significantly reduced nationwide,” he said.
Following Canada’s approval of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand cautioned against deliberation over “the sort of good or bad” vaccines.
Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks
“If there is a vaccine and it’s been authorized by Health Canada, it means that it’s met standards,” Anand said during a press conference Friday.
AstraZeneca shots may not seem equal to its opponents at first glance but “these vaccines do have a use,” she said.
“We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that have been over 80, and that has shown a significant drop in hospitalizations, to the tune of 84 per cent,” she said.
“The idea is to have a suite of vaccines that are available. I think Canada is hungry for vaccines, we’re putting more on the buffet table to be used.”
Standards of efficacy
Speaking of the “standards of effectiveness,” Anand said vaccines “should meet at least 50 per cent.”
“If we compare that to the influenza viruses that we authorize every year, if you look back, for example, just to last year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine against the most common strain was about 64 per cent, across to the next common strain was about 54 per cent,” she said.
As more information becomes available from real-world use, “the efficacy” of the AstraZeneca vaccine might prove to “be much higher,” Anand added.
Considering all the five vaccines that are currently under review, including the Novavax and Johnson & Johnson shots, Anand emphasized that nobody has died so far from “adverse effects” of these vaccines.
“If you look across all the clinical trials of the tens of thousands of people that were involved, the number of cases of people that died from COVID-19 that got vaccine was zero. The number of people that were hospitalized because their COVID-19 disease was so severe was zero. The number of people that died because of an adverse event or an effect of the vaccine was zero,” she said.
The idea is “to prevent” serious illness, hospitalizations and “of course prevent death,” Anand said.
Storage and distribution
Compared to the other vaccines, the AstraZeneca shot is also easier to administer.
The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C/36 to 46 F) for at least six months and administered within existing health-care settings.
Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout
The Moderna and Pfizer options, meanwhile, must be stored at subzero temperatures until they’re ready to be used, at -4 F and -94 F, respectively.
This is “something we need to take into account,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said during a press conference Friday.
He said the onboarding of the AstraZeneca vaccine is “another tool in our toolbox.”
“Following the approval of Health Canada, the efficacy stands at 62 per cent, but we have to look at the entire profile of each vaccine because this vaccine is easier to administer than Pfizer and Moderna, so this is something we need to take into account,” he said.
— With files from The Associated Press
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Long lines, guests leaving rooms at Canada's COVID-19 quarantine hotels – Global News
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