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As province sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in months, experts sound the alarm –



As the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Quebec continues to creep upwards, health officials are cautioning the public to heed government restrictions and not slack off on physical distancing measures.

After recording 205 new cases Sunday — the highest number the province had seen in more than three months,Quebec reported an additional 216 new cases on Monday.  

That means the province now has a seven-day moving average of 20.4 cases per million inhabitants. Quebec’s health authorities had previously said they hoped to keep that number below 20 cases per million. 

Dr. Caroline Quach, an infectious disease specialist, said that while the increase may in part be connected to growing testing numbers and contact tracing strategies, it is still a major concern. 

“It’s a few days now that this increase in the number of cases has been bothering us. It’s already been more than a week that we’re above 100 cases and it’s been a few days that we’ve been above 170,” said Quach. 

“There’s starting to be an upward trend.” 

Thursday saw the highest number of COVID-19 tests carried out since the beginning of the pandemic, with 20,219 people tested. 

But with summer vacation wrapping up and the long weekend coming to a close, Quach fears the increase in cases may also be related to people growing more lax toward the rules, especially when it comes to limits on private gatherings.

While the province increased the limit on public gatherings to 250 earlier this summer, private gatherings are still capped at 10 people or less. 

“It’s the last long weekend of the summer so probably they want to see each other, and stick close and act as though nothing is happening. But there’s nothing that says you won’t be symptomatic tomorrow and have exposed people over the weekend,” said Quach. 

“We still need to be careful. It’s exhausting but we don’t have a choice.” 

Quach noted the cases are no longer concentrated in Montreal but spread throughout different regions. 

For instance, 61 of the new cases recorded Monday were in Montreal, but Quebec City was not very far behind with 51 new cases. Montreal remains the region with the highest number of cases, with 30,148 cases reported since the start of the pandemic. 

She said that while some may be tempted to blame this increase on the reopening of schools, many of the cases found in schools so far are the result of community spread. 

“These are cases that were acquired in the community, whether they be linked to outbreaks we’ve seen or through their home contacts,” she said. 

The idea of a potential lockdown for certain regions has been floating around in recent days, and Quach believes that, if the numbers continue to trend upward, that might be something the government should look at implementing. 

Students are seen through individual plexiglass shields at an elementary school in Montreal. So far, the province has reported 46 schools with at least one case of COVID-19. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

“To be able to control those places where the measures currently in place — wearing a mask, physical distancing, 10 people per home — aren’t able to control transmission, it’s possible they’ll be obliged to enter confinement again,” she said. 

Last week, Premier François Legault warned Quebecers that he will be forced to re-impose lockdown measures if they don’t start obeying public-health rules more diligently.

In a tweet Sunday, Health Minister Christian Dubé added that this latest increase in cases means the province is dealing with significant community spread and urged Quebecers to follow public health guidelines diligently. 

Deaths remain low

Dr. Matthew Cheng, an infectious disease specialist at the MUHC and a researcher for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 treatment trials, said there is a silver lining to the latest numbers. 

Despite the number of cases increasing, the number of new deaths, hospitalizations and patients in the intensive care unit have remained relatively low.

“The number of hospitalizations is remaining relatively steady and that’s probably because we’re seeing a shift in the demographic of patients who are being infected,” said Cheng. 

“Currently what we’re seeing are young adults who may not have followed the public health regulations and rules, and that were often seen to be having parties or other things indoors.” 

Cheng said he is bracing for the possibility that, if cases continue to trend upward, there could be more community spread and it may lead to more hospitalizations eventually. 

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Alberta confirms an additional 150 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, 2 deaths – Global News



An additional 150 cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed in Alberta on Tuesday. There have now been 16,889 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province.

Alberta Health released the updated numbers Tuesday afternoon.

Read more:
Trudeau to address the nation over coronavirus pandemic after Wednesday’s throne speech

The province also confirmed another two deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 258. On Tuesday, Alberta Health said a man in his 90s from the Edmonton zone and a man in his 80s from Calgary zone had both died.

The man from the Calgary zone was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at Wentworth Manor, Alberta Health said.

Alberta Health Services confirmed another death linked to the outbreak at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.

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The province has said there is usually a bit of a delay in reporting, but some facilities with outbreaks report their own numbers. The Foothills death should show up in Alberta Health’s numbers in the coming days.

Alberta has no plans to reduce gathering limits at this time: Hinshaw

Alberta has no plans to reduce gathering limits at this time: Hinshaw

As of Tuesday, the province was reporting 1,565 active cases across the province. There were 485 in the Calgary zone, 820 in the Edmonton zone, 24 in the Central zone, 41 in the South zone and 188 in the North zone. There were seven active cases not associated to a specific zone Tuesday.

Across the province, there were 51 people in hospital with nine of those people in the ICU.

To date, 1,229,939 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Alberta.

Read more:
‘Canada is at a crossroads’: Federal health officials warn coronavirus habits must change

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On Tuesday, Canada’s top doctor warned the country is at a crossroads when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Theresa Tam said because daily reporting numbers only catch transmission in the past, Tam warned that actions taken now are essential to keep the virus under control.

“The only way to achieve strong control of COVID-19 and prevent the virus from surging into an uncontrollable growth trajectory is for public health authorities and the public to work together,” Tam said.

Is Canada in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic? A doctor answers our questions

Is Canada in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic? A doctor answers our questions

New modelling presented by Tam said, if Canadians maintain their current rates of contacts, the epidemic is forecast to resurge to over 5,000 reported cases per day in October. But, if Canadians decrease the current contact rate, the pandemic could come under control in most locations.

– With files from Katie Dangerfield, Global News

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Active COVID-19 infections in B.C. plunge overnight as recoveries surge – Powell River Peak



The number of people actively suffering with COVID-19 plunged more than 26% overnight, to 1,465 from 1987 yesterday, as the number of people who have recovered from the virus that caused a global pandemic surged, government statistics show.

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The B.C. government released data September 22 that showed 6,589 people have now recovered from COVID-19, up 617 from yesterday. The BC Centre for Disease Control identified 96 new infections and no new deaths were reported. The only way that all those numbers add up is if one person who had been listed as actively infected has left the province. So far, there have been 23 such people, according to government statistics.

The plunge in the number of active infections is a remarkably positive development given that those active cases had been steadily rising, and yesterday’s count of 1,987 active cases was a record high.

The number of people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases has risen to a record 3,314 people.

The total number of COVID-19 infections in the province is now up to 8,304, and the breakdown by health region is:

• 2,984 in Vancouver Coastal Health (up 39);

• 4,254 in Fraser Health (up 43);

• 203 in Island Health (no change);

• 511 in Interior Health (up three);

• 266 in Northern Health (up 11); and

• 86 people who reside outside Canada (no change).

One additional person has been admitted to hospital, resulting in 61 people being treated in hospitals, including 22 who are in intensive care units – one more than yesterday.

With no new deaths, the province’s death toll remains at 227.

“There has been an outbreak in one unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver,” B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, and Stephen Brown, deputy minister of health, said in a joint statement.

They added that there are 12 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and four acute-care facilities that have active outbreaks, but that included an outbreak at the Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility – a second outbreak for that facility. Henry said last week that this outbreak was declared over, and when
BIV asked the Ministry of Health, an official confirmed that this outbreak is indeed still over.

That leaves 11 assisted living, long-term care or seniors’ rental buildings with active COVID-19 outbreaks, They include:

• OPAL by Element assisted living facility in Vancouver;

• Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility in Vancouver;

• Yaletown House long-term care facility in Vancouver;

• Bear Creek Villa independent living facility in Surrey;

• Cherington Place long-term care facility in Surrey;

• Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility in Surrey;

• KinVillage assisted living facility in Tsawwassen;

• Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility in Courtenay;

• New Vista Care Home long-term care facility in Burnaby;

• Normanna long-term care facility in Burnaby; and

• Rideau Retirement Centre independent living facility in Burnaby.


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Bonnie Henry says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response – Vancouver Sun



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British Columbia’s top doctor says she’s received death threats in her role as a public figure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she’s had to have security in her home and has been targeted with death threats, along with abusive letters and phone calls to staff.

She says she believes it’s partly due to her status as a woman in a high-profile position, and that people feel comfortable targeting her in ways they would not necessarily do to male leaders.

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with shoe designer John Fluevog naming a pair of shoes after her.

Her comments came during a panel presentation at the Union of B.C. Municipalities on leadership during the pandemic alongside Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin and former Tsawwassen chief Kim Baird.

Henry says it’s important to discuss these issues when trying to mentor the next generation of leaders.

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