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.
“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.
'Absolutely gut-wrenching:' Waterloo Region child under the age of 10 dies after contracting COVID-19 – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
A Waterloo Region child under the age of 10 has died after contracting COVID-19.
Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, who serves as the medical officer of health for Waterloo Region, shared the news during a briefing on Friday.
She said that the child had underlying health conditions but did not provide any further information, other than to say that there were no “school-related or childcare-related exposures.”
“This is a heartbreaking loss and I wish to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and loved ones,” she said.
Since the beginning of the pandemic there have only been five deaths reported in individuals under the age of 19 and Wang said that she was “not aware” of any other fatalities involving younger individuals in Ontario.
In a message posted to Twitter, Premier Doug Ford called the loss of someone so young “absolutely gut-wrenching.”
“My prayers are with the family at this excruciatingly difficult time,” he said. “This virus knows no bounds. It’s why we need every eligible Ontarian to get vaccinated — to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and those who can’t yet get vaccinated against COVID-19.”
With files from CTV News Kitchener
88 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba Friday; more than half not vaccinated – CTV News Winnipeg
Manitoba has recorded 88 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, along with one more death added to the total.
According to the provincial COVID-19 dashboard, which was updated on Friday, of the new cases 53 were not vaccinated, 12 were partially vaccinated and 23 were fully vaccinated.
The new cases bring Manitoba’s total to 59,612, including 629 active cases and 57,779 recoveries. The five-day test positivity rate in the province is 2.6 per cent.
The number of deaths of people with COVID-19 increased by one on Friday, for a total of 1,204. The province did not release any details about this death.
As of Friday, the province said there are 72 people in hospital with COVID-19 including 37 people with active cases. Of those 37 people, 27 are not vaccinated, eight are partially vaccinated and two are fully vaccinated.
Of the seven people in ICU as of Friday with active COVID-19 cases, the province said six are unvaccinated and one is partially vaccinated.
Prepping Your Home for the Canadian Winter
The arrival of autumn is a traditional sign that it’s time to start preparing for winter. Such rituals once had a good deal to do with human survival, such as the need to gather enough food to ensure people had enough to eat during the sparse or non-existent growing season. Of course, providing adequate shelter and warmth through the coldest months was also an essential concern.
For most people today, the task of winter preparation in Canada has to do with taking care to be comfortable while also avoiding any possible emergencies that might arise due to rough weather; this means that the main areas of concern tend to have to do with either
- Warm Clothing
- Reliable Transportation
- Keeping Your Home Warm and Well-Maintained
When it comes to ensuring that your home is ready for the winter season, your top priority should be to check that your living areas can stay warm without sacrificing heating efficiency.
The Importance of Windows in Winter
One of the most critical aspects of this preparation involves checking your windows to ensure they are ready to withstand the coldest temperatures to keep you and your family safe and warm. Like everything else on your home, your windows experience normal wear and tear as they do their job of keeping the cold out and the heat inside each year.
While it might seem evident when windows are getting old, less obvious imperfections can quickly arise that may prove a tremendous burden if only discovered during the coldest weather. That’s one of the key reasons why preparing easy on can save you many headaches later in winter.
Trusting the Experts
Rather than play a guessing game with the condition of your windows, you can get in touch with a professional company that can ensure your windows are in proper working order. For example, you can contact a company specializing in windows and doors in Toronto to see whether the time has come to replace your windows.
Check Your Heating System
Another vital aspect of preparing your home for winter is to check your heating system and perform any tests available to guarantee everything is in working order. If your house is equipped with an oil furnace or contains a heating system that uses fuel, make sure that your tank is full so that you don’t run out at the wrong time. You might also want to contact your utility company to see if they recommend any other maintenance services.
Along with heating and window condition, there are many more general ways to weatherproof your home. Some of these include:
- Replacing or installing insulation
- Weatherstripping and caulking
- Repairing any leaks
Preparing your home for winter isn’t very difficult as long as you take the time to check a few essential things if you want to be ready. As always, the best way to be sure is to talk to the experts, like a professional window supplier who can make sure you are free from drafts when the cold weather hits.
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