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'At a tipping point': By next week, Canada could hit 198,000 COVID-19 cases: new modelling – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
By next week Canada could see thousands of new COVID-19 cases diagnosed, hitting a total of 197,830 COVID-19 cases nationwide and up to 9,800 deaths, the latest federal modelling on the short-term trajectory of the pandemic shows.

The new projections show that, as of Oct. 17, Canada is on track to hit between 188,150 and 197,830 cases, and between 9,690 and 9,800 deaths. 

“We’re at a tipping point in this pandemic. Not only is the second wave underway, yesterday we hit the highest daily recorded cases, well above what saw this spring,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We flattened the curve before, we can do it again.” 

The updated national picture on the severity of the second wave of COVID-19 shows that “a stronger response is needed now,” according to the report issued by Health Canada.

Asked about why the federal government is not stepping in to make sure stronger actions are taken by provincial governments like using the Emergencies Act, Trudeau defended the federal response, citing the different realities across the country.

“We’ve seen tremendous variances in effectiveness of various measures and in population behaviors,” he said. “Let’s make no mistakes about it. The second wave is really frustrating for a whole bunch of people who’ve been through this spring and who don’t want to see this happen right now. A whole bunch of us would love to see this simply go away, well it will only go away if we all do our part.”

The modelling comes after the country has already blown past the September estimates for new cases and deaths by this time. 

As of the time the modelling was released, there were 177,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 18,755 of those are currently active, and to-date there have been and 9,583 deaths. Those numbers have since continued to increase.

“Living through a global pandemic has not been easy on anybody, and our lives have all been disrupted and upset. We’ve all had to change and adapt so much. Families have been strained, people have lost jobs, we’ve had to let go of celebrations, change our plans and forego seeing our loved ones,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu. “And of course far too many lives have been lost and COVID-19.”

The new data shows that, if Canadians maintain their current rate of contacts, the epidemic will resurge as rates of infection are already accelerating rapidly in Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta, while the pandemic remains largely under control within the Atlantic bubble.

As has been the case over the last month, the rate of hospitalization is increasing, but now what was a lessened rate of deaths from the virus is also trending up once again. The second wave is hitting younger age groups harder than other demographics, the data also shows. 

However, the latest data also shows a “concerning rise” in new cases among individuals 80 years of age and older, who are at the highest risk of severe outcomes. 

Across Canada there have been 250 schools with COVID-19 cases, and there continues to be a growing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes, though not yet as many as were seen in the spring. 

“If strategic closures are needed to reduce contacts between individuals, results of dynamic modeling shows us that acting fast, will have the greatest impact,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam. 

Canada’s top public health officials are speaking to the new figures, as Ontario has rolled out new restrictions and is urging people across the province to stay home except for essential purposes in certain hard-hit regions that will restrict indoor dining and close gyms after that province broke a record for the largest daily increase in cases since the pandemic was declared. 

Tam extended this recommendation to Canadians nationwide about their behaviour over the next few weeks, as the country is told once again that the curve needs to be flattened to have a chance at a somewhat normal winter holiday season, after weeks of growing case counts and a minimal reintroduction of regional restrictions. 

“What we do now will shape the numbers we see in two weeks, and set us hopefully on the right track for family gatherings at Christmas. So let’s work together,” Trudeau said. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also detailed the new plan for businesses in terms of what their second wave financial supports will look like should they be forced to close due to a pandemic-related public health order. 

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Today’s coronavirus news: 1 in 4 Canadians say mental health is worse now; Health Canada recalls counterfeit hand sanitizer sold at Dollarama in Ontario; Argentina passes 1M cases – Toronto Star

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KEY FACTS

  • 5:49 a.m.: Argentina passes 1 million COVID-19 cases

  • 5:44 a.m.: One in four Canadians saying stress level higher than first COVID-19 wave

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:10 a.m. An employee at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Mississauga recently tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the Loblaws COVID-19 tracker, one employee at the Shoppers Simply Pharmacy at 3530 Derry Road tested positive on a presumptive test.

Management was notified of the case on Oct. 19 and the employee’s last day of work was on Oct. 13.

The company said once management is notified of a positive test result, the store undergoes a deep clean and sanitization.

9 a.m. In a seniors housing building in east-end Toronto, 69-year-old Maureen Clohessy has taped over her power outlets, hoping to keep bedbugs out of the bachelor unit she’s called home for three years.

Each day, she watches for the scuttling critters, her eyes scanning from her plugs to her ceiling in an apartment on the seventh floor. The building at 828 Kingston Road is known as Glen Stewart Acres, and it’s one of several senior-specific buildings operated by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.

Like other community housing buildings in Toronto, Glen Stewart Acres has battled pests from bedbugs to rodents and cockroaches. The housing operator saw a leap of 17.4 per cent in demands for pest treatments across all their buildings last year. Clohessy’s building was supposed to be treated top-to-bottom this spring. But then the pandemic hit — and the process was put indefinitely on hold.

Read the full story from the Star’s Victoria Gibson

8:32 a.m. The rate of COVID-19 testing in the part of the city hit hardest by the virus is lagging behind other neighbourhoods, data newly posted by Toronto Public Health shows.

That data, released Monday and current to Oct. 4, shows that eight of the 10 neighbourhoods with the highest per cent positivity for COVID-19 are in the northwest part of the city, which reporting by the Star has shown to be most at-risk.

At the same time, all eight of those neighbourhoods had rates of testing below the average for neighbourhoods where there was data available.

On Monday, the city’s board of health called on the province to increase the availability and accessibility of pop-up testing in neighbourhoods disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said Monday that more testing is needed to “fully understand” what’s happening in those neighbourhoods. Testing is the responsibility of the province.

Read the full story by the Star’s Jennifer Pagliaro

8:30 a.m. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says three more patients have tested positive for COVID-19.

That brings the total number of cases at its 1-4 Unit in downtown Toronto up to five after two were announced on Sunday.

CAMH is one of three hospitals in Toronto with active outbreaks,

Toronto Western Hospital said on Sunday five staff and three patients in two of its units have tested positive.

St. Joseph’s Health Centre was reporting outbreaks in four units on Sunday.

The province says an outbreak is declared when two or more people test positive for the virus within 14 days who could have reasonably caught COVID-19 at the hospital.

8:10 a.m. Health Canada is recalling a product labelled a hand sanitizer but that it has determined is counterfeit.

The government department says a counterfeit version of the authorized Daily Shield hand sanitizer has been found for sale at a Dollarama store in Thunder Bay.

Health Canada warns the false version may not be effective at killing bacteria and viruses, and may pose serious risks to health.

It also says that the unauthorized product is suspected to contain methanol, which is not authorized for use in hand sanitizers and could cause severe adverse reactions or death when ingested.

The counterfeit version is labelled with NPN 80098979, Lot 6942; Expiry May 2023 and is sold in a 250 mL format.

7:30 a.m. The number of passengers screened in a single day for flights in the U.S. topped one million for the first time since COVID-19 infections began to spike last March.

The notable milestone, reached Sunday, signifies both the progress made since the darkest days of pandemic for the devastated U.S. airline industry, when fewer than 100,000 people were screened per day in April, and how far it still has to go.

The million plus passengers screened Sunday compares with 2.6 million on the same day last year, or roughly 60% fewer, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA said that the 6.1 million passengers at U.S. checkpoints the week of Oct. 12 through Oct. 18 was the greatest volume measured since the start of the pandemic.

Vacation plans and business trips were frozen in the spring as millions took shelter. With so little known about the virus, few wanted to board planes or walk through an airport even if they could.

Airlines received $50 billion (U.S.) in cash and loans from Congress in March on the condition that they held off on layoffs at least through October. Airlines are now warning of mass layoffs while lobbying Congress and the White House for another $25 billion (U.S.) to pay workers for the next six months.

7:15 a.m. Colombian cyclist Fernando Gaviria has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia.

Gaviria and a staff member for Team AG2R La Mondiale were the only positives out of 492 tests carried out Sunday and Monday.

Gaviria’s UAE Team Emirates says the rider “was immediately isolated following the test result and is feeling well and is completely asymptomatic.”

The team notes that Gaviria also had COVID-19 in March.

Gaviria has won five stages at the Giro during his career.

Overall contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk had already been withdrawn from the race after testing positive. Australian standout Michael Matthews also was withdrawn. The Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma teams withdrew their entire squads last week following a series of positive results from the first rest day.

7:10 a.m. Rugby Europe has suspended all internationals to the end of November, including the long-delayed last round of the men’s championship.

On Nov. 1 were scheduled Romania vs. Belgium and Georgia vs. Russia, and on Nov. 15 Spain vs. Portugal. They have been postponed since March.

Georgia has already retained the title, while Romania is in last place, which drops the occupier into a promotion-relegation match against the waiting Netherlands.

“Our players and our officials are mostly ‘amateurs,’” Rugby Europe president Octavian Morariu said on Tuesday. “We cannot expose them to the virus or to quarantine periods that would be problematic for them.”

5:53 a.m.: A number of fishing crew who flew into New Zealand on chartered planes have the coronavirus.

Health officials said Tuesday that 11 have tested positive so far and another 14 cases are being investigated.

The crew members have been in quarantine at a Christchurch hotel since they arrived, and tested positive during routine testing, officials said. The news could deal a blow to New Zealand’s efforts to restart its fishing industry, which has struggled to find local workers to crew vessels.

Jeremy Helson, the chief executive of Seafood New Zealand, said all the men tested negative before flying to New Zealand. “While we await to see how many cases there are, the fact that they were all detected in quarantine shows the system is working well,” Helson said in a statement.

The origin of the infected crew members wasn’t immediately clear, although a number of fishing crew have been arriving in New Zealand in recent days from Russia and Ukraine.

New Zealand has managed to stamp out community spread of the virus.

5:51 a.m.: Near the end of September, with coronavirus cases falling and more schools and businesses reopening, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration urged restraint, citing a statistical model that predicted a startling 89-per-cent increase in virus hospitalizations in the next month.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, state data shows hospitalizations have fallen by about 15 per cent since that warning while the weekly average number of new cases continues to decline even as other more populous states like Florida, Ohio and Illinois see increases.

California’s good news isn’t enough to change what Newsom calls his “slow” and “stubborn” approach to reopening the world’s fifth-largest economy. He again cautioned people against “being overly exuberant” about those coronavirus numbers, pointing to a “decline in the rate of decline” of hospitalizations.

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5:50 a.m.: A Cabinet minister says Pakistan has witnessed a 140 per-cent increase in fatalities from COVID-19 in recent weeks due to widespread violations of social distancing rules.

Asad Umar, the planning and development minister who oversees Pakistan’s response to coronavirus, warned on Twitter “We will lose both lives and livelihoods” if people did not adhere to social distancing rules.

His comments Tuesday came shortly after the military-backed Command and Operations Center reported 14 deaths and 625 new cases in the past 24 hours.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had warned on Monday that Pakistan’s big cities could face a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming weeks because of increasing pollution in winter. Pakistan has reported 324,084 cases, including 6,673 COVID-19 deaths.

5:49 a.m.: As Argentina passed 1 million virus cases Monday, it is now smaller cities like Ushuaia that are seeing some of the most notable upticks. Doctors have had to quadruple the number of beds for COVID-19 patients over the last month. At least 60 per cent of those tested recently are coming back positive for the virus.

“We were the example of the country,” said Dr. Carlos Guglielmi, director of the Ushuaia Regional Hospital. “Evidently someone arrived with the coronavirus.”

Across Latin America, three other nations are expected to reach the 1 million case milestone in the coming weeks — Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The grim mark comes as Latin America continues to register some of the world’s highest daily case counts. And though some nations have seen important declines, overall there has been little relief, with cases dropping in one municipality only to escalate in another.

The trajectory is showing that the pandemic is likely to leave no corner of Latin America unscathed.

5:44 a.m.: Canadians continue to experience mental health difficulties due to the pandemic, with one in four saying their stress level is higher than during the first COVID-19 wave, according to a new poll.

The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that only 19 per cent of Canadians say their mental health is better now than in March and April as infection rates tick up and autumn sets in.

However, about 54 per cent said their mental state is about the same as when the coronavirus first struck the country.

Participants cited concerns about the length and severity of the pandemic as their biggest source of anxiety, followed closely by social isolation and family health.

“If we cannot see extended family during the holidays and rekindle that positive energy that we get from family and friends, it might lead to a long winter,” said Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.

“It’s almost like, when is this thing going to end?”

Read the full story from the Canadian Press here.

4 a.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. EDT on Oct. 20, 2020:

There are 200,939 confirmed cases in Canada.

-Quebec: 94,429 confirmed (including 6,044 deaths, 79,529 resolved)

-Ontario: 65,075 confirmed (including 3,050 deaths, 55,978 resolved)

-Alberta: 22,673 confirmed (including 292 deaths, 19,243 resolved)

-British Columbia: 11,687 confirmed (including 253 deaths, 9,753 resolved)

-Manitoba: 3,382 confirmed (including 42 deaths, 1,597 resolved)

-Saskatchewan: 2,396 confirmed (including 25 deaths, 1,973 resolved)

-Nova Scotia: 1,097 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,026 resolved)

-New Brunswick: 313 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 207 resolved)

-Newfoundland and Labrador: 287 confirmed (including 4 deaths, 272 resolved)

-Prince Edward Island: 63 confirmed (including 60 resolved)

-Yukon: 17 confirmed (including 15 resolved)

-Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

-Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved), 3 presumptive

-Nunavut: No confirmed cases

Total: 201,440 (3 presumptive, 201,437 confirmed including 9,778 deaths, 169,671 resolved)

Monday 6:35 p.m.: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at its Queen Street West site, with five patients testing positive for the virus. It is the first outbreak at Canada’s largest mental health hospital since April.

Two patients were said to have COVID-19 on Sunday. By Monday at 5 p.m., CAMH updated their website to reveal three more patients had tested positive, bringing the total to five current patients with the virus.

The new outbreak brings the number of patients who have tested positive for the virus at CAMH to 29 since the pandemic began. Nineteen have since recovered and three were discharged.

Read the full story from Nadine Yousif here.

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Canada-China spat heats up over ambassador's alleged threat – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The diplomatic spat between Canada and China grew more heated on Monday as Beijing denounced press criticism of its ambassador to Ottawa, only to have Canada’s deputy prime minister and opposition leader echo the criticism.

The exchange comes at a moment when ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years, largely due to China’ outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and the subsequent arrest of two Canadians.

The new friction arose when China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs.

“If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.

Asked if his remarks amounted to a threat, Cong replied, “That is your interpretation.”

Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland said in Parliament on Monday that the ambassador’s comments “are not in any way in keeping with the spirit of appropriate diplomatic countries between two countries.”

Freeland said Canada will speak out for human rights in China and said Canada will support its citizens living in Hong Kong. “Let me also reassure the 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong that a Canadian is a Canadian and we will stand with them.” Freeland said.

Her statements came hours after Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that his government had complained to Canada over press criticism of Cong’s remarks. He said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.”

He didn’t specify the media criticism, but the Toronto Sun on Saturday published an editorial calling on Cong to apologize, adding. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.”

Meanwhile, Erin O’Toole, the leader of Canada’s main opposition Conservative party, said Monday that Cong had threatened Canadians in Hong Kong and called on the envoy to either apologize or leave.

Cherie Wong, the executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, a group that advocates for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, called Cong’s comment a “direct threat” to all Canadians.

“It should not be lost on Canadians living in Hong Kong or China, they could be next. Ambassador Cong suggested so himself,” Wong said.

Protests against the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments swelled last year, and Beijing clamped down on expressions of anti-government sentiment in the city with a new national security law that took effect June 30.

The law outlaws subversive, secessionist and terrorist activity, as well as collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the city’s internal affairs. The U.S., Britain and Canada accuse China of infringing on the city’s freedoms.

Cong also rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that China is engaging in coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadian men in retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive on an American extradition warrant. The executive, Meng Wanzhou, is living under house arrest in Vancouver while her case wends through a British Columbia court.

In December 2018, China imprisoned two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and charged them with undermining China’s national security. Convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg was also sentenced to death in a sudden retrial shortly after Meng’s arrest.

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COVID-19 cases in Canada surpass 200000 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed Canada’s total case count past the 200,000 mark on Monday as tougher health restrictions took effect in some regions facing a surge in infections.

The latest numbers from Saskatchewan lifted the national tally over the bleak milestone as the province reported 66 new cases of the novel coronavirus, though other provinces reported significantly more new cases.

The development came just over four months after Canada reached the 100,000-case threshold.

The bulk of the country’s case load has been concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, though numbers have been surging in much of the country in recent weeks.

The 200,000-case milestone isn’t all that significant in and of itself but it does provide an opportunity to examine how the country is doing in grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, said Barry Pakes, a public health and preventatine medicine physician with the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Canada saw its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in late January and marked 100,000 cases in mid-June, about five months later.

That it took almost as long to double the caseload to 200,000 suggests public health measures slowed the virus’s spread to some degree in that time, Pakes said.

“That’s not how infectious diseases work – they double, and they go straight up on an exponential line, and when we put in proper public health measures we’re able to dull that somewhat, so I think that’s a testament to what we’ve been doing so far,” he said.

At the same time, it’s crucial to remember that Canada is in the midst of a second wave of the pandemic, and milestones such as this one can sometimes serve as a reminder not to let our guard down, he said.

“The problem arises when we rest on our laurels and I think we shouldn’t do that, but I think we can be sort of hopeful that we won’t see some of the numbers and some of the really big societal effects that have been seen in the U.S. or Europe,” he said.

“But it does remain to be seen.”

Quebec continued to lead in new daily cases, reporting 1,038 cases and six more deaths Monday – the fourth consecutive day it has seen more than 1,000 new infections.

Ontario, meanwhile, reported 704 new cases and four new deaths.

The province has reinstated stricter health measures in four regions – Toronto, Peel Region, York Region and Ottawa – and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s top doctor, recommended against traditional Halloween activities in those areas.

The tighter rules, which include closing gyms and movie theaters and barring indoor dining in restaurants or bars, kicked in for York Region on Monday but took effect earlier this month in the other three hot spots.

Williams said that when daily case counts began to rise again in September, the province predicted it would see new infections double every 10 to 12 days, which would have led to daily numbers in the 1,200 to 1,400 range by now. He noted that at the time, the City of Toronto also predicted seeing its cases double every six days if no additional steps were taken.

“Neither of us, fortunately, have seen that. Measures have been taken, they’ve dropped that down,” he said Monday.

The daily case numbers were slow to come down in the first wave but they did drop over time, “and I think we can do that again,” he said.

Manitoba reported 80 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, nearly two thirds of them in Winnipeg, as new restrictions on gatherings and businesses took effect in that city. The new rules limit gatherings to five people and force casinos and bars to close, and will be reviewed in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the federal government announced Monday that limits on travel between Canada and the United States will remain in place until Nov. 21.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020.

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