OTTAWA — Three of the provinces hardest-hit by COVID-19 spent their second pandemic-era Good Friday either adjusting to or bracing for stricter public health measures meant to bring resurgent case counts back in check.
Three regions of Quebec, including the provincial capital, are now under a 10-day lockdown that took effect hours before the province reported the highest daily case load since late January.
On Wednesday, British Columbia imposed what they are calling a three-week long “circuit breaker” across the province hoping to “break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.”
Ontario, meanwhile, will pull what it dubs an “emergency brake” at midnight for the entire province, forcing the closure of personal services and in-person dining while imposing tighter capacity limits on both essential and non-essential businesses.
The move came in response to modelling that showed case counts could top 6,000 a day by month’s end without intervention.
While the problem in all three provinces is the same — faster-spreading variants and rising hospitalizations — the rules are all slightly different.
Quebec closed schools in the affected regions while Ontario and B.C. did not.
All three are prohibiting indoor gatherings at private residences, but Quebec is also banning outdoor gatherings at homes and cottages. Ontario and B.C. both say it’s safe to allow up to 10 people to assemble outside.
Quebec’s rules include a curfew banning people from leaving their homes between 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. in most regions, though the start of the curfew has been moved back to 8 p.m. in the province’s three newly locked-down cities.
Residents of Quebec City, Levis and Gatineau will also see schools close and non-essential business shut down for at least 10 days in a bid to bring soaring local case counts back under control.
Elsewhere, Quebec allows up to 250 people inside a place of worship as long as they can maintain a two metre distance from others. But the number differs for weddings and funerals, where the limit is 25 attendees.
British Columbia only allows worship outdoors, up to a maximum of 50 people, plus two more to enforce the rules. In Ontario, worship services are limited to 15 per cent capacity.
A new survey suggested Canadians navigating the complex patchwork of public health measures are likely to disregard them altogether and even ignore nearly universal calls from public health officials and politicians to skip Easter gatherings this year.
An online poll done by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies and the University of Manitoba found more than 40 per cent of the people surveyed feel safe attending family gatherings at this point, and a quarter believe the government is overhyping the dangers of COVID-19.
Toronto mother Marcia Martins said she is scaling back her family’s usually large Easter gathering to just four households this year, noting the move feels safe since most attendees don’t work outside the home.
“These are just difficult times right now,” she said. “And I’m just glad that there’s a way that we can just keep as close to normal — or what our old normal was.”
But for some Ontario retail workers, the coming lockdown is welcome news.
“I think this will help prevent the increasing rates of the virus,” said Odessa Ordanza, a cashier at Shoppers Drug Mart in Mississauga, Ont.
The 22-year-old said “it’s still kind of scary going to work,” particularly with some people still coming into the store without masks on.
But one home-care supervisor west of Toronto has a much harsher appraisal of the government’s current approach, which allows schools to stay open and allows most retailers to operate with capacity caps rather than shutting them down entirely.
“I don’t know if it’s the right approach,” said Terri Neufeld of Mississauga, noting comparable measures have been in place locally for months. “I don’t know if we need to have a more targeted approach? What we’ve been doing (in Ontario) has really not been working.”
Many provinces opted not to report new case data on the Good Friday holiday. Those that did included Quebec, which added 1,314 new cases to its total.
It’s the third day in a row the province tallied more than 1,000 new infections, and the highest daily number since Jan. 26.
Saskatchewan reported 254 new infections on Friday, while Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw estimated there had been about 1,100 new infections over the most recent 24-hour period.
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, meanwhile, reported nine new infections each.
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin says the Easter weekend in his province “is looking very different” than in most other jurisdictions, but said people still need to be careful.
— with files from Nicole Thompson and Denise Paglinawan in Toronto.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2021.
Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? – Delta-Optimist
Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids?
Experts say there’s no strong evidence that it makes children and teens sicker than earlier versions of the virus, although delta has led to a surge in infections among kids because it’s more contagious.
Delta’s ability to spread more easily makes it more of a risk to children and underscores the need for masks in schools and vaccinations for those who are old enough, said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Weekly infection rates among U.S. children earlier this month topped 250,000, surpassing the wintertime peak, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the pandemic began, more than 5 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19.
The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, the spike in infections has also meant an increase in hospitalizations in young children and teens.
In the U.S., the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September — similar to the peak last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the portion of kids hospitalized with severe disease hasn’t changed significantly.
The sheer numbers can make it seem like children are getting sicker with the delta variant, but experts say that does not appear to be the case. Most infected kids have mild infections or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.
COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against delta. Among children 12 and older — who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than those who have had the shots, CDC data show.
The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org. Read more here:
Lindsey Tanner, The Associated Press
Data from 3 major hospital systems reveals how many COVID-19 patients are fully vaccinated – Bring Me The News
While the COVID vaccines are shown to be effective albeit not bulletproof at preventing infection from the virus, their effectiveness at preventing hospitalization and death is much greater.
Four Minnesota healthcare institutions provided specific data that shows the percentage of hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, and how many are unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated.
Allina Health, which has 14 hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, reports that almost four out of five COVID-19 patients hospitalized through Sept. 20 were unvaccinated.
Its data show that of 176 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 20, 32 were in the ICU and 21 required a ventilator. Hospitalized patients who were fully vaccinated represented 22.7% of the total, and just 15.6% of the ICU cases and 9.5% of the cases with a ventilator.
HealthPartners, which has nine hospitals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told Bring Me The News that it has cared for 338 COVID-19 patients in the past 30 days and 53 of them (15.7%) were fully vaccinated.
“Of those 53 patients, only six required intensive care, two needed the support of a ventilator and nobody died. Year-to-date, 6.3% of hospitalized patients have been fully vaccinated,” a spokesperson from HealthPartners said.
Sanford Health, which operates 22 regional hospitals, is reporting that 10.1% of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Sept. 21 were fully vaccinated. Only two of 45 in the ICU and one of 34 patients on a ventilator were fully vaxxed,
More of the same from CentraCare, which operates eight hospitals in the region. The latest data provided Thursday (it changes daily and even hourly) had six of 67 COVID-19 inpatients documented as fully vaccinated.
To recap, that’s four major hospital systems that are reporting between 9% and 22% of all COVID-19 patients being fully vaccinated, with even lower percentages of vaccinated patients in the ICU or on a ventilator.
“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be our best tool in stopping the spread of infection and preventing serious illness and death,” the HealthPartners spokesperson said.
Bring Me The News has requested vaccinated and unvaccinated ratios from other major providers, including Mayo Clinic Health Systems, Hennepin Healthcare and Essentia Health.
330 people are in BC hospitals with COVID-19 – MY PG NOW
B.C. is reporting 832 new cases of COVID-19, 117 in Northern Health, 153 in Interior Health.
There are 5,697 active cases in the province, of those cases, 330 individuals are in hospital and 148 are in intensive care.
The north has 977 active cases, and the interior has 1,181.
87.3% of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of a vaccine and 79.9% received their second dose.
The new/active cases include:
* 377 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,932
* 114 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 909
* 153 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,181
* 117 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 977
* 71 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 654
* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: 44
There were five new deaths reported, one was in Northern Health.
From Sept. 15-21, people not fully vaccinated accounted for 75.5% of cases and from Sept. 8-21, they accounted for 82.6% of hospitalizations.
Past week cases (Sept. 15-21) – Total 4,417
* Not vaccinated: 2,996 (67.8%)
* Partially vaccinated: 342 (7.7%)
* Fully vaccinated: 1,079 (24.4%)
Past two weeks cases hospitalized (Sept. 8-21) – Total 437
* Not vaccinated: 327 (74.8%)
* Partially vaccinated: 34 (7.8%)
* Fully vaccinated: 76 (17.4%)
Past week, cases per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 15-21)
* Not vaccinated: 289.0
* Partially vaccinated: 87.9
* Fully vaccinated: 27.0
Past two weeks, cases hospitalized per 100,000 population after adjusting for age (Sept. 8-21)
* Not vaccinated: 46.5
* Partially vaccinated: 13.3
* Fully vaccinated: 1.8
After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 25.8 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.
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