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Concern grows over possible shutdown in Ontario due to COVID-19, but what will it look like? – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
There is growing fear a lockdown in Ontario could soon be on the horizon.

“We’re staring down the barrel of another lockdown,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a press conference Friday.

“I will not hesitate for a second if we have to go further.”

Those words come as the province continues to set records for COVID-19 cases in a single day.

Public Health Ontario reported nearly 1,600 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday — the highest single day total yet in Ontario.

For now, the government has lowered its thresholds for new COVID-19 restrictions.

Ottawa stays in the “Orange-Restrict” zone for COVID-19 restrictions, but changes to the thresholds in the coloured-coded framework means the capital moved closer to the “Red-Control” zone, just shy of a full lockdown.

“If we continue to practice the simple messages of public health of a mask and social distancing and washing your hands than at least we have some rationale to explain why we shouldn’t be brought into a more severe category,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

And while the threat of a possible lockdown looms, what that would look like is still not clear.

“Quite honestly, I think it’s going to have to be even more restrictive than the first shutdown situation,” said Dr. Abdu Sharkawy, infectious disease specialist.

Sharkawy said that while the length of restrictions could vary by region, a uniform approach right across Ontario is required.

“I think we are fooling ourselves into believing that we can continue with this graded, targeted, surgical, piecemeal approach. It’s absolutely unrealistic. This virus is getting worse everywhere,” he said.

While Ottawa is doing better than other hotspots in Ontario, the mayor says the city will support any provincial effort to keep residents safe.

“It’ll be tough medicine, be we have to do what we have to do to save lives,” said Mayor Watson.

On Friday, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches warned Ottawa is now on the “cusp” of the red zone.

There are still signs that the health care system is facing challenges in Ottawa.

According to Ottawa Public Health, 97 per cent of acute beds are occupied, as are 92 per cent of ICU beds.

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Several care homes in B.C. Interior battling COVID-19 outbreaks amid region's case surge – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
The surging COVID-19 case numbers in B.C.’s Interior Health region appear to be spilling over into long-term care homes.

Three new outbreaks have been declared in local long-term care facilities since Monday, according to the Interior Health website.

Two of the homes – Cottonwoods Care Centre and Brookhaven Care Centre – are in Kelowna, where increasing COVID-19 transmission recently prompted a renewed indoor mask mandate for the Central Okanagan.

The other outbreak was declared at Kootenay Street Village in Cranbrook. A fourth outbreak discovered last month at Nelson Jubilee Manor, another long-term care facility in the region, remains active.

Details on the number of cases confirmed at each facility are not available on the Interior Health website. CTV News has reached out to the health authority for more information, including on how COVID-19 might have been introduced into the homes and whether the concerning Delta variant has been detected at any of them.

As recently as July 18, B.C. health officials were celebrating more than a week without a single outbreak at a long-term care home or assisted living facility anywhere in the province.

Case numbers have been surging since then, particularly in the Interior Health region, which accounts for 945 of B.C.’s 1,764 active coronavirus cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that the “vast majority” of recent cases involve people who have not been immunized against the disease.

Some families with loved ones in long-term care have expressed concerns at the lack of transparency around staff vaccination rates. The B.C. Care Providers Association recently said there are some facilities where only 70 per cent of employees are vaccinated – well below the province-wide immunization rate for eligible residents – but the government has repeatedly declined to provide site-specific numbers to the public.

There have also been calls for mandatory vaccinations of care home workers who work with vulnerable residents, including from seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Henry has said B.C. will not require care home employees to get immunized against COVID-19, but that those who don’t get vaccinated will be required to keep wearing masks at work and submitting to regular testing.

She also recently alluded to possible “consequences” for those who continue refusing the vaccine.

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COVID-19: Delta variant driving fourth wave in B.C. – Flipboard

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Alberta Has Essentially Decided the Pandemic Is Over

VICE – Brennan Doherty • 16h

Alberta will soon have some of the loosest COVID-19 public health restrictions in North America. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 in Alberta will no longer be required to isolate for at least 10…

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Northern Health Region adds 13 new cases, three new outbreaks in Interior Health – Energeticcity.ca

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Out of 7,875 total cases in the region, 7,664 have recovered.

There were 1,116 vaccine doses given since Tuesday, bringing the total number of doses given to 301,931. Of those, 133,664 are second doses.

Provincial COVID-19 data

The province added 342 new cases Wednesday, bringing the active case count to 1,764.

There are 55 people in hospital, 23 of whom are in critical care.

There were no deaths across B.C. Wednesday, keeping the total at 1,772.

Out of 150,973 total cases, 147,409 have since recovered.

There were 24,495 vaccine doses given since Tuesday, bringing the total number of doses given to 6,931,815. Of those, 3,148,473 are second doses.

Three new outbreaks in Interior Health Region

Since Monday, three new outbreaks have been declared in long-term care facilities according to the Interior Health website.

Two homes are in Kelowna, where a surge in cases led to the return of mask mandates. The other outbreak is in Cranbrook.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that the vast majority of cases recorded recently are in people who haven’t received a single dose of the vaccine.

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