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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Monday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Ontario, which trails only Quebec in the number of recorded coronavirus cases and deaths in Canada, reported 851 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, down from Sunday’s tally of more than 1,000 new cases. 

Most of the new cases were reported in Toronto, York and Peel regions and Ottawa. 

The province reported 1,042 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, a record number for a single day.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Toronto General Hospital, said over the weekend that while the cause of the recent spike in Ontario is not entirely clear, the week ahead will offer a critical window for assessing the province’s progress in combating the pandemic.

As of Monday morning there were 295 people in Ontario hospitalized due to the virus, including 78 in ICU.

Quebec, which has recorded more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases since the global pandemic began, reported 879 new cases on Sunday.

Writing in French on Twitter, provincial Health Minister Christian Dubé said in comparing the last two weeks, the number of cases is stable but remains high. Dubé urged people to make an effort to slow transmission of the virus, noting that new cases could lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths.

The most recent figures available on Quebec’s COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 551, with 97 in intensive care.

“As hospitalizations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement on Sunday. 

WATCH: Dr. Christopher Labos talks about COVID-19 in Ontario and Quebec:

The COVID-19 situation is relatively stable in Ontario and better in Quebec compared to a month ago, and it’s important to look at the trend of cases, says epidemiologist and cardiologist Dr. Christopher Labos. 2:59


What’s happening across Canada

As of 10:20 a.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 216,955 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 182,108 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting rose to 9,952.

Voters are going to the polls today in Saskatchewan, the third provincial election since the pandemic began. Elections Saskatchewan said on Twitter over the weekend that 153,749 ballots were cast in four days of advance voting. That number is almost the same as the 2016 and 2011 advanced voting combined, the election agency said.

In Manitoba, provincial health officials reported 161 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and four new deaths. A statement from officials Sunday said there were “77 people in hospital and 15 people in intensive care.”

Alberta, which reported 432 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, did not provide updated figures over the weekend.

In British Columbia, which did not provide updated numbers over the weekend, a school is facing a temporary closure. École de l’Anse-au-sable in Kelowna will be closed until Nov. 4 after 11 people tested positive and 160 more were asked to self-isolate.

New Brunswick health officials announced Sunday that two more people in the province “have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total of lives lost to six.” The province also announced two new cases — one in the Campbellton region and one in the Fredericton region.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, health officials announced one new case of COVID-19, an Ontario man in his 60s who had recently travelled to western Newfoundland after he was granted a travel exemption.

Prince Edward Island had no new cases on Sunday, nor did Nova Scotia.  There were no new cases in Yukon, Nunavut or the Northwest Territories on Sunday.


What’s happening around the world

Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking the global spread of the novel virus, reported 43,174,685 cases worldwide, with 29,014,4079 cases listed as recovered, as of 10:50 a.m. ET on Monday. The Baltimore-based university reported 1,155,473 deaths worldwide. 

In Europe, France was reporting that virus patients now occupy more than half of the country’s intensive care units, and some doctors are urging tougher restrictions after another record jump in confirmed infections. Dr. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the government’s virus advisory body, expressed surprise Monday at the “brutality” of the rise, after more than 52,000 new cases were reported Sunday.

France has been among countries hardest-hit by the pandemic, reporting 34,761 virus-related deaths. It is currently registering more than 340 positive cases per 100,000 people nationwide each week.

People walk past a restaurant on the first night of a countrywide curfew on Sunday in Madrid. Spain has declared a national state of emergency and imposed a night-time curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in an effort to help control a new spike in COVID-19 infections. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

In Spain, which has had more than 1 million cases of the disease, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned the country was facing an “extreme” situation as he announced a new state of emergency on Sunday, imposing local nighttime curfews and banning travel between regions in some cases.

Authorities in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia are considering a mandatory stay-at-home order for weekends only, one of the strictest measures being imposed across the country to combat a sharp resurgence of the coronavirus.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s former coronavirus hot spot Melbourne will largely emerge from lockdown after the city on Monday recorded its first day without a new COVID-19 case in more than four months. Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said from 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday all shops, restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to open and outdoors contact sports can resume.

India on Monday reported fewer than 46,000 new coronavirus cases, continuing a downward trend, though rising air pollution and the Hindu festival season continue to raise fears of a fresh surge in infections. The country’s health ministry said that 45,148 new cases raised the country’s overall toll to over 7.9 million. The ministry also reported 480 new fatalities, raising the death toll to 119,014.

In the Americas, the race for the U.S. presidency continues amid the global pandemic, with U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence campaigning on Sunday despite a COVID-19 outbreak among his aides. The pandemic, which has caused about 225,000 U.S. deaths and left millions of Americans jobless, remains front and centre in the presidential race.

Trump continues to insist the U.S. is turning the corner as new coronavirus new cases surge across most of the country, with nine days to go before the election. 3:30

Residents in the Texas border city of El Paso have been urged to stay home for two weeks as a spike in coronavirus cases overwhelms hospitals.

Nurses gathered information on Oct. 23 from patients lining up in their cars for COVID-19 tests at the University of Texas El Paso. County health officials on Sunday reported 772 new cases, a day after a record 1,216 new infections were reported. (Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images)

The uptick in virus cases has also prompted the state to dedicate part of the city’s civic centre as a makeshift heath-care centre for the ill. On Sunday night, El Paso County’s top elected official issued a stay-at-home order that imposes a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Violators could be fined $500 US under the order.

Mexican health authorities acknowledge the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is far higher than previously thought, saying there were 193,170 “excess” deaths in the year up to Sept. 26. Of those, 139,153 are now judged to be attributable to COVID-19. Mexico’s official, test-confirmed death toll is only about 89,000, but officials previously acknowledged many people didn’t get tested or their tests were mishandled.

A member of the cleaning team sanitizes the stadium as part of the COVID-19 protocol before the 15th round at Kraken Stadium on Saturday in Mazatlan, Mexico. (Sergio Mejia/Getty Images)

In the Middle East, Qatar has signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy its potential COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is approved and released for global use, state news agency QNA quoted a health official as saying on Sunday. 

Israel will begin human trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by a research institute overseen by the country’s defence ministry on Nov. 1 after receiving regulatory approval, the ministry said on Sunday.

In Africa, South Africa’s health ministry reported 24 additional COVID-19 deaths, bringing the country’s total to 18,968. South Africa has the most recorded coronavirus cases in Africa, with Johns Hopkins putting its cumulative case number at 715,868.

Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email us at COVID@cbc.ca

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Manitoba reported 16 additional deaths on Tuesday, a new daily high in a province that has been struggling with growing COVID-19 case numbers.

“This is a tragedy for all Manitobans,” Dr. Brent Roussin said Tuesday after reading a list with the ages and communities of those who died.

“We know that these are much more than numbers. These are people who are missed right now.”

Manitoba, which has seen a total of 328 deaths, reported 283 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday — the first time in more than a week that the new case number in the province dropped below 300.

Roussin said that while numbers aren’t “climbing rapidly,” they still aren’t where the province needs them to be.

“These numbers are still too high for us to sustain.”

The province’s health-care capacity is “being pushed” he said, noting that hospitals are reaching capacity and health-care workers are overwhelmed.

As of Tuesday, there were 338 people hospitalized, with 48 in intensive care.


What’s happening across Canada

As of 10:20 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 385,191, with 66,371 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,246.

British Columbia also reported 16 additional deaths on Tuesday, bringing the provincial death toll to 457. Health officials in the province reported 656 new cases of COVID-19 and said there were 336 people in hospital, including 76 in intensive care.

Faced with rising case numbers, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix reiterated their plea for people to follow rules put in place to try and slow the spread of the virus.

“Without exception, follow the provincial health officer’s orders in place,” the pair said in a statement. “Remember that events, which refer to anything that gathers people together — whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis — are not allowed for now.”

WATCH | COVID-19 returns to B.C. nursing homes, death toll rises:

British Columbia has seen more COVID-19 deaths over the past two weeks than the preceding two months because the virus has found its way back into nursing homes. And with long-term care workers exhausted and families frustrated, it’s not clear what can be done. 1:54

In Alberta, health officials announced 10 additional deaths and 1,307 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. Hospitalizations stood at 479, with 97 people in intensive care. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said a decision around what sort of restrictions will be in place over the holidays is expected later in the month.

“However, in the past we have seen holiday gatherings lead to increases in cases and outbreaks as one case spreads to many,” Hinshaw said, pointing to the ongoing impact of Thanksgiving gatherings. 

“This is not going to be the year for in-person office parties,” she said. “This is not going to be the year for open houses, or large dinners with friends and extended family.”

In Saskatchewan, health officials reported 181 new cases of COVID-19 and four additional deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 51.

The province’s minister of corrections said she doesn’t know how COVID-19 arrived in the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, which is dealing with a growing outbreak that has led to well over 100 cases among inmates, as well as several infections among staff.

Ontario on Wednesday reported 1,723 new cases of COVID-19, with 500 cases in Peel Region and 410 in Toronto. Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a tweet that 44,200 tests had been completed.

Health officials also reported 35 additional deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 3,698.

Hospitalization data had not yet been updated, but as of Tuesday the province had reported having 645 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 185 people in intensive care units.

Quebec Premier François Legault warned Tuesday that the province’s plan to allow gatherings for four days around Christmas is at risk as the number of hospitalizations in the province reached their highest level since June.

“We’re not going in the right direction,” Legault said at a press conference in Quebec City. “If hospitalizations continue to increase, it will be difficult to take that risk.”

WATCH | What doctors are learning about COVID-19 ‘long-haulers’:

Researchers are learning more about why some people who get a mild case COVID-19 end up experiencing other symptoms for months. Doctors say these so-called known as long-haulers often have symptoms that resemble a common blood circulation disorder known as POTS. 4:10

According to public health authorities in Quebec, 719 people were in hospital due to the novel coronavirus on Tuesday, an increase of 26 from the previous day. Of those, 98 people were in intensive care, an increase of four.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, New Brunswick reported seven cases and Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case. There were no new cases in Prince Edward Island. 

Across the North, there was one new case of COVID-19 reported in Nunavut, which is at the end of a two-week lockdown period that covered the entire territory.

There were no new cases reported in Yukon or the Northwest Territories.


What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 9:55 a.m. ET

WATCH | COVID-19 vaccine rollout — What the experts say:

As of early Wednesday morning, there were nearly 64 million reported cases of COVID-19 worldwide with more than 41.1 million of those listed as recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 1.4 million.

In Europe, British regulators insisted that “no corners have been cut” during the assessment of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, which was cleared for emergency use on Wednesday.

In a briefing after the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency became the first regulator worldwide to approve the vaccine, its chair, Dr. June Raine, said the public can be “absolutely confident” that its standards are equivalent to those anywhere around the world.

Regulators also revealed the order by which the vaccine will be rolled out across the country over the coming weeks and months, beginning next week. The U.K. has ordered around 40 million doses of the vaccine, which can potentially immunize 20 million people as two doses are required.

Residents in nursing homes and their care givers will be offered the vaccine first, followed by those 80 and over and front-line health- and social- care workers. From there, the priority plan largely follows age groups.

According to Munir Pirmohamed, chair of a medicines panel, immunity begins seven days after the second dose.

British lawmakers approved new coronavirus restrictions in England that take effect Wednesday but many Conservative lawmakers are unhappy about the economic consequences.

Russia and Germany both reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths, with 580 deaths reported in Russia and 487 in Germany.

With more than 2.3 million infections, Russia has the fourth-largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world behind the United States, India and Brazil. 

President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian authorities on Wednesday to begin mass voluntary vaccinations against COVID-19 next week as Russia recorded 589 new daily deaths from the coronavirus. Russia will have produced two million vaccine doses within the next few days, Putin said.

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korean officials are urging people to remain at home if possible and cancel gatherings large and small as around half a million students prepared for a crucial national college exam.

Vice Education Minister Park Baeg-beom says the 490,000 applicants so far include 35 virus carriers who will take exams Thursday at hospitals or treatment shelters. Education authorities have also prepared separate venues for some 400 applicants currently under self-quarantine.

Applicants will be required to wear masks and maintain distance from each other. They will be screened for fever and take exams separately if they have symptoms.

Workers clean plastic sheeting placed on a desk in a classroom on Tuesday to prevent the spread of COVID-19, ahead of the college scholastic ability test at a YoungSang high school on Tuesday in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Pakistan reported 75 new COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, one of the highest fatalities from coronavirus in recent months, prompting government to launch a week-long campaign beginning Saturday to urge people to wear masks.

The government, however, has ruled out re-imposing a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus, which has killed 8,166 people and infected 403,311 in Pakistan.

Pakistan flattened the curve in August but currently it is facing a lethal new surge of infections.

In the Americas, U.S. health officials are pleading with Americans to follow their recommendations.

In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis joined the nation’s top infectious disease expert Tuesday and urged people to wear masks and physically distance to help prevent stay-at-home orders and overwhelmed hospitals as cases of the coronavirus surge during the holidays.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, warned during a virtual news conference that Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases and pleaded with people not to travel or gather in large groups.

“If you look across the United States, we are really in a public health crisis right now because we are having a surge the likes of which is worse than the surges that we all saw in the late winter, early spring,” Fauci said.

He noted that “we are likely going to see a surge upon a surge” of cases, based on the number of people who travelled and gathered for Thanksgiving and on those who are expected to shop and attend holiday parties before celebrating Christmas and New Year’s in large groups.

Colorado has been hit with a substantial spike in COVID-19 cases, with one in 41 residents believed to be contagious.

Indigenous people, health workers and those aged 75 years and older will be at the front of the line to be vaccinated, Brazil’s Health Ministry said as it unveiled a four-stage preliminary plan for national immunization.

In Mexico, the government was expected to sign a contract on Wednesday with pharmaceutical company Pfizer for the delivery of its vaccine.

A nurse takes a blood sample from a person to perform a COVID-19 serological test in Escobedo, state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico on Tuesday. (Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images)

In Africa, South Africa’s reported COVID-19 case numbers stood at more than 792,000 on Wednesday. The country, which has seen more reported cases than any other nation in Africa, has seen more than 21,000 deaths.

Iran, the hardest-hit nation in the Middle East, was approaching 990,000 cases of COVID-19 and 49,000 deaths.

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These are the most-stolen vehicles in Canada in 2020 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
While Ford pickup trucks usually top the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s annual ranking of the most-stolen vehicles in Canada, this year high-end SUVs have become the most desirable targets for thieves.

According to the IBC, which works with law enforcement agencies and the Canada Border Services Agency to identify stolen vehicles, the 2018 Honda CR-V SUV is the most stolen vehicle in Canada thus far in 2020.

It was followed by the 2017 Lexus RX350, the 2017 Honda CR-V, and the 2018 Lexus RX350. Rounding out the top five was Ford’s 2018 F150 pickup truck.

Bryan Gast, the national director of investigative services at IBC, said high-end SUVs have surpassed older model Ford pickup trucks as the most targeted vehicles because thieves have developed new ways to get around their security systems and gain access to them.

“As technology advances, these vehicles, especially the SUVs, are really well sought after,” he told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Overseas organized crime groups are targeting these vehicles and they’re finding ways to bypass the security systems.”

For example, Gast said thieves have been able to capture radio signals from a key fob and replicate it in order to gain electronic access to a vehicle.

“There are devices that are able to trigger that device to capture the signal and clone it and start your vehicle without ever touching that original key,” he explained.

And while there are many motives for vehicle theft, Gast said the findings by the IBC show a distinct increase in thefts related to organized crime and street racing.

According to the IBC, many high-end SUVs are stolen by organized crime groups to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in Canada or abroad to be stripped down for parts.

In many of these cases, Gast said the stolen vehicle’s vehicle identification number is changed before it’s sold.

In addition to organized crime operations, the IBC said street racing also led to an increase in certain vehicle thefts.

“There’s a growing trend, especially during the pandemic, in dangerous activities such as street racing and illegal gatherings for drifting events, providing a market for stolen small, speedy vehicles,” the IBC said in a press release.

Gast said these street racing events are “very concerning” to law enforcement, the insurance industry, and for the greater population because they can put public safety at risk.

“These are staged events. They’re very serious. These vehicles are being modified in significant ways,” he said. “Our concern is that there are stolen vehicles, stolen parts contributing to these events.”

THE TOP 10 MOST STOLEN VEHICLES IN CANADA IN 2020

  • 2018 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Lexus RX350/RX450H 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Ford F150 4WD PU
  • 2019 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
  • 2017 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
  • 2019 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD PU

Although high-end SUVs were the most desirable targets for thieves overall, Gast said the IBC did take note of some regional variations across the country.

For example, pickup trucks were still the most popular type of vehicles to steal out West. In Alberta, the IBC said, Ford F-series and Dodge Ram trucks were the most stolen vehicles in the province.

“These trucks are attractive to thieves, and oil and gas companies have used them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province,” the IBC said.

Gast added that pre-2008 models of these pickup trucks are particularly attractive to thieves because they aren’t equipped with ignition immobilizers, which are devices that can prevent people from hot-wiring them.

“This list is different from region to region,” he said. “Those large pickup trucks are still a very hot commodity.”

In Ontario, the IBC found that Lexus and Honda vehicles were stolen most often, with many of them headed for export by organized crime groups or used in street racing rings.

In the police operation “Project Seagull” in Hamilton, for example, the IBC said high-end vehicles were being stolen and chopped for parts that were then sold on the black market.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada, the IBC found the Chevrolet Silverado was the most stolen vehicle in the region.

TIPS TO PREVENT VEHICLE THEFT

While Canadians who own one of the vehicles on the IBC’s annual list should take extra care to protect it from being stolen, Gast said all owners should be aware of the precautions they can take to avoid being the victims of theft.

“I think it’s really important to understand the different ways to protect the consumer,” he said. “Some of those can be as simple as just common sense.”

Here are some tips from the IBC to protect your vehicle.

  • Don’t leave a keyless entry fob inside of a vehicle or unprotected at the front entrance of your home.
  • Put a keyless fob in a protective box or bag that will block the radio frequency identification signal.
  • Never leave a vehicle running while it’s unattended.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
  • Lock all of the doors and windows when it’s parked.
  • Use a visible or audible device to alert thieves that the vehicle is protected.
  • Install a tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station if it’s stolen.
  • If it doesn’t have one already, install an immobilizing device in your vehicle to prevent thieves from hot-wiring it. These can include devices that require wireless ignition authentication or starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
  • Consider using a steering-wheel or brake-pedal lock to ward off would-be thieves.
  • Don’t leave personal information, such as insurance or ownership details, in the glove box when the vehicle is parked.

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The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for Dec. 1 – CBC.ca

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People shop in Milan after the region of Lombardy was downgraded from a red to an orange zone, which have loosened COVID-19 restrictions to allow non-essential shops to open again ahead of Christmas in Italy. (Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters)

Trudeau touts stimulus, but ‘long winter’ looms

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that supports for individual Canadians and businesses will continue to flow into 2021 as things gradually return to normal in the second year of the pandemic, but told CBC’s The Current that there are tough times immediately ahead.

“Even as vaccines begin to arrive, we know that we have to reach a significant percentage of the population before we can start releasing and reducing measures across the country, so it’s going to be a long winter,” he told The Current host Matt Galloway. “We’re going to have to continue to do the things that will keep us safe, but that’s why the economic anxiety that people are feeling is something that we’re there to counter.”

During a news conference outside his residence at Rideau Cottage later in the day, Trudeau called the Liberal government’s recently announced $100 billion stimulus, which represents three to four per cent of GDP, “historic and appropriate.”

“This will be a significant investment to get our economy back on track. And it’s an investment that will make sure no one gets left behind,” he said.

Trudeau touted supports such as rent and wage subsidies, which will continue to “make it a little bit easier.”

Difficult conversations are likely to come next week as Trudeau is set to meet with premiers to discuss health-care transfers and the vaccine rollout. Premiers have been calling for a $28-billion top-up to federal health transfers, but Trudeau was noncommittal on Tuesday as to any specific increases.

Click below to watch more from The National

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks with Rosemary Barton, CBC’s chief political correspondent, about the federal fiscal update and how the government will continue to provide financial support through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. 3:30

IN BRIEF

Manitoba sees its highest single-day death toll

Manitoba released its latest COVID-19 figures on Tuesday, which included 16 new deaths due to the coronavirus, the single-highest total in a daily report during the pandemic.

November was by far the worst month of the pandemic so far in Manitoba, with record numbers of deaths, hospitalizations and new cases. However, the province saw fewer than 300 new cases in a single day for the first time since Nov. 22, at 283.

The death toll announced Tuesday, which brings the total in the province to 328 in total, included casualties from at least six long-term care facilities, with three residents from one care home in Winnipeg.

An earlier outbreak at a Winnipeg facility that claimed the lives of eight people in under 48 hours will not result in a criminal inquiry, police said on Tuesday.

Winnipeg police officers in personal protective suits were seen entering the Maples Long Term Care Home run by Revera on Nov. 7, the day after multiple paramedics were called to the home to assess a dozen patients in a single night.

Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen had previously called an independent investigation into Maples Long Term Care Home and Parkview Place, another Winnipeg care home run by Revera, a for-profit company.

Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba

Ontario school program seeking out asymptomatic cases using PCR tests

Testing of asymptomatic students and staff is occurring at designated schools in Toronto, Peel and York regions and Ottawa — four Ontario regions with a high number of active COVID-19 cases.

The goal of the pilot project is to improve tracking of the coronavirus and prevent transmission within schools, as well as to inform future public health decisions, writes CBC’s Jessica Wong.

A testing blitz in recent days at one Toronto District School Board (TDSB) location in the eastern part of the city saw 14 classes sent home for two weeks. However, the rest of the school will remain open, according to direction from Toronto Public Health.

“What can we do? This is going on everywhere in the world,” said Yaser Nadaf, whose children attend the school. “They try their best, but at the same time they cannot prevent it completely.”

TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said the results weren’t a shock.

“While this information is concerning, it really is the information that our public health officials need to know, because it gives them a better snapshot of how many of those asymptomatic people are positive cases of COVID,” said Bird.

Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, said a targeted program is a useful tool in the fight against the virus, but added that it’s possible there will be more heightened concern for families and schools.

That’s because Ontario is using PCR testing for the program, which detects the genetic material of a virus. Although considered the gold standard in terms of accuracy, the PCR tests are also so sensitive it would “pick up kids who are infectious, as well as kids who were infectious two, four, six weeks ago,” Chagla says.

Read more about the pilot program 

Alberta government tweet reveals that COVID-19 ethnicity data is being collected, though not disseminated

A tweet from Premier Jason Kenney’s issues manager appears to have to put Alberta Health on the defensive over the collection of COVID-19 data based on racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Human rights advocates, anti-racism groups, researchers and social agencies have called for such data to be collected and shared publicly during the pandemic in a number of provinces, including Alberta. But the Opposition took Matt Wolf to task for releasing a snippet of such data in service of what appeared to be a partisan point.

Wolf, Kenney’s aide, tweeted: “Albertans of South & East Asian descent account for just under 20 per cent of COVID-19 cases, but represent only 11 per cent of the population.” Wolf was responding to comments Kenney took some criticism for regarding high caseloads in northeast Calgary, where many immigrants live.

CBC News asked the province last week for specific data after Kenney said on Red FM radio that “we are seeing a very high level of spread in the South Asian community.” Alberta Health provided a written statement saying the information is being collected but is not yet being published, but that the agency “may revisit this in the future when it’s feasible.”

Asked Monday about Wolf’s tweet, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the numbers he cited were “preliminary.”

While Wolf allowed in the same tweet that many factors were likely at play for the high case rates, including type of employment or living in a multigenerational household, Dr. Hakique Virani, a clinical associate professor of public health with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta, said he believes that kind of data should be shared with the public in its entirety.

“We need less confusion and more transparency. And this doesn’t serve either of those purposes,” said Virani.

Read more about the situation in Alberta

Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.

THE SCIENCE

Janssen seeks Health Canada approval for its COVID-19 vaccine

Janssen Inc., a pharmaceutical subsidiary of U.S.-based multinational Johnson & Johnson, has put forward its vaccine for approval in what Health Minister Patty Hajdu called “a promising development for Canadians.”

It means Health Canada will now have four vaccine candidates overall to evaluate as part of a “rolling review process” that allows companies to submit data from clinical trials even as those trials are still underway. The regulator must approve a vaccine as safe and effective before it can be administered to Canadians.

At a technical briefing with reporters last week, Health Canada’s chief medical adviser said approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine in Canada could come within weeks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and The European Medicines Agency have scheduled meetings this month that could lead to authorization, and Canadian officials have promised that decisions on approval won’t lag greatly compared to other Western nations.

Ottawa announced a deal with Janssen on Aug. 31 to secure up to 38 million doses of the vaccine — which requires only one dose to provide immunity instead of the two that would be necessary for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

AND FINALLY…

The home arena of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is seen on Oct. 7. After a number of fits and starts due to the pandemic, the league is on pause until at least Jan. 3. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League postpones games until 2021

The only one of the three Canadian major junior leagues to open play so far in the 2020-21 campaign is shutting down, at least for a few weeks. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League says it will not hold any games until Jan. 3 because of COVID-19 issues.

The 18-team league has been forced to postpone games regularly in Quebec and the Maritimes since starting the season in early October because of COVID-19 restrictions in the four provinces where it operates.

“The current situation with the pandemic in the regions in which we operate makes it extremely difficult to play games,” QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau said in a statement on Monday. “With the holidays just around the corner, the provinces in the Maritimes have restricted access and travel, while red zone restrictions in Quebec do not permit us to play.”

Several teams in Quebec relocated to Quebec City for multiple games because of restrictions earlier in November, while the temporary disruption to the Atlantic Canada travel bubble announced last week also prevented games from being played in the six-team Maritimes Division. In addition, teams from Sherbrooke and Blainville-Boisbriand dealt with virus outbreaks internally.

Elsewhere in Canada, the Western Hockey League has said it plans to start the season in January, while the Ontario Hockey League has targeted a February opener.

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