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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Oct. 12 – CBC.ca

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Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it has temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant. Here’s a look at COVID-19 news from Canada and around the world.

A health-care worker instructs a man to disinfect his hands outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The latest:

  • Johnson & Johnson pauses COVID-19 vaccine trials due to unexplained illness in participant.
  • Canada Recovery Benefit begins for Canadians who missed work due to pandemic.
  • Officials urge caution over Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Cases show steady growth in most provinces.
  • Ontario’s long-term care homes neglected to focus on hospitals, inquiry hears.
  • Montreal looks to provide temporary housing in hotels as pandemic worsens.
  • New Brunswick updates outdoor mask guidelines for 2 hot spot regions.
  • France considers stricter lockdown measures including in Paris, Lyon.
  • Businesses in England face new restrictions.
  • China to test all 9 million people in one eastern city.
  • EU to enact colour-coded COVID-19 map to ease co-ordination within bloc.
  • Germany’s health minister says he expects vaccine rollout in first quarter of 2021.
  • WHO denounces concept of ‘herd immunity,’ says it’s unethical to pursue as a health strategy.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump tests negative for COVID-19 using rapid test, says his doctor.
  • The Pope’s bodyguards test positive for COVID-19 in Vatican City.

Canadians who have missed work because of COVID-19 can start applying for new financial support from the federal government on Monday.

The new benefit comes into effect as concerns rise about increasing job losses with Ontario and Quebec imposing targeted restrictions on restaurants, bars and fitness centres to slow the spread of COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus.

Applications for the new Canada Recovery Benefit, which will pay $500 per week for up to 26 weeks, can be made through the Canada Revenue Agency.

Applications also opened last week for a new caregiver benefit, after numerous calls since the start of the pandemic for added support for parents and others who are forced to miss work to care for a dependent due to COVID-19.

Women have seen a disproportionate impact on their careers and earnings because of the pandemic because they have largely shouldered the burden of child care and home schooling.

The caregiver benefit applies to people who miss work because of school or daycare closures, and whose children who miss school or daycare because they have contracted the virus or may have been exposed.

Manager Amanda Godinho watches the news on a television while working at Door Fifty Five bar and restaurant during the pandemic in the Port Credit neighbourhood of Mississauga, Ont., on Friday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

It also applies to people forced to miss work to care for family members who need specialized care that is unavailable to them due to COVID-19.

The federal government anticipates 700,000 Canadians will apply for the caregiver benefit.

The government has also created a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks to people who can’t work because they contracted COVID-19 or must self-isolate because of the virus.

The multibillion-dollar suite of new benefits are taking effect following an acrimonious political battle in Parliament that ultimately saw all parties vote in favour of them but not before the airing of widespread concern that the Liberal government was rushing them through.

WATCH | What should Canadians be worried about with rising COVID-19 cases?

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch discusses what he’s worried about with Canada’s recent increase in COVID-19 cases and what is being done right. 1:32

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic washes over the country, Canadians from coast to coast are being asked to limit the size of their Thanksgiving gatherings or keep them entirely virtual.

Canada’s chief public health officer said last week’s troubling surge in infections means that some guests may be missing from the Thanksgiving table.

But Dr. Theresa Tam said the best way for Canadians to show their gratitude this long holiday weekend is to keep each other safe by staying away from anyone outside their immediate circle.

WATCH | Your COVID-19-related Thanksgiving questions answered:

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch answers your questions about celebrating Thanksgiving during a pandemic. 5:45

“What is usually a special tradition for many Canadians will serve as a hard reminder of how much we are sacrificing to protect ourselves, those we love and our communities,” Tam said in a statement Sunday.

“As difficult as it may be, we need to continue on the right path and recommit, for ourselves and our loved ones, to follow the public health practices that helped us flatten the curve in the spring.”

WATCH | Celebrating Thanksgiving amid new COVID-19 restrictions:

Torontonians had to figure out how to celebrate Thanksgiving with a new batch of COVID-19 restrictions, while many restaurant owners fear the second shutdown could finish them off now that indoor dining is off the table for a month. 2:03

What’s happening across Canada

As of 6:40 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had 182,839 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 154,258 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,627.

WATCH | How different parts of Canada are managing upticks in coronavirus cases:

Doctors address the different ways the provinces and territories are managing an uptick in COVID-19 cases and what the regions can learn from one another. 4:27

In the so-called Atlantic bubble, New Brunswick was the only COVID-19 hot spot this weekend. The province is dealing with two outbreaks, one in the Moncton area and the other in Campbellton. 

New Brunswick reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, linked to the Moncton and Campbellton regions. 

There are now 76 active coronavirus cases in the province. Five people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care.

On Monday, the province clarified when and where people in the Moncton and Campbellton communities will need to wear face masks if they are outdoors.

That new provision was initially announced on Friday as New Brunswick moved both of those areas back to the “orange” recovery phase that imposes limits on gathering sizes and which businesses can remain open.

An updated version of New Brunswick’s emergency declaration order issued on Monday outlines that masks are mandatory outside in those regions when people gather on the street, in parks and on walking trails. Private gatherings in backyards of single-family homes do not require masks. 

Newfoundland and Labrador has nine active cases but had no new cases on Sunday. The province reported one new case of COVID-19 on Monday and it’s travel related. 

Prince Edward Island‘s chief public health officer announced two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and three active cases overall.

Nova Scotia had no new cases Monday and four active cases, including one in the ICU. The most recent cases were announce Saturday and were related to travel outside of Canada, health officials said. 

A spokesperson with Nova Scotia Public Health confirmed that those cases are related to a possible exposure to COVID-19 on a flight from Toronto to Halifax last week. 

In Quebec, the province reported 843 new cases on Monday and four new deaths. There are 457 people in hospital, including 75 in ICUs.

Now, most residents in southern Quebec live in a red zone meaning they are under stricter health measures. 

A Montreal high school will close for two weeks after multiple members of the school community tested positive for COVID-19. Loyola High School announced one student tested positive on Oct. 9, the email said. 

Since then, the school said it was told more members of the school community also tested positive, although it did not say how many. 

WATCH | What does it mean to live in a ‘red zone’ in Quebec?: 

Most Quebecers are now living inside a red zone. But just what does that mean? 4:01

Montreal will also provide temporary housing in hotels as the pandemic has led to strain on the city’s homeless shelters. 

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says she’s working with federal and provincial governments to temporarily house people who are homeless in mostly vacant hotels. Advocates say the main goals should be permanent housing, especially as temperatures drop and Quebec continues to see increased numbers of COVID-19 infections. 

Ontario reported 649 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, with one more death and four new hospitalizations. There are 217 people in hospital with the virus. Fifty-one are in ICUs, and 32 of those are on ventilators. Ontario will not be releasing new numbers Monday because of the holiday.

On Sunday, an outbreak was declared at a residence on the Western University campus in London, Ont., by the region’s public health unit. Four students at London Hall have tested positive and they have been moved out of residence to quarantine, the school said in a statement.

Close contacts of the positive cases have also been placed into quarantine out of “an abundance of caution, the school said. London’s public health unit, the Middlesex London Health Unit, warned all university students not to travel to provincial hot spot locations like Ottawa and the GTA. But the notice may have come too late as the Thanksgiving weekend was already underway. 

Separately, an inquiry into how the coronavirus ravaged Ontario’s long-term care homes this year heard from doctors that say the facilities were not prepared for the virus. Instead, hospitals were prioritized by the province.

Doctors from the non-profit Ontario Long-Term Care Clinicians organization testified before the inquiry at the end of September and said that care homes lacked PPE which were being sent to hospitals. The inquiry is not public but transcripts of the testimony are being posted online days later.   

There was also a lack of guidance for physicians attending to homes and residents who were positive remained in the facilities when they should have been able to go to a hospital, the inquiry heard. 

Manitoba reported 77 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. The province also reported two new deaths — a man in his 40s and a woman who was older than 100. Both lived in Winnipeg. 

WATCH | COVID-19 cases a concern in remote Manitoba First Nations:

Manitoba has seen higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks and though most of the cases are around Winnipeg, there is also concern about remote First Nations communities that lack critical resources. 1:54

Saskatchewan reported its largest single-day increase in new cases since late July on Monday, with 48 new infections.

Of the province’s 2,140 total reported cases, 215 are considered active. A total of 1,900 people have recovered. Twenty-five people have died. 

The province said public health investigations have linked 12 of Sunday’s new cases to the Gospel Outreach outbreak in Prince Albert, and the majority of the new Regina cases appear to be from the same apartment complex.

Alberta reported 277 new cases on Friday and one new death. That brings the province to a total of 2,225 active cases, up 128 from the previous day. At the peak in late April, there were nearly 3,000 active cases in the province.

The biggest active outbreak in Alberta is currently at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary where 11 people have died and 86 have tested positive for COVID-19. 

British Columbia reported 119 new cases Friday. There were 1,406 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

WATCH | 2 remote towns along Alaska-B.C. border fight for their own bubble:

Two picturesque towns intricately linked along the Canada-U.S. border are fighting for the right to become their own travel bubble. 4:45

In the territories, Yukon has a new probable case of COVID-19, the territory’s chief medical officer of health announced on Saturday.

Hundreds of Australian citizens are also stuck in Canada. Australia’s pandemic restrictions only allow a few hundred people to fly in per week to avoid overbooking hotels that are being used for a mandatory quarantine for those who enter. 

Around 38,200 Australians are currently stuck abroad and 640 of them are in Canada. Several Australian citizens told CBC News that their visas are about to expire and they are having no luck finding flights.

WATCH | Many school meal programs have shut down due to the pandemic:

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many school meal programs across Canada to shut down, resulting in more than two million kids going to school on an empty stomach, according to the Breakfast Club of Canada. 2:14


What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 37.5 million. More than one million people have died, while more than 26.1 million have recovered.

The World Health Organization on Monday warned that the concept of “herd immunity” is not a realistic strategy and proposals to pursue it are “unethical.”

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing that health officials typically aim to achieve herd immunity — where the entire population is protected from a virus when the majority are immune — by vaccination.

However, a large number of people would have to be vaccinated. He gave the example of measles, where about 95 per cent of the population must be vaccinated for herd immunity to be a possibility. 

“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” he said.

“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak,” he said, calling the strategy “scientifically and ethically problematic.”

Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pictured at a news conference in February, 2020. He said Monday pursuing “herd immunity” is not a realistic public health strategy. (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

Vaccine trial halted

Johnson & Johnson said on Monday it has temporarily paused its COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trials due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.

The participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by an independent data and safety monitoring board as well as the company’s clinical and safety physicians, it said in a statement.

Johnson & Johnson declined to elaborate about the illness due to privacy concerns. It did say that some participants in studies get placebos, and it was not always clear whether a person suffering a serious adverse event in a clinical trial received a placebo or the treatment.

Last month, a Phase 3 clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca was put on hold after a participant exhibited a “potentially unexplained illness.”

While trials in the U.K., Brazil, South Africa and India have resumed, the U.S. trial is still on hold pending a regulatory review.

European Union countries are getting ready to adopt a common “traffic light” system to co-ordinate travel across the 27-nation bloc amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

To ensure that member states do not close their borders to one another and avoid a repeat of the cacophony witnessed in March when the virus first struck, the EU commission came up with proposals that have been amended before their scheduled approval by EU nations on Tuesday. 

The key measure is a common map of infections drawn up by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. It will sort European regions into green, orange and red zones according to the severity of coronavirus outbreaks.

Under the latest proposal, red zones should be areas where the total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is more than 50 per 100,000 people during a 14-day period and the percentage of positive tests reaches at least four per cent. 

Regions with a lower positive rate but where the total number of cases is more than 150 per 100,000 will also be classified red. 

In light of the very high level of infections across the continent now, most of the bloc should be classified as red or orange.

People walk past a closed bar in downtown Brussels on Thursday. Bars in Brussels were forced to close as of Thursday for at least a month to deal with a massive surge in COVID-19 cases. (Francisco Seco/The Associated Press)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday imposed a tiered system of further restrictions on parts of England, as the COVID-19 outbreak accelerates, though anger is rising at the cost of the curtailment of freedoms.

Johnson’s three-tiered system, announced in Parliament, is an attempt to standardize a patchwork of often complicated and confusing restrictions imposed across England.

The lockdowns will include shutting pubs and bars in areas placed into the “very high” alert level. Currently, only Liverpool has been placed in that zone as it’s the epicentre of the virus in the country.

The U.K. has experienced Europe’s deadliest outbreak, with an official death toll of 42,875. Health officials say Britain is at a tipping point in the outbreak, with strong action needed to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Four Swiss Guards have tested positive for coronavirus and were showing symptoms, the Vatican said Monday, as the surge in infections in surrounding Italy penetrates the Vatican walls.

The Swiss Guards, the world’s oldest standing army, provide ceremonial guard duty during papal Masses, man the Vatican gates and help protect the 83-year-old Pope Francis.

The four are in isolation while their contacts are being traced, the Vatican said Monday. They join three other Vatican residents who tested positive in recent weeks plus the dozen or so Holy See officials who tested positive during the first wave of the outbreak.

Despite the positive cases among his own guards, Francis on Monday was seen once again without a mask. He warmly greeted Cardinal George Pell in his private studio, and neither man wore a mask. Also unmasked were Pell’s secretary and the Vatican photographer.

WATCH | Trump claims COVID-19 immunity, falls behind in polls:

U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed he now has immunity to COVID-19 before he heads for a series of swing-state rallies as polls put him behind Joe Biden with just over three weeks before election day. 2:03

Scientific advisers to Italy‘s government have modified Italy’s coronavirus quarantine rules, reducing to 10 days the 14-day minimum quarantine for people who test positive or have come into contact with someone who tested positive.

The shift, which follows reductions taken by other European countries, was an acknowledgement of the impracticability of asking tens of thousands of people to remain isolated for two weeks as a precaution, even as infections are rising sharply. In addition, in a bid to reduce pressure on Italy’s overwhelmed laboratories, the advisers also decided that only one negative test is required to get out of quarantine, rather than two.

The scientific committee issued revised guidelines late Sunday as Italy is seeing a surge in new infections, averaging more than 5,000 a day. 

A man holds a fake skeleton bearing a protective mask reading ‘I did not die of Coronavirus but of hunger’ as protesters gathered in Rome on Saturday. (Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)

China‘s government says all nine million people in the eastern city of Qingdao will be tested for the coronavirus this week after nine cases linked to a hospital were found.

The announcement Monday broke a string of weeks without any locally transmitted infections reported in China.

The National Health Commission said authorities were investigating the source of the infections found in eight patients at Qingdao’s Municipal Chest Hospital and one family member. The commission said the whole city will be tested within five days.

The last reported virus transmissions within China were four patients found on Aug. 15 in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the far western Xinjiang region. All the cases reported since then were in travellers from outside the mainland.

A health worker takes a swab from a resident to be tested for the novel coronavirus in Qingdao, China, on Monday. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

India has reported 66,732 new coronavirus cases, driving the country’s overall tally to more than 7.1 million.

The Health Ministry on Monday also reported 816 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities to 109,150.

India is second in the world in number of infections, behind only the United States, which has reported more than 7.7 million cases.

A health worker arrives to collect swab samples from residents during a coronavirus screening at a civic clinic in Dharavi slums in Mumbai on Monday. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

In France, Prime Minister Jean Castex refused to rule out more lockdowns after health authorities reported another 43,000 cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. 

The country currently has nine cities under the maximum virus alert level including Paris, Marseille and Lyon. Officials have warned France is likely experiencing a “second wave” of coronavirus and hospitals are becoming crowded.

France’s maximum alert level takes effect when a region’s infection rate exceeds 250 cases per 100,000 people and at least 30 per cent of its intensive care beds are reserved for COVID-19 patients.

To avoid a national lockdown, Castex told residents on broadcaster France Info that home gatherings need to be limited. 

In the U.S., President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19, according to his doctor Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley in a statement released Monday.

He tested negative on consecutive days using a newer rapid test from Abbott laboratories. The assessment from Conley comes as Trump is traveling to Sanford, Fla., to headline his first campaign rally since he tested positive for COVID-19 on Oct 2.

Conley says in a memo released to the public that Trump is no longer at risk to spread the virus to others, but was not specific on which days Trump tested negative. 

The rapid tests provide a result within 15 minutes and don’t require specialized computer equipment to be processed. However, rapid tests like Abbott’s are generally less accurate than lab-developed tests. The U.S Food and Drug Administration has said negative rapid tests need to be backed up by a lab test in some cases. 

Officials in Nashville, Tenn., are investigating a worship event that occurred outside of a courthouse on Sunday featuring a large crowd where most were not wearing masks or social distancing.

The Nashville Health Department says that the organizer will face penalties and that they didn’t apply for a permit application to hold the gathering. 

Tennessee has been reporting an increased number of new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Event leader Sean Feucht posted videos of the gathering on social media, calling it a protest against coronavirus health restrictions. Feucht has been linked with multiple similar gatherings in other states like California. 

WATCH | Residents in Arizona react to Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis: 

Arizona voters react to news Donald Trump has tested positive for the coronavirus weeks before the U.S. presidential election. 2:33

 Italy’s number of new COVID-19 cases fell below 5,000 on Monday. However, this daily decrease could be a result of reduced testing. 

The country has been hovering around 5,000 new cases a day, prompting the government to consider more restrictions after making masks mandatory outdoors last week.

The Vatican has reported that four Swiss Guards have tested positive for COVID-19. Vatican City is enmeshed within Italy which is battling a surge in new infections. 

The four are all symptomatic and are in isolation while their contacts are being traced, the Vatican said Monday. 

Three other Vatican residents have tested positive in the last few weeks. Pope Francis, 83, has continued to be spotted without wearing a mask, despite his bodyguards becoming infected. 

Last week, he held an audience indoors, mask-less, which drew ire on social media. 

In Berlin, Germany’s health minister says he anticipates a vaccine for COVID-19 will be ready to be administered to citizens in the first quarter of 2021.

“As things stand today, Oct. 12, I assume that we’ll be able to begin in the first quarter of next year,” Jens Spahn said during a video conference with the Ifo Institute research think-tank.

Last month, Spahn and Research Minister Anja Karliczek said they hope to vaccinate Germans who are most at risk early next year. He said Monday that determination is on track.

Vaccinations would be voluntary and be first available for the elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions and individuals who work in health-care settings and nursing homes. 

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Trudeau announces $214M for Canadian coronavirus vaccine research – Global News

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The federal government says it’s spending $214 million to support “made in Canada” coronavirus vaccine research.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that $173 million would go to Quebec-based Medicago, while Vancouver’s Precision NanoSystems would receive $18.2 million for development and testing.

“This is about securing potential vaccines for Canadians while supporting good jobs in research,” he told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa.

Read more:
Coronavirus — Canada adds 2,787 new cases, breaking previous day’s record

The deal with Medicago includes up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate, as well as funds to set up a production facility in Quebec City.

A further $23 million will go toward the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program.

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To date, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion to secure doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus. Deals have been struck with half a dozen pharmaceutical giants, and Canada is also part of an international vaccine alliance through COVAX.


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Coronavirus: Ford calls for more funding from Ottawa to assist in long-term care improvements


Coronavirus: Ford calls for more funding from Ottawa to assist in long-term care improvements

“Canada has an excellent portfolio of vaccine potential, but we also know, nobody’s got that vaccine yet,” Trudeau said.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Trudeau said the “reasonable expectation” is that vaccines could arrive sometime in the new year, but initially there will be smaller amounts available and the shots would be going to priority groups first.

Read more:
When the COVID-19 vaccine is ready, will you get it? We want to hear from you

“I think of our most vulnerable or our frontline workers, and we have experts busy evaluating exactly how and where and in which way to distribute these vaccines,” he said, adding that Ottawa would be working with the provinces and territories on the distribution.

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He stressed that no vaccine would be available until Health Canada officials are certain the immunization is safe.

Trudeau’s announcement came after Canada posted a record increase in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with nearly 2,800 people newly diagnosed with the illness.

“We have to get these numbers down,” Trudeau said. “This is serious and everybody must do their part.”


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Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 cases


Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 cases

In response to a Radio-Canada report that found Canada could be months behind countries such as the United States on receiving COVID-19 vaccines, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that the government was “strategically positioning” Canadians to have access.

“With agreements in place for seven leading vaccine candidates, for one of the most diverse COVID-19 vaccine candidate portfolios in the world, Canada is very well placed,” read a statement from Anand.

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Anand’s statement also said that anticipated delivery dates start as early as the first quarter of 2021, but are dependent on the results of the clinical trials, as well as on Health Canada approval.

“However, let me be clear, we are being very aggressive in our negotiations regarding delivery dates, with the ultimate priority of making sure that Canadians have access to safe, proven and effective COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are ready.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Ontario reports record 978 new COVID-19 cases

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Ontario reported 978 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the most on a single day since the outbreak began in late January.

Saturday’s count surpasses the previous high of 939, which was reported on Oct. 9.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the majority of the new cases are concentrated in Toronto, which once again led the way with 348. Another 170 cases were reported in Peel Region, followed by 141 in York Region and 89 in Ottawa.

A handful of other areas saw double-digit increases as well:

  • Durham Region: 51.
  • Eastern Ontario: 43.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 23.
  • Halton Region: 21.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 15.
  • Waterloo Region: 14.
  • Hamilton: 10.
  • Niagara Region: 10.

The number of patients hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19 now sits at 294, an increase of 18 since Friday.

There are 82 people in intensive care units, an increase of four, and 53 people are on ventilators, an increase of six.

The province’s seven-day average of new daily cases has also broken a new record. As of Saturday, it sits at 803 — higher than any other day so far this year.

Ontario’s cumulative total of cases now sits at 69,331. Some 625 cases were marked as resolved in Saturday’s update.

Six more people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario. The provincial death toll now stands at 3,086.

 

 

Ontario reported 978 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the most reported in the province in a single day. Quebec reported more than 1,000 cases for the fifth time in seven days. 3:13

Nearly 44,200 tests completed

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of community, commercial and hospital labs processed 44,151 novel coronavirus test samples since its last daily report.

While that figure marks the highest number of daily tests completed so far this week, it still falls short of Ontario’s goal of processing 50,000 tests per day by mid-October. The province also set a goal of processing 68,000 tests by mid-November.

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious diseases specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., attributes that shortfall to Ontario’s tightened testing criteria and move to appointment-only testing.

 

 

“This has caused a bit of problems because we’re getting people to make appointments, but there are some double bookings happening, people not showing up,” he told CBC News Network on Saturday.

“This has put a little bit of a wrench in plans.”

But Chakrabarti said despite those issues, he hopes testing will ramp up in the coming weeks.

“It’s important for us to have the right testing at the right time and not just the big numbers. Otherwise you start to get a picture that does not actually represent what’s happening on the ground,” he said.

Halton mayors ask to stay in Stage 3 

Meanwhile, two mayors and MPPs from Halton Region wrote a letter to Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, on Friday, pleading with him to refrain from imposing Stage 2 restrictions on the area.

“Last week when York Region faced new restrictions, Halton Region came together. We acted quickly to implement several recommendations made by our Medical Officer of Health,” the letter reads.

“These measures are working.”

The letter — signed by MPPs Parm Gill and Jane McKenna, as well as Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz — also noted that the region’s positivity rate has not moved past public health’s “high alert” range of 2.5 per cent.

 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, shown earlier this month, hinted on Friday that Halton Region could soon join the list of regions with stricter COVID-19 measures. He said provincial officials will examine the situation there over the weekend to decide whether the area needs to be moved back into a modified Stage 2. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

 

“In these unprecedented times, individuals and businesses need to have some level of predictability and stability. This is why we are also calling on you to clearly define the criteria used to determine when further restrictions or rollbacks are required, as well as the criteria that must be met for lifting any restrictions or rollbacks,” the letter reads.

The plea comes after Premier Doug Ford hinted on Friday that Halton could soon join the list of regions with stricter COVID-19 measures.

Ford said provincial officials will examine the situation there over the weekend to decide whether the area needs to be moved back into a modified Stage 2.

The restrictions mean restaurants can only offer outdoor service, and gyms and theatres must close.

“It’s concerning right now, I’ve seen the numbers go up again,” Ford said on Friday.

Asked if a similar move would be considered for Durham Region, where new cases are also increasing, Ford said the province will look at every area that’s experiencing “a little escalation” and provide clarity on Monday.

Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa moved to a modified Stage 2 — which includes the closure of gyms, movie theatres and casinos, and a ban on indoor dining in restaurants or bars — on Oct. 10, while York Region did so this week.

The tighter rules are set to be reviewed after 28 days, and Ford said he would make decisions on any steps beyond that based on the advice of the provincial health team.

Horwath calls for expansion of contact tracing

In a statement on Saturday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath blamed Ontario’s high case count on Ford’s “refusal to invest in stopping the growth of the second wave.”

Horwath said the province is sitting on more than $9 billion in pandemic support funding, more than $7 billion of which she said came from the federal government.

“Mr. Ford doesn’t want to spend the money. And cases are skyrocketing as a result,” she said in the statement

Horwath is calling for a “massive” expansion of testing and contact tracing in “every community” across the province.

She also wants to see enhanced protections in the long-term care sector, as well as a 15-student class cap in schools.

“People can’t afford to have Mr. Ford delay another day,” Horwath said.

10 patients, 4 staff infected at CAMH

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) said on Saturday that 10 patients and four staff members so far have tested positive for COVID-19 due to an outbreak at its Queen Street site.

The news of the most recent confirmed cases comes after the hospital first reported an outbreak last weekend.

“We continue to remain vigilant about policies and procedures to keep staff and patients safe and we are working with our partners at Toronto Public Health on reporting, surveillance, and infection control,” CAMH wrote in a statement on Saturday.

CAMH is not the only hospital that has reported outbreaks in Toronto over the last week. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre reported an outbreak in the facility’s surgical unit on Friday and St. Joseph’s Health Centre, along with Toronto Western Hospital, reported outbreaks last weekend.

Thermal blankets draw patio-goers

Some restaurants are looking for creative ways to keep dining available outside as COVID-19 hot spots in Ontario have reverted back to a modified stage two.

With indoor dining closed, restaurants in the Danforth neighbourhood in Toronto are part of a new initiative with the Broadview-Danforth BIA to entice customers to visit outdoor patios, despite chillier weather.

 

Patio-goers wrap themselves in thermal blankets provided for free by the Broadview-Danforth’s BIA in an effort to encourage residents to dine outdoors. (CBC News/ Robert Krbavac )

 

Beginning on Saturday, those who dine out on outdoor patios in the neighbourhood will receive a free thermal blanket and a $5 gift card to use at any BIA business in the area.

Some residents participated in the initiative on Saturday, wrapping themselves in the blankets to stay warm during the crisp, late October weather.

Source: – CBC.ca

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – Yorkton This Week

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

8:15 p.m.

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Yukon says it has three new cases of COVID-19 with all the infections in Watson Lake.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says this is the fourth incidence of infection in a rural community.

The cases bring the territory’s total number of infections to 20 people.

7:15 p.m.

B.C. is reporting 223 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, tipping the number of active infections over 2,000.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says in a statement contact tracing teams throughout B.C. are working around the clock.

But she says their success depends on everyone doing their part and taking a step back from social interactions.

There have been two new community outbreaks, one at a hot tub and spa manufacturing company and one at a food processing business in Langley.

Seventy-five people are in hospital, including 24 in intensive care, but no one else has died from the illness since the province’s last update.

2 p.m.

Quebec’s deputy premier has a dire warning for those living in the provincial capital and the neighbouring Chaudiere-Appalaches region amid a rising number of cases of COVID-19.

Genevieve Guilbault says people haven’t been following public health guidelines, resulting in a spike of cases in the two regions that could threaten the ability to provide medical treatment if it’s not brought under control.

Both regions were largely spared during the first wave, but Guilbault says in Chaudiere-Appalaches, there have been four times more cases and five times more deaths this time.

The Quebec City region holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of active cases per 100,000 population in the province.

Guilbault was joined by the mayors of Levis and Quebec City, urging the population to limit their contacts and follow public health guidelines.

1:50 p.m.

A man in his 80s is the latest death linked to the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in a Manitoba care home.

There has been a total of 15 deaths at the Parkview Place care home in Winnipeg.

There were 163 new infections Friday, the vast majority in the capital city.

Winnipeg went weeks without any new infections over the summer, but case numbers have risen rapidly in the last two months.

A total of 33 cases have now also been connected to a poultry plant in Blumenort, southeast of Winnipeg, and the company says one employee has died.

Quebec-based company Exceldor, which owns the plant, says an investigation is ongoing to see whether the death of the 42-year-old man is related to his COVID-19 infection.

1:15 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7484 from Toronto to Deer Lake on Oct. 12 to call 811 to arrange for a test.

Health officials say the request for testing is being made out of an abundance of caution.

The request stems from a new case of COVID-19 announced Thursday affecting a man between 20 and 39 years old who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

On Thursday, officials said the man was self-isolating and contact tracing was still underway.

1:05 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting two new cases of COVID-19.

Both are in the Campbellton region, which is one of two areas in the province that were hit by significant outbreaks of novel coronavirus two weeks ago.

Health officials say the two new cases involve a person 40 to 49 years old and a person between 70 and 79 — both are self-isolating.

There are currently 75 active cases in a province that has confirmed 324 overall cases, while 245 people have recovered and four people have died.

11:50 a.m.

Canada saw a record high number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed yesterday, with 2,788 new illnesses recorded.

In an Ottawa news conference, Canada’s chief public health officer is calling, again, for Canadians to reduce their contacts with other people, wear masks and follow hygiene protocols.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the longer we wait to curb the spread of COVID-19, the harder it will be to contain.

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11:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is spending $214 million to produce potential COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

That includes a deal with Quebec’s Medicago and one with British Columbia’s Precision NanoSystems, both of which are working on potential vaccines.

Trudeau says the Medicago agreement includes the rights to buy up to 76 million doses of its vaccine, if it proves safe and effective, and funding for a factory in Quebec City to produce them.

The prime minister also says Canada has received “hundreds of thousands” of test kits from medical company Abbott to be distributed to the provinces and territories.

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11:20 a.m.

Two more vaccine makers have asked Health Canada to study their product before it has completed clinical trials.

Both Moderna and Pfizer applied to Health Canada on Oct. 12 to have their vaccine candidates studied by the regulator.

Health Canada is trying to review the vaccines at the same time they are undergoing final clinical tests so they can be approved for use here as quickly as possible.

AstraZeneca applied for its vaccine candidate on Oct. 1.

All three vaccine candidates are among the ones Canada will get access to if they are deemed safe and effective.

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11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 905 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Authorities said today four COVID-related deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations dropped by 13 compared with the prior day, for a total of 540.

The province has reported a total of 98,226 COVID-19 infections and 6,106 deaths linked to the virus.

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11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 826 new cases of COVID-19 today, and nine new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 292 cases are in Toronto, 186 in Peel Region, 87 in Ottawa, and 72 in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 40,019 tests since the last daily report, with another 35,436 being processed.

In total, 276 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

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