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COVID-19: British Columbians told to 'stay small, stay local' this Christmas – Vancouver Sun

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Dr. Bonnie Henry is pleading with British Columbians to “stay small and stay local” this holiday week.

During Monday’s COVID-19 update, B.C.’s provincial health officer said social gathering restrictions that have been put in place to slow the surge of positive cases are working and must be adhered to if the province’s case curve is to remain flat.

She advised British Columbians to “continue to use our layers of protection as the holidays approach” and celebrate Christmas only with those living in one’s household. Those who live alone are allowed to interact with the one or two people inside their core bubble.

That means no big dinners, no open houses and no parties.

“If you are in doubt, then err on the side of caution and choose to stay away right now,” Henry said. “This is how we will get into the new year with reduced cases and reduced risk.”

B.C. recorded 1,667 new cases of COVID-19 on the weekend, the province’s lowest weekend caseload in more than a month. The 486 positive tests recorded between Saturday and Sunday was also the lowest one-day total since Nov. 5.

Henry says the numbers show that social gathering restrictions, which are in place until Jan. 8, are working — but the numbers are still too high.

“We are starting to see a levelling of our COVID-19 curve in B.C., and that is good news, but it is a levelling at a very high level, which means that transmission is continuing to happen, particularly in the Lower Mainland, but also the Interior and the north are having quite large transmission events,” she said.

There were 41 additional COVID-19 related deaths on the weekend, which raises B.C’s death toll from the disease to 765.

“The new people who’ve died — most of those cases, again — were people in long-term care,” said Henry.

Another 341 people are being treated in hospital, 80 of whom are in intensive care.

There have been a total of 47,067 positive tests for COVID-19 in the province since the start of the pandemic.

Henry noted that 3,644 British Columbians, mostly health workers, received shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week at two clinics within the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.

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Ontario's COVID test processing dips on Tuesdays, here's why – SooToday

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In its daily updates, Ontario Health provides data on the latest COVID-19 cases, and that includes the testing done by more than 40 labs across the province. 

As recently as May 2020, the province was reporting fewer than 10,000 tests processed in 24 hours, which meant severe delays and a low capacity for testing even for those with symptoms of COVID. 

On Friday, the province reported a record 76,472 tests processed in 24 hours. 

However, even with the capacity to process 60,000 to 70,000 tests in 24 hours, the province’s public health labs are not consistently processing that many test results. 

According to an email from Ontario Health to Village Media, the fluctuation in tests processed is a direct result of how many specimens are sent in. 

“As the volume of specimens collected at assessment centres, long-term care homes, and other specimen collection sites often drops over the weekend, the number of tests processed drops as well,” stated the email from Ontario Health. “We’ll often see a higher number of tests processed than specimens received on a Saturday, for example, as the labs are still processing Friday’s specimens received.” 

Last week’s, Public Health Ontario reported 72,900 tests processed in its report on Saturday, Jan. 9, 62,308 tests processed in its Sunday, Jan. 10 report, 46,402 tests processed in its Jan. 11 report, and 44,802 tests processed in its Jan. 12 report. After that, the number of tests processed each day increased from 50,931 on Jan. 13 to 76,742 on Jan. 15.

“On a Tuesday, we may see a lower number of tests processed than specimens received as the labs are processing Monday’s volumes,” stated the email.  “For context, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 36,000 tests were received and 62,000 were processed.” 

The province also reports the number of tests still under investigation or awaiting processing at a lab. Last week that backlog ranged from 28,774 to 66,940. 

“There are always tests in progress,” stated Ontario Health.

As of Friday, Jan. 15, Public Health Ontario has reported 8,791,388 tests processed during the pandemic.

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Ontario's COVID test processing dips on Tuesdays, here's why – CollingwoodToday

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In its daily updates, Ontario Health provides data on the latest COVID-19 cases, and that includes the testing done by more than 40 labs across the province. 

As recently as May 2020, the province was reporting fewer than 10,000 tests processed in 24 hours, which meant severe delays and a low capacity for testing even for those with symptoms of COVID. 

On Friday, the province reported a record 76,472 tests processed in 24 hours. 

However, even with the capacity to process 60,000 to 70,000 tests in 24 hours, the province’s public health labs are not consistently processing that many test results. 

According to an email from Ontario Health to Village Media, the fluctuation in tests processed is a direct result of how many specimens are sent in. 

“As the volume of specimens collected at assessment centres, long-term care homes, and other specimen collection sites often drops over the weekend, the number of tests processed drops as well,” stated the email from Ontario Health. “We’ll often see a higher number of tests processed than specimens received on a Saturday, for example, as the labs are still processing Friday’s specimens received.” 

Last week’s, Public Health Ontario reported 72,900 tests processed in its report on Saturday, Jan. 9, 62,308 tests processed in its Sunday, Jan. 10 report, 46,402 tests processed in its Jan. 11 report, and 44,802 tests processed in its Jan. 12 report. After that, the number of tests processed each day increased from 50,931 on Jan. 13 to 76,742 on Jan. 15.

“On a Tuesday, we may see a lower number of tests processed than specimens received as the labs are processing Monday’s volumes,” stated the email.  “For context, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 36,000 tests were received and 62,000 were processed.” 

The province also reports the number of tests still under investigation or awaiting processing at a lab. Last week that backlog ranged from 28,774 to 66,940. 

“There are always tests in progress,” stated Ontario Health.

As of Friday, Jan. 15, Public Health Ontario has reported 8,791,388 tests processed during the pandemic.

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Quebec reports 2,225 new COVID-19 cases, 67 deaths as hospitalizations decline – The Record (New Westminster)

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MONTREAL — Quebec is reporting 2,225 new COVID-19 cases and 67 further deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. 

The number of hospitalizations dropped for a second day, this time by 22 for a total of 1,474 patients, with four fewer patients in intensive care for a total of 227.

Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted that all Quebecers need to continue to follow public health rules to ensure cases and hospitalizations go down.

The province’s Health Department reported 2,430 more recoveries, for a total of 210,364.

Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases.

The province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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