Canada’s COVID-19 hot spots reported minor declines in daily infections on Sunday, but health officials urged people to remain cautious as the country rapidly approaches the 300,000-case mark and overall trends remain worrisome.
The national case count stood just shy of 296,000 after daily tallies in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec declined from Saturday’s record-setting levels.
Alberta reported 991 new cases of COVID-19 and six deaths, while Ontario reported 1,248 new cases and 29 deaths. Health authorities in Quebec, meanwhile, logged 1,211 new cases and 15 additional deaths.
Those figures declined from 1,026, 1,585 and 1,448 cases, respectively, a day earlier.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said the slight decline was “encouraging,” but said ongoing vigilance around public health protocols will be critical if residents want to contain the spread of the virus.
“I think it’s encouraging to see that we can have a good day, but it’s going to take several good days,” Dube told reporters during a Sunday morning news conference in Montreal.
“I’m going to let the next days bring us more good news, but in the meantime, we need to continue to follow safety measures,” he said.
The virulence of the novel coronavirus was dramatically demonstrated in Nunavut over the weekend, where territory-wide case counts more than doubled over the past 48 hours.
The 10 new cases reported on Sunday, all linked to an outbreak in the community of Arviat, took the overall total to 18. Arviat’s first positive diagnosis was only confirmed on Friday.
“Due to the number of cases of COVID-19 in Arviat, anyone … who left the community on or after Nov. 2 is being asked to immediately isolate for 14 days wherever they are,” territorial Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said in a statement.
Canada’s top doctor also urged residents not to let their guard down in indoor settings as winter approaches.
Dr. Theresa Tam has exhorted Canadians to be more proactive in their efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed in the weeks ahead.
Despite the modest decline in several infection hot spots, numbers continued to soar in much of the country.
In Manitoba, new COVID-19 cases surged to 494 on Sunday compared to 237 the day before. The province reported 10 new deaths, seven of which were linked to an outbreak at a Winnipeg care home where dozens of residents have died.
Shortly after the province reported the spike in infections, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen criticized Manitobans who attended a rally on Saturday to protest against mandatory masks and other lockdown measures.
The event in Steinbach, Man., about 60 kilometres south of Winnipeg, was “incredibly unfortunate, dangerous and wrong,” Cullen said in a statement.
He urged residents to follow public health guidelines and warned that law enforcement officers would ticket anyone found breaking the rules.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan reported 181 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths on Sunday. The numbers bring the provincial total to 31 deaths since the pandemic began.
Premier Scott Moe said Sunday that more measures could be coming to fight COVID-19 in the province in addition to those already slated to take effect this week.
Effective Monday and for the next 28 days, masks will be mandatory in indoor public spaces in any community with more than 5,000 residents. Restaurants and bars must also stop selling alcohol by 10 p.m. and make sure everyone has finished their drinks by 11.
After the new measures were announced on Friday, hundreds of doctors who signed a letter earlier in the week urging stronger action penned a new missive saying the new rules don’t go far enough.
In Atlantic Canada, two new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Nova Scotia on Sunday, and three new infections were reported in New Brunswick.
Newfoundland and Labrador also recorded two new cases, including an overseas contract worker for the province’s Crown-owned energy corporation.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 15, 2020.
-with files from Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton and Shawn Jeffords in Toronto.
Ontario records 1746 new COVID-19 cases today amid drop in testing – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario surpassed 1,700 once again today amid a significant drop in testing over the past 24 hours.
Ontario health officials reported 1,746 new infections today, up slightly from the 1,708 confirmed one day prior but down from the record 1,855 recorded on Friday.
The new cases come as the province reports a notable drop in testing today.
After surpassing 50,000 tests per day for three consecutive days, only 39,406 tests were completed yesterday.
According to provincial health officials, the test positivity rate provincewide is now 4.6 per cent, up substantially from 3.7 per cent on Sunday but on par with the positivity rate at this point last week.
The rolling seven-day average of new cases is now 1,570, up from 1,429 one week ago.
“These trends of course remain concerning. The fact that we have had record high numbers on Friday and continued high numbers over the weekend and today is troubling,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference on Monday afternoon.
“The question is will we be able to keep it there and come down or will we plateau and start going up again?”
COVID-related hospitalizations also climbed to 618 today, up from 601 on Sunday, with 168 of those patients now in intensive care.
A count of local public health units and individual hospitals puts the number of hospitalizations at 631.
Eight more virus-related deaths were recorded today, down from 24 on Sunday and the lowest single-day death toll since Nov. 20.
Two of the fatalities confirmed over the past 24 hours involve residents of long-term care facilities, the latest data from the province reveals.
Of the new infections today, 622 are in Toronto, 390 are in Peel, and 217 are in York Region.
Toronto’s total today is the highest single-day tally recorded in the city since the start of the pandemic.
Another 108 new cases were reported in Durham Region today, up from 73 one day prior.
GTA public health units account for nearly 80 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases in the province and today marks one week since Toronto and Peel Region entered a 28-day lockdown.
During the lockdown, restaurants can only remain open for takeout and delivery and non-essential retailers are only permitted to offer curbside pickup and delivery.
Gyms, casinos, and movie theatres have also been closed.
Residents are being advised to only gather with members of their household and only go out for essential purposes.
Tougher public health measures were introduced in five more Ontario regions today, including Windsor-Essex, which was placed in the province’s “red” zone.
Task force working on plan for vaccine rollout
Last week, the province released details of its COVID-19 vaccine task force, which will be responsible for the distribution of vaccines when they are approved and arrive in Canada.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott previously said she expects Ontario to receive a total of 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the first three months of 2021.
Recipients of the vaccine will require two doses 28 days apart, which means the first shipment Ontario receives will likely only be enough to inoculate 1.2 million residents.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that he expects most Canadians who want to be vaccinated will be able to do so by September 2021.
“I really think that if we have these vaccines landing on Canadian soil some time in very early 2021, like if it is the month of January, even in early February, I think this would be considered a huge success,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist, told CP24 on Monday morning.
“We are not making these vaccines here. We are really relying on companies in other countries to produce this and send it to us.”
He said early rollout of the vaccine in Canada will go a long way to protecting the most vulnerable.
“Even with that very first early batch of vaccines that are coming… you can do so much good with that. If we just vaccinate target populations, like people in long-term care facilities… right off the bat, you are going to just decrease the probability of so many people getting very, very sick, coming to hospital, and sadly dying,” he said.
“We can alleviate that, we can alleviate tremendous suffering at an individual level but we can also take off tremendous pressure from our health-care system… Even well before September we can do some tremendous good.”
New cases in the GTHA today:
Peel Region: 390
York Region: 217
Durham Region: 108
Halton Region: 35
Ontario parents can now apply for second COVID-19 payout. Here's how – CTV Toronto
Just in time for the holidays, Ontario parents can now apply for their second COVID-19 payment from the provincial government.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement during a news conference on Monday, saying the funds aim to help parents struggling due to additional learning and child-care costs amid the pandemic.
“There are thousands of families out there who have made sacrifices, who’ve taken seriously the public health advice, and who have gone that extra mile to make sure their child can learn safely,” Ford told reporters.
“We will always be there to support each and every single person in this province. That’s why I’m proud to announce that starting today the portal is open for applications for the ‘Support for Learners’ program.”
Parents of children aged 12 or younger will be able to receive a one-time payment of $200 per child, and $250 for children 21 years of age or younger with special education needs.
The portal is open to all eligible parents in Ontario, whether their children attend school in-person, online, or both.
“This financial support will help families cover the unexpected costs of school supplies, and other learning resources, especially for our youngest learners,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce told reporters.
“The money will be deposited directly into your accounts within roughly two weeks following your verification.”
The province said the application for the “direct one-time payments” can be submitted online and parents have until Jan. 15 of next year to apply.
This is the second payout from the province to Ontario families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first payout came in the spring. The government said it will spend $380 million on the second payout to parents, on top of the $378 million from the first round.
Winnipeggers in 30s, 40s among new COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba – CBC.ca
A Winnipeg man in his 30s and a Winnipeg woman in her 40s are among 11 new COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba, health officials say.
Manitoba hit a new record high for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 342 people in hospital on Monday, as the province added 343 new cases to its total. There are 43 positive patients in intensive care units, down one from Sunday.
Seven of the deaths are connected to outbreaks at long-term care homes, including a man and a woman in their 80s at Fairview Personal Care Home.
The deaths also include a woman in her 70s linked to the outbreak in the GA3 unit at Health Sciences Centre, a man in his 80s linked to the Villa Youville personal care home, a man in his 80s linked to the Charleswood Care Centre, a man in his 80s linked to Golden Links Lodge, a woman in her 90s linked to St. Norbert Personal Care Home, a man in his 90s linked to the Bridgepark Manor assisted living facility, and a Winnipeg woman in her 90s.
Manitoba’s test-positivity rate is 13.4 per cent, a slight increase of 0.1 percentage points from Sunday but still lower than at any other point last week.
Outbreaks at the Women’s Correctional Centre in Headingley and the Keeyask Generating Station near Thompson have been declared over.
New outbreaks have been declared at the Lakeshore General Hospital in Ashern and West Park Manor Personal Care Home in Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg health region produced the majority of new cases, with 207 confirmed infections, while the Southern Health region had the second most, with 53. The rest of the cases were in the Northern Health region (46), Interlake-Eastern health region (23) and Prairie Mountain Health region (14).
Manitoba has now had 16,825 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, with 9,260 reported as still active, although that number is likely inflated due to a backlog in clearing recovered cases.
A boy under 10 is the youngest person to die of COVID-19 in Manitoba, health officials announced on Saturday.
Two Manitoba churches, Church of God and Springs Church, held drive-in services on the weekend, in violation of public health orders capping gatherings at five people and ordering religious services to move online.
Winnipeg School Division teachers will walk thousands of students through an in-class exercise on Tuesday that’s meant to simulate what it could be like if the entire school system is suddenly forced to learn remotely.
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