What you should know:
What you should know:
The Canadian government will require that federal employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Dominic LeBlanc, president of the Privy Council, says the government expects employers in federally regulated industries to do the same.
There are close to half a million people who work directly for the federal government, Crown corporations, the military or the RCMP.
Nearly a million more work in federally regulated industries, which includes banks and airlines.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a week ago that he had asked the clerk of the Privy Council — the nation’s top bureaucrat — to consider the mandate.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says by the fall, there will be a vaccine requirement for transportation workers.
Travellers on commercial airlines, interprovincial trains and cruise ships will also be required to be vaccinated by that date.
At last count, nearly 82 per cent of Canadians 12 and older had at least one dose of vaccine, while 70 per cent had been fully vaccinated.
The organization representing Ontario’s English-language public school boards has asked the province to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all eligible students, staff and visitors in schools.
In a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Cathy Abraham, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, says the OPSBA supports calls by medical professionals and public health experts for mandatory vaccination in schools.
“As I’m sure you’ll agree, ensuring that we provide the safest possible environment for our students, staff, and school communities is a top priority for all of us,” she wrote.
“Swift and decisive action must be taken to ensure that our schools remain as safe as possible, and that we have the greatest chance of keeping our schools open for in-person learning, which is vital to the mental health and development of our students.”
The OPSBA represents 41 school boards and authorities that are responsible for 1.3 million students in the province.
Ontario reported 510 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, and four new deaths.
Two of those deaths, however, occurred more than two months ago. They were included as part of a data update.
Meanwhile, there are 123 COVID patients currently in Ontario hospitals. There are 111 patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses, 82 of them diagnosed with COVID. There are 72 patients on ventilators with COVID-related illnesses, 49 of them currently with COVID.
Of the most recently reported hospitalizations, 78.6 per cent involved unvaccinated patients, while 10.8 were partially vaccinated.
According to the province, 71.4 of the new cases were among unvaccinated patients, while 11.1 per cent had received just one inoculation.
Toronto, with 129 new cases, Peel, with 61, and Hamilton, with 51, were the province’s worst-hit regions.
The new figures raise Ontario’s total number of COVID cases since January 2020 to 554,472 and its death toll to 9,416. There are 12,526 active cases in the province.
Of the 161 cases identified by a specific variant, 146, or 90 per cent, were linked to the Delta variant, and the remaining with the Alpha variant.
Additionally, 48,682 vaccine doses were administered in the province in the 24-hour period ending Thursday evening, for a province-wide total of 20,096,593. A total of 9,493,726 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated, an increase of 37,063 over the previous day’s total.
Ottawa Public Health reported 21 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and no new deaths.
The new figures bring the total number of COVID cases in the city to 27,945 since the pandemic started, while the death toll remains at 593.
There are currently 114 active cases in Ottawa. Of those, four people are in hospital with COVID, one of them in intensive care.
The city’s seven-day infection rate, meanwhile, is 9.0 per 100,000 population.
Ottawa’s seven-day positivity rate is 1.0 per cent, while the seven-day reproduction rate (R(t)) is 1.23, indicating that the virus’s spread is increasing.
As of 3 a.m. Friday, 84 per cent of Ottawans 12 and over had received at least one vaccine dose, while 74 per cent were fully vaccinated. Among all Ottawans, 73 per cent had have at least one dose, while 65 per cent had had two.
There were no new outbreaks reported Friday, leaving just the two open child care ones, at Grandir Ensemble Garderie La Maisonée, where two student and one staff member tested positive earlier this month, and St. Anthony’s Children’s Centre, where four students have tested positive.
In other health units in the capital region, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit saw its confirmed case numbers go down by four, while Kingston’s increased by one.
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark reported four new cases, while Renfrew County had none.
Mark Goudie, president of the group that owns the Ottawa RedBlacks CFL team and the Ottawa 67’s junior team, says he’s a fan of the idea of a proof of vaccination system for large-scale events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ottawa Atletico professional soccer team also plays at TD Place Stadium.
“We’ve told the province that we think (vaccine passport could be) an important tool for us to have as part of our business,” Goudie, head of Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, said in an interview with TSN 1200 radio.
The RedBlacks are to play their home opener at Lansdowne’s TD Place on Aug. 28. A total of 15,000 fans, or 75 per cent of capacity, will be allowed inside TD Place under Ontario’s COVID-19 rules.
The Quebec government has announced a vaccine passport will be introduced on Sept. 1. The province said the vaccine passport would be implemented in places with high capacity and a high rate of contact, including festivals and concerts.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said repeatedly the province would not introduse vaccine passports or other such measures.
The federal government said Thursday it plans to create proof-of-vaccination documentation for international travel by early fall.
Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the national government was working with the provinces — which hold the data on vaccinations — to develop consistent credentials.
Health Minister Christian Dubé says more people are getting their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine since Quebec unveiled its plan to impose a vaccine passport starting in September.
Dubé said in a tweet Friday that a steadily increasing number of people got their first doses in the last three days, for a total of 26,000.
Quebec reported 426 new COVID cases Friday, and no new deaths.
That brings the province’s overall case count to 380,833 since the pandemic began, and its death toll to 11,242.
There are 80 COVID patients hospitalized in Quebec, including 27 in intensive care.
Additionally, the province administered 47,771 vaccine doses in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, for a province-wide total of 11,665,257.
About 73 per cent of Quebecers over 12 are now considered adequately vaccinated.
Severe cases of COVID-19 were very rare among Canadian children during the first waves of the pandemic, according to a new study by researchers who warn the findings should not be taken as a reason not to vaccinate youth.
The study was published Monday by the Canadian Medical Association Journal and looked at 264 reported cases of children hospitalized in Canada between March 25 and Dec. 31, 2020, before the more infectious Delta variant emerged.
Of those cases, 43 per cent had been hospitalized for another reason, such as a fracture, and it was only after they were admitted that the positive test came to light.
Nearly 34,000 Canadians of all ages were hospitalized during the same time frame.
“If you look at the numbers in total, that’s only 150 children hospitalized with COVID during the first two waves here in Canada,” said study co-lead author Dr. Fatima Kakkar of Montreal’s Ste-Justine Hospital.
“These are very small numbers, when you compare with what has happened in adults.”
The study was conducted before the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant, which now accounts for most COVID-19 infections in Canada.
The research also took place before COVID-19 vaccines were authorized for youth aged 12 and older. Of the cases studied, 77 involved kids aged 13 to 17. Pfizer has said it intends to seek authorization soon for a vaccine intended for kids aged five to 11.
Researchers originally believed that children may be at higher risk for severe disease, since this is typically seen with respiratory infection in the pediatric population.
Among the 150 children admitted directly because of the coronavirus, the most common symptoms were fever (70 per cent) and cough (34 per cent).
Half had a severe form of the disease, with 21 per cent admitted to intensive care and 13 per cent needing respiratory or cardiac support.
Researchers add that more than three per cent of Canadian children — a high among all age groups in the country — have recently been shown to carry antibodies to COVID-19, indicating that they have been exposed to the virus.
But the relatively small number of pediatric admissions shows that children had less severe infections than adults, even though they were potentially infected more often, Kakkar said.
Overall, 39 per cent of children and youth hospitalized for COVID-19 had at least one co-morbidity and those with severe disease were more likely to have an underlying health condition including obesity, neurological or respiratory issues.
“We often talk about children who have comorbidities and who are sicker, (…) but 60 per cent had no comorbidity,” she said.
“They were healthy children who were hospitalized for the disease. On the other hand, when we look at the severity, the most severe cases were in children who had comorbidities, such as obesity, major neurodevelopmental disorders.”
Deaths of children infected with COVID-19 were also very rare, confirming the findings of other studies.
But even with the encouraging conclusions, parents should not take from it a false sense of security and not vaccinate their child, Kakkar said, given children in good health also ended up in hospital.
“We do not know, among these children who are in good health, which will be the sickest, and we know that when we have a severe disease, we have consequences,” Kakkar said.
“A child intubated in intensive care needs months of rehabilitation, and unfortunately we cannot predict which child will fall into this category.’
An unvaccinated child will also be more likely to continue the spread of the virus within their own family and friends.
She also noted the Delta variant is much more transmissible and currently wreaking havoc among unvaccinated adults.
“I do not want to discourage parents at all from having their child vaccinated,” she said.
“We really have to look at the total well-being of the child: what will allow them to have a normal life, to do activities, to play sports, to see friends? It’s vaccination.”
Still, Kakkar said the benefits of attending school and seeing friends are essential to development.
“There is a lot of anxiety among parents about the risk of COVID in children,” Kakkar said.
“It is important to reassure parents, it is not the same disease as in adults, (so) I hope that will allow the children to live a little more normal life.”
© 2021 The Canadian Press
Public Health Sudbury and Districts staff are determined to get more shots in arms and have planned a series of COVID-19 vaccination opportunities in the region this week.
Eligible individuals looking to get their first or second dose can book an appointment or visit a walk-in, mobile, or pop-up vaccination clinic.
Vaccination is available every Tuesday at the Carmichael Arena in Greater Sudbury, and every Wednesday at the Espanola Mall.
Vaccination is also available by appointment every Wednesday at the health unit’s Chapleau office and every Thursday by appointment at its Sudbury East office in St. Charles.
This week’s vaccination clinic schedule is:
Tuesday, Sept. 28
Wednesday, Sept. 29
Thursday, Sept. 30
Friday, Oct. 1
Saturday, Oct. 2
Sunday, Oct. 3
Everyone born in 2009 or earlier is eligible to receive their first dose of an mRNA vaccine.
Those aged 18 and older can get either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (these two mRNA vaccine can be safely interchanged).
Those aged 12 to 17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine in Canada.
Anyone who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine more than 21 days ago or the Moderna vaccine more than 28 days ago is eligible to receive their second dose.
Those looking to receive their second dose can attend a walk-in, pop-up or mobile vaccination clinic or book their second dose online at www.covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine or call 705-674-2299 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Public Health reminds people it is possible there won’t be enough doses to offer vaccine to everyone who attends a walk-in, pop-up, or mobile clinic.
More vaccination opportunities may be added throughout the week.
For regular updates, follow Public Health on social media @PublicHealthSD or visit their website at www.phsd.ca/COVID-19/vaccine-clinics.
Visit www.covid-19.ontario.ca/vaccine-locations for a list of pharmacies in Ontario offering COVID-19 vaccination and for booking information or contact your primary care provider.
Visit www.phsd.ca/COVID-19 or call Sudbury’s health unit at 705-522-9200 for more information.
The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.
Ontario health units are developing plans for the vaccination of children aged five to 11 once COVID-19 shots are approved for them.
Toronto Public Health said Monday that it had formed a planning group that includes health partners, school boards, community representatives and the province, while top doctors for Peel Region, Middlesex-London, Hamilton and Ottawa also said they were making arrangements.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said plans are being made now so that young children can be vaccinated as soon as possible after Health Canada authorizes a COVID-19 shot for them.
“This will help keep our kids safe and provide greater protection in our schools and communities across the city,” he said in a statement, noting Toronto was home to approximately 200,000 children in the five-to-11 group.
Peel Region’s top doctor said his public health unit is “ready to deploy a vaccine strategy” for that cohort, pending approval from Health Canada and guidance from the province, and would keep residents informed on a timeline.
The top doctor for the Middlesex-London said his health unit was working with pediatric care providers to ensure clinics were “appropriately designed to support young children and young families.”
“We are working with families and children to make sure that we’ve thought of all of the potential aspects of this,” Dr. Chris Mackie said in a statement. “We very much hope and expect to hit the ground running as soon as that announcement is made.”
Ottawa Public Health said it is working with stakeholders on different scenarios for vaccinating the city’s 77,000 kids in that age group.
Those scenarios, which will depend on timing of vaccine approval, include looking at increasing staffing and clinic locations as well as outreach to children and their families.
Hamilton’s medical officer of health said her health unit was hoping to announce a plan for vaccinating young children as soon as possible.
“We recognize the anticipation and interest community members are feeling as they wait for a potential announcement regarding COVID-19 vaccine approval for this age group, and the peace of mind and strong protection being fully vaccinated would mean to these young people and their loved ones,” Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said in a statement.
Children born after 2009 are currently not eligible to receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada. Pfizer has said it intends to seek authorization soon for a vaccine intended for kids aged five to 11.
In Toronto, the city’s top doctor said Monday that public health is aiming to be ready for a November start to their immunizations.
Dr. Eileen de Villa noted that COVID-19 infection rates have been increasing among children aged four to 11 in the last three weeks. Last week, that cohort had the highest rate of infection in the city for the first time since the start of the pandemic, she said, at 64 cases per 100,000 population.
That trend isn’t surprising given that children born after 2009 can’t be vaccinated against COVID-19, de Villa said. But she urged families to get vaccinated to protect those who can’t get the shots.
“It is absolutely key for parents to get vaccinated to help ensure the safer reopening of school and the ability to provide ongoing in-person learning,” she said.
She also flagged that “work that has yet to be done” in vaccinating people between the ages of 30 to 49, many of whom may be parents. She said 25 per cent of that age group in the city is not fully vaccinated.
Ontario health units are responsible for administering COVID-19 shots with guidance from the provincial government.
Provincial data as of Monday showed 80 per cent of youth aged 12 to 17 had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 70 per cent were fully vaccinated.
Vaccination clinics have been run at or near Ontario schools in the weeks since students have returned to classes in an effort to boost vaccination for eligible students, staff and families.
School staff in Ontario must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be regularly tested for the virus.
No such rule is in place for students, but de Villa wrote to the city’s board of health this month, asking that it request the province to require COVID-19 vaccination for eligible students. The board voted in favour of her recommendation Monday.
In her Sept. 13 letter to the board of health, de Villa referenced the nine other diseases covered under the Immunization of School Pupils Act, which students enrolled in school must be vaccinated against.
COVID-19 is currently not one of those designated diseases, and de Villa wrote that the safety and effectiveness of approved vaccines has been proven in children 12 and older.
“Given the current epidemiology of COVID-19 and the need to support the safe reopening of schools, it recommended that the province require COVID-19 vaccination for students who are eligible based on their age/year of birth,” she wrote.
The province’s top public health doctor has said the province is looking into adding COVID-19 vaccinations to the list of those required for students by law, which allows for some exemptions.
– With files from Noushin Ziafati.
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