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COVID-19 in Ottawa: Fast Facts for Dec. 1, 2020 – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.

Fast Facts:

  • The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa fell on Monday but data suggest viral transmission is increasing.
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants a clear date for when Ontario will be getting COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The Ontario government is offering parents of schoolchildren another one-time payment to cover COVID-19 expenses.
  • The federal deficit is on track to exceed $381 billion as spending increases during the second wave of the pandemic.

COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa:

  • New cases: 29 on Monday
  • Total COVID-19: 8,487
  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 27.2
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 1.3 per cent (Nov. 21 to 27)

Testing:

Who should get a test?

Ottawa Public Health says there are four reasons to seek testing for COVID-19:

  • You are showing COVID-19 symptoms. OR
  • You have been exposed to a confirmed case of the virus, as informed by Ottawa Public Health or exposure notification through the COVID Alert app. OR
  • You are a resident or work in a setting that has a COVID-19 outbreak, as identified and informed by Ottawa Public Health. OR
  • You are eligible for testing as part of a targeted testing initiative directed by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 151 Brewer Way is open seven days a week. Appointments are required in most cases but LIMITED walk-up capacity is available.

To book a test for an adult, click here.

The CHEO Assessment Centre at Brewer Arena – 151 Brewer Way is open seven days a week. Testing is available by appointment only.

To book a test for a child under the age of 18, click here.

The COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at 595 Moodie Dr. is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The centre offers an appointment with a physician (including appropriate tests) for residents who are experiencing more significant symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing or a sore throat, or testing only for residents with mild symptoms or others who qualify for testing under current guidelines.

To book an appointment, click here. 

The COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at 1485 Heron Rd. is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. The centre offers an appointment with a physician (including appropriate tests) for residents who are experiencing more significant symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing or a sore throat, or testing only for residents with mild symptoms or others who qualify for testing under current guidelines.

To book an appointment, click here.

The COVID-19 Care and Testing Centre at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex – 1585 Tenth Line Rd. is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It offers an appointment with a physician (including appropriate tests) for residents who are experiencing more significant symptoms like fever, difficulty breathing or a sore throat, or testing only for residents with mild symptoms or others who qualify for testing under current guidelines.

To book an appointment, click here.

The COVID-19 drive-thru assessment centre at the National Arts Centre. The centre is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

To book an appointment, click here.

The COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the McNabb Community Centre, located at 180 Percy Street, is open Monday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

To book an appointment, click here.

The Centretown Community Health Centre at 420 Cooper St. offers COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To book an appointment, call 613-789-1500 or book an appointment online

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre at 221 Nelson St. offers COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.  Click here to book an appointment or call 613-789-1500

The Somerset Community Health Centre at 55 Eccles St. will offer COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday. To book an appointment, call 613-789-1500 or book an appointment online.

See here for a list of other testing sites in Ottawa and eastern Ontario.

COVID-19 screening tool:

The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.

Symptoms:

Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath

Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallow, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, pneumonia, new or unexplained runny nose or nasal congestion

Less common symptoms: unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, headache, delirium, chills, red/inflamed eyes, croup

Ottawa Public Health said Monday that 29 additional people in the city tested positive for COVID-19, marking a decline from the 79 new cases that were reported on Sunday.

However, data also suggest that viral transmission in Ottawa is on the rise.

The R(t) number — that is, the number of additional people an indivudual who has tested positive spreads the virus to — has increased to an estimated average of 1.18 as of Nov. 29. A week ago, on Nov. 22, the estimated R(t) number was 0.84.

“R(t) values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading faster and each case infects more than one contact, and less than 1 indicates the spread is slowing and the epidemic is coming under control,” OPH says. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he wants to know exactly when COVID-19 vaccines will be going into Ontarians’ arms.

Speaking to reporters at an event in Vaughan, Ont. on Monday, the premier said he is no more comfortable about the timeline for immunizations in the province now than he was last week.

“I have to get answers. I’ve been asking the federal government. We need to know when we’re getting it, how much we’re getting and what we’re getting,” Ford said. “There’s different vaccines out there so, to be perfectly frank, I’m not any more comfortable than I was last week.”

For said he spoke to staff at Pfizer and AstraZeneca on Monday.

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.

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.

Applications can be made online at https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-support-learners

The federal government is unveiling a new round of financial supports to respond to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, as the latest projections show the national deficit is projected to hit a new high: at least $381.6 billion this fiscal year.

The deficit is growing for several reasons: ongoing pandemic supports, $25.1 billion in newly-announced programs aimed at getting badly-hit businesses through the next few months, as well as the early allocations being made to help rebuild the economy once the urgent health crisis passes. The Liberals are also making moves towards boosting transfer payments to the provinces.

That federal deficit projection is considered Canada’s best-case scenario, and is up from the $343.2 billion forecast in July. However, should the pandemic situation continue to worsen and the country experiences extended restrictions, the deficit could hit $388.8 billion in 2020-21, or balloon to $398.7 billion if restrictions are escalated.

Freeland

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Miriam Katawazi and CTV’s Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello.

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Will Canadians get to choose which COVID-19 vaccine they get? – Global News

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Two vaccines are already approved, two are under review, and two more are in the pipeline, making it possible that Canadians could eventually have access to at least six different COVID-19 vaccines.

With so many options, will Canadians get to choose which shot they get?

Read more:
Coronavirus: What you need to know about mRNA vaccines

Federal minister of international development Karina Gould told a Global News station in London, Ont., that “the vaccine distribution happens via the provinces” and so “it would be up to the government of Ontario to decide where vaccines are going (in Ontario),” for example.

Global News has reached out to Canada’s provinces and territories for comment, with the majority suggesting it is too soon to say.

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British Columbia’s ministry of health said those vaccinated in Phase 1 of its plan do not have a choice between Pfizer and Moderna (though they always know which one they’re receiving) but once more vaccines become available that could change, depending on supply and availability.

A spokesperson for Alberta said that “we are not providing eligible groups with a choice of vaccine at this time.”

Saskatchewan said only that “the availability of vaccine is determined by the supply as well as the logistic and handling requirements of the vaccine.”

A spokesperson for Manitoba said “it is far too early to speculate about vaccine choice” but that the province will “continue to update Manitobans with more information as it becomes available.”

Ontario did not provide a statement by publication time.

Read more:
Ontario updates COVID-19 vaccine plan as Pfizer delays continue

In Quebec, a spokesperson said, “due to the limited number of doses currently available to us, we cannot offer people a choice of vaccine,” adding, “it is the federal government that is responsible for the supply of the vaccine against COVID-19 to the provinces and territories.”

A spokesperson for New Brunswick said it’s “too early to say what will happen” when more vaccine options are made available.

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In Nova Scotia, a spokesperson said only that “the Province makes decisions on which vaccine to send to a clinic based (on) factors such as location, supply, transportation and storage requirements.”

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s department of health and community services told Global News that “the goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible as vaccines arrive in the province. At this time, Newfoundland and Labrador is not planning to provide vaccine options.”

In Prince Edward Island, a spokesperson said that “at this time, Islanders are not choosing between Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.”

Yukon said that since additional vaccines have yet to be approved “this is not a decision that has been considered yet.”

The Northwest Territories said “we will speak to that when another option (not Pfizer) is available.”

Nunavut said only that it is currently allocated the Moderna vaccine due to the extreme cold storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine and resulting logistical challenges.






1:09
Trudeau insists Canada on track for vaccine goals amid opposition questions about supply delay


Trudeau insists Canada on track for vaccine goals amid opposition questions about supply delay

The ethics of choice

Beyond the question of whether or not Canadians will get to choose which company’s vaccine they get, however, is the question of whether Canadians should have that choice.

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Bioethicist at Western University in London, Ont., Charles Weijer says at this point in time priority groups are the focus but it’s “conceivable” that Canadians could have that choice in the latter half of this year.

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“It’s actually a day to look forward to, I think. Once there is choice, we’ll know that there are adequate supplies and that’ll be a good thing.”

Read more:
In the fight against COVID-19, wealth plays a significant role

Weijer, who was also a member of the working group that developed the World Health Organization’s ethical guidelines for COVID-19 human challenge studies, suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine should be treated like other medical interventions in Canada.

“If there’s more than one product licensed and available, typically we allow Canadians to make a choice.”

Natalie Kofler, molecular biologist and lecturer at the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, agreed that it is a possibility but raised concerns about worldwide distribution of vaccines.

“Given that Canada seems to have so many vaccines available, there might be the choice at some point,” she said, referencing that Canada has secured enough doses to vaccinate the population many times over.

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Kofler says if scientific data shows that certain vaccines are better for those who are pregnant or for youths, for example, then those groups should have access to those vaccines, but when it comes to widespread choice, it becomes “a dicey question.”

She stressed that the pandemic is a global crisis that requires a global response.

“Before we start vaccinating our entire population, are there people who really need them in other countries that need this first so that we can ensure that we move beyond this pandemic as a healthy global community? Because what’s really concerning is what this can set up as an even greater emergence of inequity within this world,” she said.

“Many countries are going to be left behind if they can’t get up and running by at least having their front-line workers and those really most vulnerable being vaccinated.”

An international crisis

“Ensuring equitable access globally to COVID-19 vaccines is an exceptionally important issue,” Weijer said.

“Part of the reason it matters is our history in this space is just so bad.”

Weijer pointed to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic as a very recent example. In that case, he says, a vaccine was rapidly generated and then “rich countries just systematically outbid poorer countries for access to the vaccine.”

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As part of the response to COVID-19, the WHO partnered with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and global vaccine alliance Gavi to launch COVAX, an initiative in which Weijer says Canada has played “an important role.”

Read more:
Your guide to COVAX, the WHO’s coronavirus global vaccine plan

Minister Gould is co-chairing the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) Engagement Group “which is the mechanism to ensure that vaccines are delivered in the developing world,” she told Global News.

“From the get-go, Canada has been supporting multilateral and global efforts to make sure there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines,” she said.

“We can be at a point where we’ve vaccinated hopefully everyone here in Canada by September, but if the rest of the world still has the pandemic raging we’re not going to be able to get back to the things that we like to do — travelling, trading, visiting family and friends, having people come visit us here in Canada — until we really get the pandemic under control everywhere.”

Canada has contributed $220 million to the initiative, Gould says, and has also committed to donating excess physical vaccines to COVAX.

COVAX can also expect a boost from the United States, which confirmed intentions to participate just hours after Joe Biden officially took office as president of the United States last Wednesday, the Washington Post reported.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Vaccine nationalism puts world on brink of ‘catastrophic moral failure,’ says WHO chief'



2:45
Coronavirus: Vaccine nationalism puts world on brink of ‘catastrophic moral failure,’ says WHO chief


Coronavirus: Vaccine nationalism puts world on brink of ‘catastrophic moral failure,’ says WHO chief – Jan 18, 2021

Just two days earlier, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had warned that the world is on the brink of “catastrophic moral failure” in sharing vaccines. At that time, at least 56 bilateral deals had been signed.

As of Jan. 18, Tedros said more than 39 million vaccine doses had been administered in 49 higher-income countries whereas just 25 doses had been given in one poor country.

“We’re not all in the same pot putting money in and also getting our doses through COVAX,” Kofler said.

“We’re putting money in, then we’re also doing your side game of buying doses — more doses than we actually even need — and making sure we’re fine. Things fall a little bit apart when you don’t have vested interest in the success of the project.”

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She added that COVAX is also “delayed in their approval process,” having only recently approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“That’s also on the company’s responsibility because they’re choosing where they enter in for emergency approval in these different nations. And they’ve also chosen to first go for approval in high-income countries that are likely going to be more profitable for these companies once they send out their shipments.”

Who gets the most effective vaccines?

So far, Canada has approved the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are both said to be over 90 per cent effective in protecting people from the coronavirus.

The AstraZeneca and Oxford University vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are currently under review in Canada, with a decision on AstraZeneca expected first.

A spokesperson for AstraZeneca told Global News on Jan. 21 that, so far, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Mexico, and Morocco “have provided authorization” for emergency supply of its vaccine.

A Public Health Agency of Canada spokesperson told Global News on Jan. 19 that Health Canada experts will be taking part in a meeting of the European Medicines Agency, EMA, on Jan. 29 “to discuss authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine.”

Pooled data from December showed an efficacy rate of 70 per cent for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

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Read more:
AstraZeneca says reports of 8% coronavirus vaccine efficacy in seniors are ‘incorrect’

Kofler says efficacy is a “challenging thing to really nail down at this point.”

“These weren’t challenge trials (which involve people being deliberately infected), it was people going about their daily life to see if they were somewhat more protected — they were still wearing masks, they were still doing other things to protect themselves from COVID,” she explained.

“They are statistically sound, I’m not debating that. I’m just saying that I think it’s likely that as time progresses, AstraZeneca’s efficacy will probably work out to be a bit higher than what it’s showing.

“Scientifically, there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t be a highly effective vaccination.”

Weijer says the AstraZeneca vaccine, and a few others, were always going to be the most appropriate choices for low- and middle-income countries.

“If differential efficacy was driving the choices that Canada was making or was driving the choices that low- and middle-income countries were making, that certainly would be unfair. But I don’t think that’s what’s been going on.”

Read more:
Canada has approved 2 coronavirus vaccines. How are other candidates progressing?

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Instead, Weijer says decision-making comes down to cost and refrigeration.

“Pfizer’s about $25 a dose. The Moderna’s about $40 a dose. That’s unaffordable for low-income countries. The AstraZeneca vaccine comes in at around $3 a dose.”

As well, because the AstraZeneca vaccine is an adenoviral vector vaccine, it only requires regular refrigeration instead of freezing like the Moderna vaccine or deep-freezing like the Pfizer vaccine, which are both mRNA vaccines.

“The lack of access to sort of basic refrigeration in the poorest countries in the world before coronavirus was interfering with the delivery of about 40 per cent of of the world’s vaccine doses,” he stressed.

“This is a longstanding problem. The AstraZeneca vaccine, therefore, was really the only one that was going to be feasible for low- and middle-income countries.”

— with files from Global News’ Jigar Patel, Sean Boynton, and Emerald Bensadoun as well as Reuters’ Emma Farge.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Provinces set back COVID-19 vaccinations as deliveries grind to halt – Campbell River Mirror

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Some provinces were forced to push back vaccination for health-care workers and vulnerable seniors on Monday as deliveries from a major manufacturer ground to a temporary halt.

Canada is not due to receive any Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines this week as the company revamps its operations, and deliveries are expected to be slow for the next few weeks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stressed that the delay is only temporary and that Canada is expected to receive 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of March.

As Parliament resumed Monday, Trudeau faced a barrage of questions from MPs of all parties as they blasted the Liberal government for what they described as a botched approach to rolling out vaccines.

Both Trudeau and Procurement Minister Anita Anand repeated the government’s promise that by the end of September, all Canadians wishing to be vaccinated will have received their shots.

Trudeau added that the country is still receiving shipments of the Moderna vaccine.

READ MORE: B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Earlier Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said there is “tremendous pressure” on the global supply chain for vaccines that the government has tried to mitigate.

“We are working on this every single day, because we know how important vaccines are to Canadians, to first and foremost the lives of Canadians and also to our economy,” she told a news conference in Ottawa by video.

Despite the vaccine delay, some provinces continued to report encouraging drops in the number of new cases and hospitalizations.

Ontario reported fewer than 2,000 cases, as well as fewer people in hospital. It was a similar story in Quebec, where hospitalizations dropped for a sixth straight day.

Newfoundland and Labrador also reported no new cases of COVID-19 for a third straight day.

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Canadian provinces push back vaccination plans as Pfizer deliveries grind to a halt – Red Deer Advocate

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Some provinces were forced to push back vaccination for health-care workers and vulnerable seniors on Monday as deliveries from a major manufacturer ground to a temporary halt.

Canada is not due to receive any Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines this week as the company revamps its operations, and deliveries are expected to be slow for the next few weeks.

Ontario announced Monday that it was pausing COVID-19 vaccinations of long-term care staff and essential caregivers so that it can focus on giving the shots to all nursing home residents.

Premier Doug Ford said the delay has taught the province that it can’t take vaccine shipments for granted.

“I want to be clear: we’re using every single vaccine we can to protect our most vulnerable,” Ford told a news conference. “But delivery delays are forcing us to be careful and cautious as we plan, to ensure we’re able to offer second doses.”

The news came as more cases of the more contagious U.K. variant of COVID-19 were detected across Ontario, including in at least one long-term care home.

Some provinces have used up nearly all their vaccine supply and have been forced to push back their vaccination schedules.

Saskatchewan announced Sunday that it had exhausted all the doses it received. However, even after technically running out, the province still managed to vaccinate another 304 people as it continued to draw extra doses from the vials it received. It had administered 102 per cent of its allotted doses by Monday, and it expected the remaining excess doses to be gone this week.

Quebec has used up more than 90 per cent of its supply. It confirmed that the delivery delay would force it to postpone its vaccination rollout in private seniors’ residences, which had been scheduled to start Monday.

“Let’s be realistic: our vaccination momentum will be reduced as of this week,” Marjaurie Cote-Boileau, press secretary to Health Minister Christian Dube, said in a text message.

“Given the important reduction of Pfizer doses we’ll receive in the next two weeks, we have had to review our vaccination calendar.”

Quebec finished giving first doses to long-term care residents last week and has vaccinated some 9,000 seniors in private homes by using leftover doses. The province gave less than 2,000 shots Sunday, compared to an average of more than 9,600 a day over the previous week.

In British Columbia, the provincial health officer said the government is extending the interval between the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Bonnie Henry said further delays in the production and delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine over the next two weeks caused the time period between the shots to be extended from 35 days to 42.

She said about about 60 per cent of more than 119,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered in the province so far have gone to protecting residents of long-term care homes.

The Manitoba government also said it may soon have to put off some second-dose vaccine appointments as a result of the disruptions to the supply of the Pfizer vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stressed that the delay is only temporary and that Canada is expected to receive 4 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of March.

As Parliament resumed Monday, Trudeau faced a barrage of questions from MPs of all parties as they blasted the Liberal government for what they described as a botched approach to rolling out vaccines.

Both Trudeau and Procurement Minister Anita Anand repeated the government’s promise that by the end of September, all Canadians wishing to be vaccinated will have received their shots.

Trudeau added that the country is still receiving shipments of the Moderna vaccine.

Earlier Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said there is “tremendous pressure” on the global supply chain for vaccines that the government has tried to mitigate.

“We are working on this every single day, because we know how important vaccines are to Canadians, to first and foremost the lives of Canadians and also to our economy,” she told a news conference in Ottawa by video.

Despite the vaccine delay, some provinces continued to report encouraging drops in the number of new cases and hospitalizations. Ontario reported fewer than 2,000 cases, as well as fewer people in hospital. It was a similar story in Quebec, where hospitalizations dropped for a sixth straight day.

Newfoundland and Labrador also reported no new cases of COVID-19 for a third straight day.

Alberta reported only 362 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, compared with daily numbers peaking as high as 1,800 in mid-December. But the big concern for health officials was a case of the U.K. variant that could not be directly traced to international travel.

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that while it is one case, the variant could quickly overwhelm hospitals if not checked.

“There’s no question that this kind of exponential growth would push our health-care system to the brink,” Shandro told a news conference. “It would significantly impact the health care and the services available to all Albertans.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

— With files from Shawn Jeffords, Jordan Press, Dean Bennett and Stephanie Levitz.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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