Good morning. Here is the latest news on COVID-19 and its impact on Ottawa.
- Front-line workers wait in long, snowy line for COVID-19 vaccine following a “minor booking issue” in Ottawa on Saturday
- Ottawa’s top doctor addresses concerns about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, saying “62 per cent effectiveness is still better than zero”
- Ottawa Public Health reports 62 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday
- St-Albert Cheese Cooperative re-opens factory store after COVID-19 outbreak
COVID-19 by the numbers in Ottawa (Ottawa Public Health data):
- New COVID-19 cases: 62 new cases on Saturday
- Total COVID-19 cases: 14,650
- COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 35
- Positivity rate in Ottawa: 2.0 per cent (Feb. 19 to Feb. 25)
- Reproduction Number: 0.98 (seven day average)
Who should get a test?
Ottawa Public Health says there are five 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. OR
- You have traveled to the U.K., or have come into contact with someone who recently traveled to the U.K., please go get tested immediately (even if you have no symptoms).
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:
There are several sites for COVID-19 testing in Ottawa. To book an appointment, visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres.aspx
- The Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Open Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at National Arts Centre: Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
COVID-19 screening tool:
The COVID-19 screening tool for students heading back to in-person classes can be found here.
Classic Symptoms: fever, new or worsening cough, shortness of breath
Other symptoms: sore throat, difficulty swallowing, 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
The Ottawa Hospital blames a “minor booking issue” for the long line outside the COVID-19 vaccination centre at the Civic campus.
Dozens of people lined up in a snowstorm on Saturday to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ottawa Hospital says people in line were hospital and community-based health care workers, staff and essential caregivers from long-term care homes, and staff from high-risk retirement homes.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the Ottawa Hospital said the lineup was the result of a booking error.
“The Ottawa Hospital’s vaccine clinic experienced a minor booking issue (Saturday) morning which caused the line up to be longer than usual,” the Ottawa Hospital said. “Appointments are continuing as scheduled.”
Ottawa’s top doctor is addressing some concerns about COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, just days after Health Canada approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“62 per cent effectiveness is still better than zero per cent,” said Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health during an interview on CTV News at Six on Saturday.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has already faced questions about its efficacy. Health Canada said receiving two doses of the vaccine is between 59 and 62 per cent effective. Pfizer-BioNTech has said its vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective after two doses.
Dr. Etches says the effectiveness compares to the seasonal flu shot.
“We know that compares to other vaccines we have, like the annual influenza vaccine is sometimes only around that level of effectiveness. So you know, the more protection that we can add in to the population and build immunity at this point, the better.”
Sixty-two more people tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday.
Ottawa Public Health reported no new deaths linked to the virus.
Since the first case of COVID-19 in Ottawa on March 11, 2020, there have been 14,650 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 439 deaths.
The St-Albert Cheese Co-op plans to resume production in a limited capacity on Monday after a COVID-19 outbreak.
The factory east of Ottawa temporarily closed after three employees tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit tested all employees, and St-Albert Cheese Co-op director general Eric Lafontaine says the early signs are positive.
“Right now we’re still waiting the final result of the health unit, but so far what we got in is mostly 90 per cent, and 90 per cent is negative so that’s a really good sign, so we know it didn’t spread across. That’s the most important thing.”
The factory store at the St-Albert Cheese Co-op reopened on Saturday.
Pfizer sells $7.8 billion in Covid shots in the second quarter, raises 2021 guidance on vaccine sales – CNBC
Pfizer said Wednesday it sold $7.8 billion in Covid-19 shots in the second quarter and raised its 2021 sales forecast for the vaccine to $33.5 billion from $26 billion, as the delta variant spreads and scientists debate whether people will need booster shots.
The company’s second-quarter financial results also beat Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenue. Here’s how Pfizer did compared with what Wall Street expected, according to average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:
- Adjusted earnings per share: $1.07 per share vs. 97 cents per share expected
- Revenue: $18.98 billion vs. $18.74 billion forecast
Pfizer expects an adjusted pretax profit in the high 20% range of revenue for the vaccine.
The company now expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.95 to $4.05 per share. That’s up from its prior range of $3.55 to $3.65 per share. It expects revenue in the range of $78 billion to $80 billion, up from its previous estimate of $70.5 billion to $72.5 billion.
Shares of Pfizer dipped 0.4% in premarket trading.
“The second quarter was remarkable in a number of ways,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “Most visibly, the speed and efficiency of our efforts with BioNTech to help vaccinate the world against COVID-19 have been unprecedented, with now more than a billion doses of BNT162b2 having been delivered globally.”
Pfizer’s other business units also saw strong sales growth. Revenue from its oncology unit rose by 19% year over year to $3.1 billion. The company’s hospital unit generated $2.2 billion in revenue, up 21% from the prior year. Its internal medicine unit grew by 5% from a year ago to $2.4 billion.
Pfizer said earlier this month it was seeing signs of waning immunity induced by its Covid vaccine with German drugmaker BioNTech, and planned to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a booster dose. It also said it is developing a booster shot to target the delta variant.
In slides posted Wednesday alongside its earnings report, Pfizer said it could potentially file for an emergency use authorization for a booster dose with the FDA as early as August. It expects to begin clinical studies testing its delta variant vaccine in the same month.
It expects full approval for its two-dose vaccine by January 2022.
Pearson airport won’t sort arriving passengers based on COVID-19 vaccination status – CityNews Toronto
Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.
Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.
But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday.
Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”
She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.
Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.
Fight over nickel assets heats up with BHP's $258m Noront bid – MINING.COM – MINING.com
Noront is recommending that shareholders accept the bid, which comes through BHP Lonsdale, a subsidiary that already owns 3.7% of the Canadian nickel producer.
“BHP has the financial strength, world-class mining expertise, and commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to advance Eagle’s Nest and the Ring of Fire, which has the potential to deliver benefits to local communities, First Nations and, and Ontario for years to come,” Noront’s chief executive Alan Coutts said.
BHP is speeding up its push into future-facing commodities, including nickel, lithium and copper, which are poised to benefit from the green-energy transition.
Last week BHP sealed a nickel supply deal with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and is expected to decide on the giant Jansen potash project in Canada next month.
“Noront represents a growth opportunity in a prospective nickel basin capable of delivering a scalable, new nickel-sulphide district,” the Melbourne, Australia-based mining giant said in the statement.
Wyloo Metals, which is Noront’s top shareholder with a 23% stake as of December, had in May offered C$0.315 per share for the stock it did not already hold in the company. Noront had adopted a poison pill strategy to stop the takeover.
BHP’s offer comes on the heels of its decision to move the exploration team headquarters to Toronto, Canada’s most populous city.
The company plans to almost double exploration spending for base metals within five years.
Noront owns the early-stage Eagle’s Nest nickel and copper deposit in the Ring of Fire of northern Ontario. It has been billed by Wyloo as the largest high-grade nickel discovery in Canada since the Voisey’s Bay nickel find in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Eagle’s Nest is expected to begin commercial production in 2026 with the mine running initially for 11 years.
The mine’s start date has repeatedly been pushed back by Noront due to successive federal and provincial governments’ inability to consult and reach unanimous agreement with First Nations in the area.
Nickel production would need to increase nearly fourfold to meet expected demand for electric and hybrid vehicles, the company estimates. Likewise, copper output would also need to grow exponentially to meet demand from renewable power generation, battery storage, electric vehicles, charging stations and related grid infrastructure.
Tesla’s boss Elon Musk has expressed worries about a looming nickel shortage. He pleaded with miners last year to produce more nickel, promising a “giant contract” for supply produced efficiently and in an “environmentally sensitive way.”
The EV maker became involved in March in the development of the conflict-ridden New Caledonia nickel mine, as part of the company’s attempt to secure enough supply.
BHP’s offers coincides with Canada’s push to position the country as a hub for clean-tech metals.
The bid is conditional on the acceptance of shareholders that own more than 50% of Noront’s common shares, excluding the small stake that BHP already owns.
Pfizer sells $7.8 billion in Covid shots in the second quarter, raises 2021 guidance on vaccine sales – CNBC
IRCC: Canada welcomed over 35,000 new immigrants in June – Canada Immigration News
Tokyo Olympics: Penny Oleksiak becomes Canada's most decorated summer Olympian – The Globe and Mail
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