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COVID-19: No plans to ease hot zone restrictions, Ford says; Canada has record one-day total of cases – Paris Star

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What you need to know, at a glance

  • Premier Doug Ford says there are no plans to ease ‘hot zone’ restrictions, despite economic disruptions
  • ‘We won’t even have an economy if this continues to spread’
  • Ontario reported 826 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including 88 in Ottawa
  • The new numbers push Ontario’s total number of infections to 68,353
  • There were nine new deaths, bringing the total to 3,080
  • There are 276 people in hospital with 78 of those in ICU care and 47 on ventilators
  • Ottawa Public Health reported 88 new cases and five new deaths over the previous 24 hours
  • One new outbreak was declared among health care and congregate living facilities, while two more outbreaks were declared in child care and schools
  • Five new cases have been confirmed in sports related outbreaks, for a total of 30
  • A resident of the city-run Centre d’accueil Champlain long-term care home has died in hospital of COVID-19
  • A second staff member at the Garry J. Armstrong long-term care home has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Eastern Ontario’s medical officer of health expected to announce more restrictions on gyms, bars and restaurants
  • Quebec reported 905 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since to 98,226 since the pandemic began.
  • Twelve new deaths were reported – four over the past 24 hours, six between Oct. 16 and 21, and another two on unknown dates
  • The Outaouais region reported 25 new cases and one new death since the last report.
  • Canada recorded a record 2,788 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the largest increase in infections since the pandemic began
  • “We have to get these numbers down,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said
  • The federal government spending $214 million towards the development of COVID-19 vaccines
  • But PM warns that he doesn’t anticipate a vaccine will be ready this year or in early 2021
  • Nationally, the number of COVID-19 infections topped 209,000 with more than 23,000 active cases
  • The virus has killed 9,862 Canadians.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott say they have no plans to ease restrictions in the province’s four COVID-19 hot zones of Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York even as some business owners push back against the economic disruption the measures have caused.

“We won’t even have an economy if this continues to spread and gets up over 1,000 cases (a day),” Ford said Friday at a media briefing in Prince Edward County.

Ford added that he will meet with the province’s medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, and his health team over the weekend to decide if Halton region, west of Toronto, will also be added to the hot zone list.

“I’ll have that answer on Monday,” the premier said. “It’s concerning right now. We’re seeing the numbers go up again.”

Ontario reported 826 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including 292 in Toronto, 186 in Peel, and 72 in York.

“We’ve been advised by Dr. Williams and his team that these are measures we have to take to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Elliott said.

“The evidence says that if we take these steps now it prevents us from going into a longer period of lockdown with more economic shutdown. While we recognize that this is very difficult for many business owners, this is the advice we’ve received from the public health professionals.”

Friday marks two weeks since the Ontario imposed the modified Stage 2 restrictions in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel and the halfway point in the order’s initial 28-day duration.

The latest numbers represent a slight decline for the province, which reported 841 new cases on Thursday.

Ontario has now had 68,353 confirmed cases since the pandemic was declared. Some 3,080 people have died in the province from COVID-19.

There are 276 people in hospital with 78 of those in intensive care and 47 on ventilators.

The province completed more than 40,000 tests on Thursday, Elliott said. Another 733 cases have now been resolved.

Seventy-seven long-term care homes are battling novel coronavirus outbreaks in Ontario, down three from the day before.

Local

Ottawa Public Health reported 88 new cases and five new death over the previous 24 hours.

It was the highest daily death count since May.

There have been 6,384 total cases, with 676 active. The death toll is at 314.

One new outbreak was declared among health care and congregate living facilities, for a total of 50 outbreaks. Two new outbreaks were reported in child care and schools for a total of 19.

Five new cases have been reported in sports-related outbreaks, for a total of 30.

The city announced Thursday that a resident of the city-run Centre d’accueil Champlain long-term care home has died in hospital of COVID-19. The resident was admitted to hospital on Oct. 13, Donna Gray, general manager of Community and Social Services announced in a memo to members of council.

Gray also informed councillors that a second staff member at the Garry J. Armstrong long-term care home has tested positive for COVID-19.

A group of restaurateurs and other Ottawa business people are planning to protest the provincial ‘hot zone’ restrictions on Saturday with a march from Ottawa city hall to Parliament hill. Unlike most protests, organizers are trying to limit their numbers by capping the number of people who can attend from each business.

“We are not anti-maskers or those looking to counter public health measures, but the contrary,” they say.

Meanwhile, Eastern Ontario’s medical officer of health was expected to announce Friday more restrictions under a local Class Section 22 order. The restrictions, which are milder than the modified Stage 2 restrictions in place in neighbouring Ottawa, won’t come into effect until next week, said Dr. Paul Roumeliotis of the Eastern Ontario Health Unit.

The restrictions limit restaurants to a maximum capacity of 100 with no more than six people per table. Gyms can have no more than 50 people inside at a time and fitness classes are limited to 10 people. Banquet halls and other meeting or event facilities would be capped at 50 people.

The EOHU measures are similar to those enacted by Ottawa Public Health on Sept. 22, two weeks before the province imposed the stricter, more easily enforced restrictions of the modified Stage 2 order. EOHU covers Cornwall, Prescott Russell and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry.

Roumeliotis was to hold a briefing of his own late Friday afternoon.

Quebec

The number of new cases dipped below 1,000 today, with hospitalizations and ICU admissions dropping.

Quebec reported 905 infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since to 98,226 since the pandemic began.

Twelve new deaths were reported – four over the past 24 hours, six between Oct. 16 and 21, and another two on unknown dates.

Among those in hospital, 99 are in intensive care, a drop of two.

The Outaouais region reported 25 new cases and one new death since the last report.

National

Canada recorded a record 2,788 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the largest increase in infections since the pandemic began.

“We have to get these numbers down. This is serious and everyone must do their part,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “Your loved ones with pre-existing conditions, your parents your grandparents, they’re counting on you.

“People’s lives are at stake. We can’t afford to be careless or expect that this virus will just go away on its own.”

Nationally, the number of COVID-19 infections topped 209,000 with more than 23,000 active cases, according to figures released Thursday night. Quebec and Ontario account for two-thirds of all active cases. The virus has killed 9,862 Canadians.

The prime minister said that the government is spending $214 million towards the development of COVID-19 vaccines, signing deals with Quebec firm Medicago and British Columbia’s Precision NanoSystems.

Trudeau says the Medicago contract includes the rights to buy 76 million doses of its vaccine, should it meet health and safety standards, as well as funding for a production facility in Quebec City.

Two more American vaccine makers, Moderna and Pfizer, have asked Health Canada to review their products as they undergo clinical trials.

However, Trudeau warns that he doesn’t anticipate a vaccine will be ready to inoculate Canadians against the COVID-19 virus this year or in early 2021.

The prime minister says Canada has also acquired “hundreds of thousands” of rapid test kits from medical company Abbott to be distributed across the provinces and territories.

Two more vaccine makers have asked Health Canada to study their product before it has completed clinical trials.

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-With files from Postmedia and The Canadian Press

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Positive COVID-19 signs, winter arrives and a councillor caught texting and driving during a meeting: Top stories in Ottawa this week – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to fall, Council approves Light Rail Transit to Barrhaven and an Ottawa councillor caught texting and driving during a Zoom city committee meeting.

CTV News Ottawa looks at the top stories in Ottawa this week

As Ottawa’s COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate continue to fall, the medical officer of health says most of the credit goes to Ottawa residents.

On Oct. 14, Dr. Vera Etches told Council that Ottawa had the highest rate of COVID-19 in Ottawa, at 70 cases per 100,000 people. On Nov. 28, Ottawa’s rate per 100,000 people was 21.

“It’s really thanks to the people in Ottawa, and thanks to the employers and others who are doing their part to make it possible,” Etches told reporters, adding people have been practicing physical distancing and wearing masks.

“These are the things that actually can bring COVID down in a community.”

While Ontario set records for highest COVID-19 cases in a single day, Ottawa’s case numbers remained low this week.  There were 19 cases on Nov. 24, 23 cases on Nov. 25 and 24 cases on Nov. 26. The high for the week was 55 new cases on Friday.

Ottawa’s COVID-19 rate per 100,000 people, test positivity rate and Rt number are inching closer to the threshold for Ottawa to move into the “yellow-protect” zone, but Dr. Etches said she wants to see solid declines before Ottawa moves.

Two COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared involving social events in Ottawa.

Last weekend, Ottawa Public Health declared an outbreak linked to a social event with four cases of COVID-19.

CTV News Ottawa reached out to Ottawa Public Health (OPH) to ask when the social event was held, how many people attended the social event and if anyone was ordered to self-isolate due to the social event.

“To protect the privacy of the individuals, OPH cannot disclose additional information,” said Ottawa Public Health in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

A second outbreak with three cases was reported during the week.

Ottawa received its first taste of winter weather this past week, with two storms moving through the region.

A storm Sunday evening and Monday delivered approximately 9 centimetres of snow, along with some rain and freezing rain. A storm on Wednesday blanketed Ottawa with approximately 10 centimetres of snow.

Environment Canada’s David Phillips tells CTV Morning Live that this week’s weather was a preview of what’s ahead for Ottawa through the winter months.

“Kind of a little fickle and fitful, hard to put a label on the winter. I think it’s not going to be memorable from a brutally cold or a balmy kind of winter, I think there will be something for everybody,” said Phillips.

“You’ll get a certain amount of snow, and you’ll get rain, you’ll get freezing rain – it will be a real mixed bag. I think it will make winter go faster when it’s very changeable and variable, but it’s hard to plan your activities based on such an up and down kind of weather scene that we see this coming winter.”

Ottawa snow

Council gave the green light to plans for a $3 billion light rail train line from Algonquin College to Barrhaven.

Councillors voted 18 to 4 to build the Barrhaven Light Rail Transit Line, including demolishing 120 homes in the Manor Village and Cheryl Gardens neighbourhoods for the route alignment.

On Tuesday, Ottawa ACORN members protested the plans outside Mayor Jim Watson’s home. On Wednesday, dozens of people rallied outside Ottawa City Hall.

On Saturday, Manor Village resident Alison Trowbridge told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s “The Goods with Dahlia Kurtz” that council’s decision created a lot of stress for her and her seven-year-old son.

“Unfortunately, he has been watching all of this happen and it’s causing him tremendous stress. That’s not stress a seven-year-old should be having,” she said. “As much as he understands, he doesn’t understand the idea of a housing a homelessness crisis but he understands the words, ‘you’re going to lose your home’ and those aren’t the things he should be worrying about as a child.”

Trowbridge says Ottawa ACORN wants the City of Ottawa to establish a rental replacement bylaw to protect tenants and ensure they have a new place to live if forced from their homes.

The city will set up a working group to find housing solutions for the tenants, including Ottawa Community Housing.

Knoxdale Station

An Ottawa councillor who was recorded on a virtual committee meeting texting and driving says he voluntarily went to Ottawa police to pay a fine.

During Tuesday’s audit committee meeting on Zoom, Osgoode Coun. George Darouze could be seen getting into a car and driving while in the meeting. The video appeared to show Darouze using his phone while driving and wearing headphones.

“(Tuesday) morning I was texting and driving. This was stupid thing to do and I should not have done this. I commit to my family and residents that this won’t happen again,” Darouze said in a statement on Facebook.

On Wednesday, Darouze said he went to the Ottawa Police Service station on Leitrim Road to give a statement, in order for officers to issue a $615 fine under the Highway Traffic Act.

“I promise that this will never happen again. I want to continue to be an advocate for Safer Roads Ottawa and work with OPS on their Leave the Phone Alone initiative, and by requesting and paying this fine, I hope I and others can learn from my experience.”

George Darouze

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Ottawa Public Health removes two deaths from pandemic death toll; 1 new death, 46 new cases reported – Newstalk 1010 (iHeartRadio)

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Ottawa Public Health is reporting a decline in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the capital after an investigation showed a link to COVID-19 could not be proven in two cases.

In a statement on its COVID-19 dashboard, OPH said, “Following case investigation, two deaths could not be confirmed to be related to COVID-19. As such, these deaths were removed from the dashboard.

However, OPH notes that since Friday’s update, an additional person has died.

“Since the previous refresh, however, one additional person with confirmed COVID-19 has passed away,” OPH said. “Thus, the total change in deaths since the previous refresh is -1.”

The city’s death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 372 residents.

OPH reported 46 new people with COVID-19 in Ottawa on Saturday, bringing the city’s pandemic total to 8,379 cases. 

In the past seven days, Nov. 22 to 28 inclusive, OPH has reported an average of 34.3 new cases of COVID-19 per day. In the previous seven days, Nov. 15 to 21 inclusive, OPH reported an average of 42.1 new cases of COVID-19 per day.

Across Ontario, more than 1,800 new cases of COVID-19 were reported for a second straight day, Health Minister Christine Elliott said, with 1,822 new cases.

On Friday, a record-breaking 1,855 infections were logged across the province.

A majority of the new cases reported on Saturday were from the locked down regions of Toronto and Peel.

Twenty-nine new COVID-19 deaths have also been reported across Ontario.

HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA

The number of people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 complications fell slightly on Saturday to 20, from 21 on Friday.

There are three people in the intenstive care unit.

Of the people in hospital, three are in their 60s (two in the ICU), six are in their 70s, seven are in their 80s (one in the ICU), and four are 90 or older.

ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA

The number of people with active cases of COVID-19 in the city climbed back above 300 on Saturday after three days below that figure.

OPH reports 309 active cases in Ottawa in its latest update, 16 more than what was reported on Friday.

Thirty-one additional recoveries have been added to the dashboard, bringing the city’s number of resolved cases to 7,698. 

The number of active cases of COVID-19 is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.

 
COVID-19 Cases in Ottawa

Infogram

CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA BY AGE CATEGORY 

Here is a breakdown of all known COVID-19 cases in Ottawa by age category:

  • 0-9 years old: Five new cases (565 cases total)
  • 10-19 years-old: Eight new cases (967 cases total)
  • 20-29 years-old: Five new cases (1,711 cases total)
  • 30-39 years-old: Five new cases (1,120 cases total)
  • 40-49 years-old: Five new cases (1,060 cases total)
  • 50-59 years-old: Seven new cases (981 cases total)
  • 60-69-years-old: Three new cases (652 cases total)
  • 70-79 years-old: Two new cases (430 cases total)
  • 80-89 years-old: Two new cases (527 cases total)
  • 90+ years old: Zero new cases (365 cases total)

The age of one person who has tested positive for COVID-19 is presently unknown.

CASES OF COVID-19 AROUND THE REGION

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s (EOHU) region climbed into the double digits on Saturday, according to provincial figures.

The province reports 13 more people in the EOHU have tested positive for COVID-19.

In the Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region, which is moving to the “Yellow-Protect” zone under the provincial framework, reported three new cases.

There are five new cases in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health’s region.

The Renfrew County and District Health Unit has added one new case.

No new cases were reported in the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit on Saturday.

INSTITUTIONAL OUTBREAKS

Ottawa Public Health is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at 27 institutions in Ottawa, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares, hospitals and schools.

New outbreaks were declared at Gabrielle Roy French public school, an Association Intégration Sociale d’Ottawa (AISO) location, the Garden Terrace long-term care home and the Ravines retirement home.

Outbreaks have ended at the Esther By Child Care Centre, St. Bernard School, St. Stephen Elementary School, an unspecified residential program and the Montfort Long-term Care Centre.

There are two open community outbreaks involving unspecified social events.

The schools and childcare spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Cedarview Middle School
  2. École élémentaire catholique Terre-Des-Jeunes
  3. École élémentaire publique Gabrielle Roy (NEW)
  4. Manordale Public School
  5. Ottawa Technical Secondary School

The long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and other spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Alta Vista Manor
  2. Amica Westboro Park
  3. Association Intégration Sociale d’Ottawa – 21034 (NEW)
  4. Beacon Heights retirement home
  5. Bearbrook Retirement Residence
  6. Bridlewood Trails Retirement Home
  7. Carlingview Manor
  8. Courtyards on Eagleson
  9. Extendicare Medex
  10. Extendicare New Orchard Lodge
  11. Extendicare Starwood
  12. Forest Hill long-term care home
  13. Garden Terrace long-term care home (NEW)
  14. Park Place
  15. Peter D. Clark long-term care home 
  16. Shelter – 20868
  17. St. Patrick’s Home
  18. Stirling Park Retirement Home
  19. The Glebe Centre
  20. The Ravines retirement home (NEW)
  21. The Ottawa Hospital Rehab Centre – Special Rehab – Ward B
  22. Waterford Retirement

A single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a long-term care home, retirement home or shelter triggers an outbreak response, according to Ottawa Public Health. In childcare settings, a single confirmed, symptomatic case in a staff member, home daycare provider, or child triggers an outbreak.

Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).   

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People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer – Pipestone Flyer

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OTTAWA — As the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Canada, the infection rate in Ottawa has been going in the other direction for weeks, putting the city on the right track to flatten the curve of the pandemic once again.

The city’s chief medical officer, Dr. Vera Etches, said much of the credit goes to the people who live here, who have been wearing masks — in some cases, such as on public transit, forced to do so earlier than others across Canada — and staying at home.

There was a time in early October when Ottawa, despite its initial success flattening the curve in the spring, experienced a spike in COVID-19 cases that saw the city have double the number of cases seen in Toronto and Peel Region at that time. Now the number of new cases is once again much lower than in those areas.

There were 55 new COVID-19 cases in Ottawa on Friday, which represents a bigger daily jump from earlier in the week but still puts the city at 5.89 new cases per 100,000 people. Toronto, meanwhile, reported 18.08 new cases per 100,000 people on Friday and in Peel Region it was 37.42 new cases per 100,000.

“It’s really thanks to the people in Ottawa, and thanks to the employers and others who are doing their part to make it possible,” Etches told a news conference this week, adding that people increased their distance from others, wore masks and stayed home when they were sick.

“These are the things that actually can bring COVID down in a community.”

Etches said Ottawa Public Health emphasized the importance of wearing masks early on in the pandemic and in June, the city became the first in Canada to make them mandatory on public transit.

“Building a new behaviour, a new culture where you always have a mask with you when you go out, that’s been in place a little bit longer, that might have helped,” she said.

Meanwhile, employers in Ottawa, a city of just over one million people, enabled people to follow the advice of public health officials by allowing them to work from home, and stay home when they were sick, more than in other cities, she said.

Twenty-four per cent of workers in Ottawa work in public administration jobs, according to Ottawa Employment Hub, the local workplace planning board. Some 120,000 people in the National Capital Region, which includes nearby Gatineau, Que., work for the federal government, which has allowed most of its employees to work from home since March.

“The federal government is leading by example,” said Lavagnon Ika, a professor of project management at the University of Ottawa.

He said managers and directors at the government were often reluctant to allow people to work remotely before the pandemic, but that has changed. “Because of COVID-19, people have learned (how) to make it work,” he said

Ika said information technology companies in Ottawa have also been allowing their employees to work remotely because they already have the technology to do so and their employees are trained to use it.

“If you don’t have a centralized information system for all your teams, it’s not possible to work at a distance,” he said. “I’m talking about the video conferencing tools and artificial-intelligence assistance tools.”

He said some of the high-tech companies in Ottawa had employees working remotely and customers from all over the world before COVID-19, listing homegrown e-commerce giant Shopify as one of them. “They badly need remote work because of a geographical distribution of some of their team members and their clients,” Ika said.

The well-integrated health care system in eastern Ontario has also helped in responding to the pandemic efficiently, said Dr. Robert Cushman, the acting medical director of health for the Renfrew County and District Health Unit near Ottawa.

“What you’ve seen in Ottawa, for example, is there’s very close work between the hospitals, and the public health unit and the city, and this extends out into the peripheral areas,” said Cushman, who was Ottawa’s chief medical officer from 1996 to 2005.

”We’ve been working together on this since the beginning,” he said. “There’s a lot of cohesion.”

Having all the hospital labs working together through a regional association when it comes to testing COVID-19 is another factor, Cushman said, as efficient testing is key to aggressive and thorough tracing of how the novel coronavirus spreads through contacts.

“Is your lab turnaround time sufficiently short so that you can actually catch up and even get ahead of this?” he said, adding that it has been challenging to do this across Canada and even in the rest of Ontario. “If you’re waiting six days for a test, I mean, this virus can get into a second (or) a third generation.”

There were plenty of stories about long lineups at COVID-19 testing sites in Ottawa in September once children headed back to school, but that has also improved, including through the ability to book testing appointments online.

Cushman said he also believes people in Ottawa tend to trust the public health unit and health professionals, which leads to more people following their guidelines.

“There’s a community spirit here to do the right thing,” he said.

But Etches warned people in Ottawa not to relax too much as COVID-19 cases in the city decline. She was speaking Tuesday, when Ottawa reported 19 new cases. On Friday, there were 55 new COVID-19 cases reported.

“We think we’re on the right track, but it’s very tenuous,” said Etches, who is telling families to celebrate Christmas and other seasonal holidays with only people in their immediate households to avoid potential COVID-19 outbreaks.

“Ottawa Public Health has had the highest rate of COVID in early October and we can go back there again.”

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