Ottawa Public Health recorded 132 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the province’s municipal hot spots continue to generate significant numbers of new infections.
OPH also reported five new deaths. There have now been 328 COVID-related deaths in Ottawa since the start of the pandemic.
According to figures released Sunday by Public Health Ontario, the number of confirmed cases in the province increased by 977 in the preceding 24-hour period. That represented a 3.7 per cent decline from the previous day’s total of 1,015 new cases.
Nine more people died from the respiratory virus, bringing Ontario’s COVID-19 death toll to 3,145.
Toronto again reported the most cases – 238 – and was followed by Peel Region (238), Ottawa and York Region (113).
The latest numbers were published as government officials contemplate easing restrictions imposed in the the province’s COVID-19 hotspots.
On Friday, Premier Doug Ford said the public health restrictions imposed Oct. 10 were designed as a short-term answer to rising case counts in those regions.
“I truly believe if we didn’t make this decision … we would be having a different conversation today,” Ford told reporters. “We’d be having a conversation possibly like France or Spain.”
Spain, France, England and Germany have imposed national lockdowns because of soaring COVID-19 caseloads.
In Ontario, the government closed gyms and theatres, and banned indoor dining at restaurants and bars in the hot spots while also imposing new rules on the size of social gatherings. The restrictions were imposed for a 28-day period that’s scheduled to expire on Nov. 6.
A key factor in determining the extent to which restrictions will be eased will be the state of the province’s hospitals.
According to provincial statistics published Saturday, 320 people were in hospital with COVID-19, 73 of those in intensive care units. One day earlier, 312 people were in hospital with the same disease, 75 of those in ICUs.
Eastern Ontario reported nine new cases Sunday, while the district health units in Renfrew County, and in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark each recorded two new cases. No new cases were reported in the previous 24 hours in Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington.
Quebec recorded 965 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, down from the 1,064 new cases reported one day earlier by the province.
Montreal was again the region that added the most infections — 247 — followed by the Montérégie (138) and Lanaudière (118).
Outaouais reported 35 new cases Sunday, for a total of 2,514 since the pandemic began. There were two more deaths, bringing the regional toll to 45.
Six new deaths were reported across Quebec on Sunday, adding to the 15 reported one day earlier.
A total of 496 people were in hospital with COVID-19 in Quebec on Sunday, seven fewer than the previous day. Among those in hospitals, 84 were in intensive care.
Quebec has recorded a total of 106,981 COVID-19 cases during the pandemic.
While his daughter and her Grade 3 class were cleared to return to school on Monday, his son’s Grade 2 class must self-isolate for 14 days, even though the youngster himself was among those who tested negative.
The weekend’s testing blitz at Thorncliffe Park Public School — the first Toronto District School Board (TDSB) location selected for the voluntary testing pilot announced last week — saw 14 classes affected and sent home for two weeks. However, the rest of the school will remain open, according to direction from Toronto Public Health.
Nadaf is rolling with it, saying he believes teachers and staff have been trying their best to maintain health and safety precautions and protocols.
“What can we do? This is going on everywhere in the world,” he said. “They try their best, but at the same time they cannot prevent it completely.”
The goal is to improve tracking of the coronavirus and prevent transmission within schools, as well as to inform future public health decisions. While parents and health experts seem to be applauding the pilot, some are also highlighting shortcomings in how it’s being rolled out.
Over the weekend, testing also began in Ottawa at Manordale Public School, part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Amber Mammoletti, an occasional teacher working at two schools this fall, dropped by on Sunday to be tested with her son, Flynn.
“I think there’s people walking around not realizing they have it — no symptoms — so it’s just better to keep everyone safe: Get tested if you can and see what happens,” she said.
WATCH | How testing helped Cornell University become a model of COVID-19 prevention:
At the start of the school year, Cornell University implemented a strategy of regular testing and robust contact tracing on campus. The plan was expensive, but it’s prevented any major COVID-19 outbreaks at the New York institution. 8:19
School boards are working with local public health authorities to determine which schools to target over the next four weeks, but the expectation is that new positives will undoubtedly emerge, TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said.
“The 19 cases we’ve learned about over the weekend [at Thorncliffe Park PS] as a result of the testing is a concern, but it’s not unexpected,” he said Monday.
“While this information is concerning, it really is the information that our public health officials need to know, because it gives them a better snapshot of how many of those asymptomatic people are positive cases of COVID.”
Despite the batch of positive cases arising from this first weekend, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce reiterated his assertion that “99.9 per cent of Ontario students are COVID-free” during a press briefing on Monday afternoon.
Acknowledging that “we still have work to do” in tracking COVID-19 cases in communities, he characterized the new testing initiative as an extension of the existing safety measures his ministry had announced.
“The fact that hundreds of children, students and staff have gotten tested [at Thorncliffe Park PS] in conjunction with the local public health unit I think underscores that the plan in place is … working hard to mitigate any further spread: identifying COVID cases, isolating them or moving them from the school, so we don’t have spreaders within the school.”
‘Canaries in the coal mine’
A targeted campaign of testing in schools — which in most neighbourhoods are considered trusted, known places — is a welcome tool that adds to the barometer of what’s happening in the communities they’re located in, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton.
“Parents who may not be encouraged to go get tested in their local communities will readily take their kids to the school, which is a place they know,” he said.
“Things like this are going to be canaries in the coal mine. You kind of get a better sense of what’s happening in the community by doing these local testing strategies.”
He added the caveat, however, that the type of test being used will likely cause more chaos for families and schools.
For the pilot, Ontario is using PCR testing, which detects the genetic material of a virus. Although considered the gold standard, it’s also so sensitive it would “pick up kids who are infectious, as well as kids who were infectious two, four, six weeks ago,” Chagla said.
He suggested that they could have chosen rapid antigen tests, which flag active infections by identifying proteins on the surface of infectious virus particles.
The rapid antigen tests may offer a more precise picture “of who is really a threat to the community versus who had COVID six weeks ago, where they’re not really a threat,” Chagla said.
WATCH | Nova Scotia offers rapid COVID-19 tests in Halifax for asymptomatic cases:
Health officials in Nova Scotia offered rapid COVID-19 testing in Halifax to reduce the virus’s spread in the province by catching asymptomatic cases. 2:01
Though Toronto parent Jessica Lyons welcomes the introduction of asymptomatic testing, she said it comes months late and should be offered more widely.
“This is desperately needed,” said the mother of two school-aged children and an organizer with the Ontario Parent Action Network.
“Much more testing in schools — to make it accessible, to make it easy for parents and families and students to do — is really essential. So we support this pilot, obviously, but we think that it should have come … weeks and weeks ago, and it needs to be expanded.”
Back in Thorncliffe Park, among the Toronto communities hardest hit by COVID-19 this year, parents in the neighbourhood expressed concern about the new positive cases found through the testing initiative. But they’re also adamant about one thing: their schools staying open.
Remote learning last spring was “really hard for kids. We’ve seen the mental stress on our child and other kids,” said Osamah Aldhad, father of a second grader who he said really missed being at school.
“When we were kids, you know, we used to run away from school,” Aldhad noted.
“Now they’re actually really wanting to go to school, which is really important for them.”
The CHEO Assessment Centre atBrewer 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
With files from CTV News Toronto’s Miriam Katawazi and CTV’s Ottawa News Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello.
Tragically, this past weekend has proven to be the most fatal time period that B.C. has witnessed during the course of the pandemic so far, with the largest number of deaths over a three-day period.
Meanwhile, new case counts remain high and the number of active and hospitalized cases continue to climb.
There were also five new healthcare outbreaks, and 14 stores and 23 flights with confirmed cases.
Henry explained that the process is “arduous” and involves many epidemiologists across the province, and that as case numbers increase, the process becomes even more challenging.
The data error announced on November 25 was rectified over the weekend, with changes reflected in today’s case numbers.
Accordingly, Henry said that they will be further automating their process, which will allow epidemiologists to spend more time on understanding the outbreaks and clusters in the community.
She said the daily numbers are important but that they look more at trends rather than individual days, which she has explained in the past can reflect a number of factors.
She said they will be adding the seven-day rolling daily average and talking more about it in the coming weeks to help people understand it.
At today’s in-person briefing, Henry provided updates for the past three time periods:
750 new cases from November 27 to 28;
731 new cases from November 28 to 29;
596 new cases from November 29 to 30.
In addition, due to the correction to the data-reporting error from Fraser Health (based on a technical issue which has since been rectified), there were an additional 277 historical cases added.
Accordingly, there was a total of 2,354 new cases (including 10 epi-linked cases) over the weekend period.
The new case count includes, by region:
1,365 new cases (including 277 historical cases) in Fraser Health;
212 in Interior Health;
73 in Northern Health;
58 in Island Health;
one person from outside Canada.
Active cases have increased by 383 cases since November 20, rising to a total of 8,855 active cases as of today.
At the moment, there are 316 people in hospital (15 more than November 20), with 75 of those patients in intensive care units (six more than November 20).
One area that has decreased is the number of people being monitored by public health—the number dropped by 291 people since November 20 to 10,139 people today.
A total of 23,111 people have now recovered.
Sadly, B.C. had 46 deaths over the past three days, which Henry said is the highest-ever count. She also said that about 80 percent of the deaths were people in longterm care facilities. The eldest person who died this past weekend was 103 years old, Henry said.
Of the 46 deaths, Dix said there were:
15 deaths from November 27 to 28;
17 deaths from November 28 to 29—which establishes a new high;
14 deaths from November 29 to 30.
The previous record was 13 deaths on November 26, which all three of the past days surpassed.
Dix also explained that 35 of those deaths in Fraser Health with the other 11 deaths in Vancouver Coastal Health.
The total number of deaths is now at 441 people who have died during the pandemic.
B.C. has recorded a cumulative total amount of 33,238 cases, which includes:
21,070 cases in Fraser Health;
8,850 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
1,750 in Interior Health;
845 in Northern Health;
629 in Island Health;
94 people from outside Canada.
Unfortunately, there are five new healthcare outbreaks:
Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead (4579 Chatterton Way) in Victoria, where Island Health stated that one staff member has tested positive and is limited to one unit;
St. Judes Anglican Home (810 W 27th Avenue) in Vancouver, where Vancouver Coastal Health imposed restrictions on November 26;
Lakeview Care Centre (3490 Porter Street) in Vancouver, where Vancouver Coastal Health imposed restrictions on November 26;
Fleetwood Villa (16028 83rd Avenue) in Surrey, where Fraser Health stated the one resident has tested positive;
Mountainview Village (1540 KLO Road) in Kelowna, where Interior Health stated that one resident and one staff member tested positive, and that the outbreak applies to both east and west units on the second floor.
In addition, one facility that wasn’t on Henry’s list was PICS Assisted Living Centre (12075 75A Avenue) in Surrey, where Fraser Health stated today that one resident and one staff member have tested positive.
One healthcare outbreak has been declared over: Louis Brier Home in Vancouver.
Henry said there are active outbreaks in 57 longterm care facilities and five acute care units for a total of 62 healthcare facilities.
She also said there are 1,338 active cases (847 residents and 487 staff) involved in healthcare outbreaks.
Fraser Health declared one community outbreak at Newton Elementary (13359 81st Avenue) in Surrey, which has been temporarily closed for two weeks.
The list of schools with new exposures will be published in a separate forthcoming article.
Over the past three days, there have been 14 stores with employees who have tested positive.
Sobeys announced that four of its Safeway locations had staff members who tested positive:
one employee who last worked on November 18 at the 1766 Robson Street location in Vancouver;
one employee who last worked on November 19 at the 1780 East Broadway location in Vancouver.
one employee who last worked on November 24 at the 2101 Lahb Avenue location in Vancouver;
one employee who last worked on November 26 at the 6564 East Hastings Street location in Burnaby.
In addition, Sobeys announced an employee who last worked on November 18 at the FreshCo location at 7165 138th Street in Surrey tested positive.
Meanwhile, Loblaw announced seven of its stores had staff members who tested postive.
One employee who tested positive last worked on November 23 at Joti’s No Frills (310 West Broadway) in Vancouver.
Another employee who tested positive last worked on November 25 at Your Independent Grocer (1255 Davie Street) in Vancouver’s West End.
The remaining five stores were Real Canadian Superstore locations, including:
two employees who last worked on November 18 and 21 at the 2332 160th Street location in Surrey;
two employees who last worked on November 19 and 23 at the 3185 Grandview Highway location in Vancouver;
one employee who last worked on November 23 at the 8195 120th Street location in Delta;
one employee who last worked on November 23 at the 2280 Baron Road location in Kelowna;
one employee who last worked on November 24 at the 14650 104th Avenue location in Surrey.
Meanwhile, T&T Supermarket reported that a backroom employee who last worked on November 26 at the Metrotown location (147–4800 Kingsway Avenue) in Burnaby has tested positive.
Canadian Tirereported an employee who tested positive last worked on November 16 at its Prince George location (5008 Domano Boulevard).
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) added 23 flights to its lists of flights confirmed with COVID-19:
November 15: Air Canada 45, Delhi to Vancouver;
November 15: Air Canada 114, Vancouver to Toronto;
November 17: Air Canada 314, Vancouver to Montreal;
November 17: Air Canada 8421, Kelowna to Vancouver;
November 18: Air Canada 202, Vancouver to Calgary;
November 19: Air Canada 103, Vancouver to Toronto;
November 19: Air Canada 114, Vancouver to Toronto;
November 19: Air Canada 225, Calgary to Vancouver;
November 20: Flair 8102, Calgary to Vancouver;
November 22: Aeromexico AM696, Mexico City to Vancouver;
November 22: Air Canada 1126, Kelowna to Vancouver;
November 22: WestJet WS139, Calgary to Vancouver;
November 22: Air Canada AC311, Montreal to Vancouver;
November 22: WestJet Flight 3455, Calgary to Abbotsford;
November 23: Air Canada AC854, Vancouver to London;
November 24: Air Canada Flight 554, Vancouver to Los Angeles;
November 25: United Airlines Flight 5312, San Francisco to Vancouver;
November 25: Cathay Pacific 865, Vancouver to Hong Kong;
November 25: United Airlines 1641, Denver to Vancouver;
November 26: Air Canada AC121, Toronto to Vancouver;
November 26: Air Canada AC8081, Vancouver to Victoria;
November 27: Air Canada AC0044, Vancouver to Delhi;
November 27: Air Canada 8417, Kelowna to Vancouver.
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