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COVID-19 variants will drive resurgence without stronger health measures, modelling warns – CBC.ca

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New modelling released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) warns that COVID-19 variants could drive a resurgence in coronavirus cases across the country without stronger public health measures to prevent their spread.

National data show the pandemic has been coming under control recently, with numerous key indicators such as case counts, deaths, hospitalizations and long-term care outbreaks declining over the past few weeks. But the modelling suggests the spread of more contagious virus variants could swiftly reverse that progress.

“With the emergence and spread of new variants of concern, we are cautioned that unless we maintain and abide by stringent public health measures, we may not be able to avert a re-acceleration of the epidemic in Canada,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam during a virtual news conference on Friday.

“These variants have been smouldering in the background and now threaten to flare up.”

WATCH | Tam releases COVID-19 modelling with virus variants:

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam releases new modelling that includes the impact of COVID-19 variants. 1:54

The average number of daily cases reported over the past seven days is roughly 3,000 — down from a January peak of over 8,000 per day.

Tam said there are now fewer than 33,000 active cases in Canada — a 60 per cent drop compared to a month ago — and the number of people dying each day from the virus is also down by 58 per cent.

At the same time, over 700 cases have been linked to three variants of concern — the B117 variant first identified in the U.K., the B1351 variant first identified in South Africa, and the P1 variant first traced to travellers from Brazil. Variant cases have been detected in 10 provinces and there is evidence of community spread in at least five.

Scientists believe these variants could be up to 50 per cent more transmissible. Recent modelling from Quebec and Ontario suggests they could become the dominant strains in the coming weeks. 

Cases could rise to 20,000 per day if restrictions relaxed

Short- and long-term forecasts that exclude the spread of COVID-19 variants show infection rates flattening and declining in the coming weeks, even if people maintain their current numbers of daily contacts.

But when the more contagious variants are included, projections show a dramatic spike in cases to 10,000 per day by the end of March if current restrictions are maintained. 

The modelling shows the epidemic curve taking an almost vertical path to 20,000 cases per day by mid-March if public health restrictions are relaxed even further.

“Further lifting of the public health measures would cause the epidemic to re-surge rapidly and strongly,” Tam said. “And current community-based public health measures will be insufficient to control rapid growth and resurgence as forecast.”

(Public Health Agency of Canada)

The dire prediction comes even as some provinces plan to reopen their economies in response to declining case counts. Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Manitoba have all decided to relax restrictions in recent days, allowing many non-essential businesses such as restaurants and gyms to reopen.

Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, went into a snap lockdown last week in response to an outbreak driven by the B.1.1.7 variant.

Tam said that kind of swift response is necessary.

“A rapid, decisive public health response by the province is what is needed to stop a variant of concern in its tracks,” said Tam.

Provinces that consider reopening should do so carefully and slowly, and make sure that proper surveillance testing is in place so that public health authorities can monitor the spread and respond accordingly, Tam said.

“Why would you ease your measures? Only if you’ve got the sequencing in place, you’ve got your testing to a good level, you know that when you’ve got a case you can contact their contacts,” Tam said. “If those things are not well in place, one shouldn’t be easing those measures.”

Tam said Canada has not yet vaccinated enough people to provide widespread protection, adding that even countries that have vaccinated more people have had to maintain strict rules to keep variants under control.

WATCH | Tam says COVID-19 resurgence likely if people ease off public health measures:

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam warns that a resurgence of COVID-19 is likely if people ease off public health measures. 2:18

At a press conference today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged provincial and territorial leaders not to relax public health measures too quickly.

“We need to make sure that — even as provinces look at loosening up certain restrictions — that other restrictions are kept in, and there is an ability to both respond quickly when variants appear and also an ability to use rapid tests as a way of screening the population much more regularly,” he said.

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Regina police issue second COVID ticket in less than 24 hours – News Talk 980 CJME

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For the second time in less than 24 hours, Regina police have issued a ticket for breaking COVID rules.

Officers gave one woman a $2,800 fine for participating in an outdoor gathering Saturday at about 2 p.m.

She and about 18 other people were protesting the province’s public health orders in Victoria Park.

Current COVID measures ban outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.

This follows a ticket issued Friday night, when a Regina man was fined for gathering nine people in his home.

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A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on March 5, 2021 – The Record (New Westminster)

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The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:00 p.m. ET on Friday, March 5, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 85,376 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,253,514 doses given. Nationwide, 561,238 people or 1.5 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,946.061 per 100,000.

There were 8,190 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,622,210 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 85.94 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 4,472 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,757 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.279 per 1,000. In the province, 1.61 per cent (8,427) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 35,620 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,105 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 13,281 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 83.724 per 1,000. In the province, 3.32 per cent (5,273) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 6,657 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 38,676 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.631 per 1,000. In the province, 1.48 per cent (14,395) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 62.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. In the province, 1.56 per cent (12,142) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 19,975 new vaccinations administered for a total of 510,479 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 59.659 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 638,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 35,886 new vaccinations administered for a total of 820,714 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.872 per 1,000. In the province, 1.83 per cent (269,063) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,358 new vaccinations administered for a total of 84,937 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 61.682 per 1,000. In the province, 2.17 per cent (29,847) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 8,190 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 124,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,789 new vaccinations administered for a total of 86,879 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.679 per 1,000. In the province, 2.37 per cent (27,945) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 116.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 9,488 new vaccinations administered for a total of 275,719 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 62.634 per 1,000. In the province, 2.06 per cent (90,486) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 100.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 12,357 new vaccinations administered for a total of 311,208 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.646 per 1,000. In the province, 1.69 per cent (86,865) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 385,080 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 1,279 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,437 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 465.769 per 1,000. In the territory, 17.00 per cent (7,093) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 102.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. In the territory, 10.10 per cent (4,558) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 158 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,911 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 359.216 per 1,000. In the territory, 13.28 per cent (5,144) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 58.21 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Giving scarce vaccines to those who need it most the moral thing to do – mississauga.com

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Mississauga.com

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