That’s the highest single-day count since May 21.
VICTORIA — The looming prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 this fall has governments cautiously monitoring daily infection rates as economies restart and students return to school.
A widespread return of economic and social restrictions that closed businesses and schools and cancelled public events in March is not the preferred option, but there may be no choice, say health officials.
Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said Canadians should brace for more restrictions and shutdowns if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, even without the arrival of a second wave.
“There could still be a large increase in cases related to behaviour and that gives government opportunity to go, ‘OK, what are we going to change now to get the transmission back under control?’” she said. “That’s where government will need to focus.”
British Columbia ordered the immediate closure of nightclubs and banquet halls last week after daily COVID-19 case numbers were consistently above 100, with many infections traced to young people out socializing at events where alcohol was served.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also ordered bars, pubs, lounges and restaurants to cut off alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m., unless serving only food.
Henry said she took “draconian” measures in March to slow infections, and closing nightclubs and halls is a necessary step now.
“I think we need to all start rethinking about what we need to do to get us through the next few months as a community together, and these are some of the things that we’ll need to put aside for now,” she said at a news conference.
The province also announced several measures in addition to the fines, including the banning of karaoke and obliging bars to keep registers of clients as infection numbers rise.
Toronto shuts down three King Street restaurants after COVID-19 violations – The New Hamburg Independent
Separately, Toronto Public Health issued a notice Saturday to patrons of Warehouse on Yonge Street, where seven people — five employees and two customers — recently tested positive for the virus. An estimated 1,700 people are believed to have visited the venue between Sept. 10 and 17, and the health unit said it has followed up with all known close contacts during that period. Those who have not been contacted by health officials are considered low risk.
A Toronto resident who asked not to be named told the Star she reported King Taps to public health authorities earlier this week, after socializing with an employee who later informed her they had tested positive for the virus after a workplace exposure.
In response to questions from the Star, a spokesperson for King Taps said it had “absolutely not” pressured any employees to work while sick and it said it goes to “great lengths” to screen workers before each shift. The restaurant is “not aware” of any employees working at multiple establishments.
King Taps is now conducting a deep cleaning of its premises and a “review of on-site practises and protocols.” Its statement said guests who visited the venue on Sept. 6, 9,10 and 11 “may wish to contact Toronto Public Health.”
While the restaurant said it would work with authorities to determine a reopening date, it said it was also “seeking clarification” about the order to close. A company spokesperson forwarded the Star a copy of an audit conducted by TPH dated Sept. 22 that described its health and safety, screening, and disinfection measures as “satisfactory.” The report said “education” was provided about physical distancing measures at the establishment, and that the restaurant was advised to use directional arrows on the floor.
In an Instagram post Friday night, MARBL said it would be closed for the weekend due to “unforeseen circumstances.” In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the restaurant said it was “fully complying” with health officials’ orders.
“We have done everything within our power to protect staff and guests and now we must reassess and work alongside public health to ensure a safe and prompt reopening. We will be keeping everyone apprised of any updates and next step,” the statement said.
Earlier this summer, MARBL attracted criticism — and an investigation from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario — when a video appeared to show a crowded indoor party that violated COVID-19 regulations. Last week, a staff member tested positive for the virus, according to CP24.
A spokesperson for Casa Mezcal said they could not comment on the order to close.
Toronto reported more than 200 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. According to the Star’s daily count, the city has averaged 167 new cases each day this week, the highest seven-day average since early June. The province moved this week to tighten restrictions on bars and restaurants, including implementing an 11 p.m. last call.
“New data shows that unsafe social activity at a select number of bars and nightclubs is contributing to the rise in COVID-19 cases in our city. That’s why our Medical Officer of Health is taking swift action to shut down four high-risk establishments until further notice,” said Joe Cressy, councillor for Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York and Toronto Board of Health chair.
Earlier in the week, the Board of Health unanimously passed a motion to request detailed, publicly available information on workplace outbreaks from TPH. Medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa said the health unit was exploring how to provide data in “a manner that appropriately protects privacy.”
“Right now, we need to stop the spread of COVID and keep people safe while also making it possible for kids to go to school, people to go to work and public services to operate safely,” Cressy said in a statement Saturday.
“This isn’t easy, but together we can do this.”
Sara Mojtehedzadeh is a Toronto-based reporter covering labour-related issues for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @saramojtehedz
Quebec reports 698 new COVID-19 cases, seven more deaths – Wiarton Echo
Quebec has recorded 698 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest single-day count since May 21 — bringing the province’s total to 71,005 as of Saturday.
Seven new deaths have been reported, all of which occurred between Sept. 19 and 24. The province’s death toll now stands at 5,821.
The number of hospitalizations increased by 18, for a total of 217. Of those, 33 were in intensive care.
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19 new coronavirus cases reported in Saskatchewan, hits single-day testing record – Global News
Winnipeg police say a woman has died and several other people have been injured in a collision involving a vehicle that was fleeing police.
The crash happened at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the area of Salter Street and Boyd Avenue, police said in a statement.
According to police, officers tried to pull over a vehicle for a traffic stop but the driver “took off at a high rate of speed.”
Seconds later, the vehicle hit another car in the nearby intersection of Andrews Street and Boyd Avenue.
Four people in the vehicle that was struck — including an infant and a child — were sent to hospital. A woman who was in that vehicle has died from her injuries, police said.
Two people from the vehicle that had fled police were also transported to hospital.
No injuries reported after school bus crashes into hydro pole in downtown Winnipeg
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, which investigates serious incidents involving police, has been called to investigate.
In a press conference Saturday evening, Winnipeg Police Const. Rob Carver said that almost everyone in the collision was in either serious or critical condition.
“Incredibly tragic, we’ve got an infant in the vehicle, a child in the vehicle, a woman who was killed in this crash, tragic all around,” said Carver, who also stressed that the incident was not a result of a police pursuit.
“We pulled up, we attempted to have this vehicle spoken to, and the vehicle fled. We did not pursue it.”
For the two people in the fleeing vehicle, Carver said he does not have an idea on their injuries, but that they will at some point be taken into custody “when their medical condition allows for that.”
“In the space of less than half a minute … what started out as a routine incident ended up with multiple people in the hospital and a woman killed, and these people were not connected at all.”
— With files from Global News’ David Lao
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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