Crude oil price fell further after the Energy Information Administration reported an inventory increase of 4.3 million barrels for the week to October 23.
This compares with a decline of 1 million barrels for the previous week, which helped prop up prices for a short while before concerns about demand prevailed once again amid surging Covid-19 cases in Europe and the United States.
At 492.4 million barrels, crude oil inventories are 9 percent above the five-year average for this time of the year, when demand declines for seasonal reasons, so more builds are to be expected.
Yet the biggest factor contributing to inventory movements right now remains the coronavirus, which is again infecting record numbers of people in the United States: the seven-day average of newly diagnosed cases for last week hit 70,000.
Against this worrying background, the EIA also reported a surprising inventory decline in gasoline inventories for the reporting period. At 900,000 barrels, the decline compared with an increase of 1.9 million barrels for the prior week.
Gasoline production last week averaged 9.1 million bpd, which compared with 8.9 million bpd a week earlier.
Distillate fuel inventories shed 4.5 million barrels in the week to October 23. This compares with a draw of 3.8 million barrels for the previous week. That draw followed an even heftier one for the first week of October in a rare good sign about distillate fuels.
Distillate fuel production last week averaged 4.1 million bpd, which was almost unchanged on the previous week.
Prices have been on the decline this week, pressured by the combined weight of a grim demand outlook and, yesterday, by the unexpectedly large oil inventory build reported by the American Petroleum Institute.
Some good news came from OPEC+, which is reportedly mulling over a delay in the next relaxation of production cuts, but at the same time, Libya said it plans to boost production to 1 million bpd, which largely offset the positive effect of the OPEC+ news.
At the time of writing, Brent crude traded at $39.11 a barrel, with West Texas Intermediate at $37.28 a barrel, both down by over 5 percent from opening.
NEWS RELEASE NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH ************************* Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 at various locations across Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are now listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.
Anyone who worked or visited the following locations on the specified date and time to immediately visit covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. People who book testing because they were at a site of potential exposure to COVID-19 are required to self-isolate before their test and while waiting for test results. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.
Agricola Street Brasserie (2540 Agricola St, Halifax) on Nov. 16 between 2:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.; Nov. 17 between 2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Nov. 18 between 2:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.; Nov. 21 between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and between 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.; Nov. 22 between 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Nov. 23 between 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 7.
*Corrected time* Orange Theory Fitness (6140 Young Street, Halifax) on Nov. 17 between 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Nov. 18 between 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.; Nov. 19 between 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m.; Nov. 20 between 8:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.; Nov. 21 between 7:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.; Nov. 22 between 8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6.
Two Doors Down (1533 Barrington St, Halifax) on Nov. 20 between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
Wendy’s Restaurant (720 Sackville Dr, Sackville) on Nov. 20 between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 4.
Antojos (1667 Argyle St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5.
Bicycle Thief (1475 Lower Water St, Halifax) on Nov. 21 between 7:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 5.
Lion’s Head Tavern (3081 Robie Street, Halifax) on Nov. 22 between 12:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6.
A&W Restaurant (1748 Bedford Highway, Bedford) on Nov. 22 between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 6.
Fit4Less (1535 Dresden Row, Halifax) on Nov. 23 between 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; and Nov. 25 between 6:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus at this location on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Dec. 9.
Please remember: Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so.
Currently, anyone travelling to Nova Scotia from outside of the Atlantic Provinces is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person travelling for non-essential reasons enters Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.
When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.
All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus *************************
Nova Scotia reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including one case at a Bedford school for children in pre-primary to Grade 4.
The student from Bedford South School is self-isolating, the Health Department said in a news release. Everyone in a class that a confirmed case attended will be tested and is required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The school was closed Friday for cleaning and contact tracing, and is expected to remain closed until at least Dec. 2.
All cases identified Friday are in the Central Zone. There are now 119 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.
Nova Scotia labs completed 3,109 Nova Scotia tests on Thursday.
An additional 1,142 tests were completed at the rapid-testing pop-up site Thursday in downtown Halifax, finding four positive results. Those people were told to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.
The provincial state of emergency has also been renewed. The order will take effect Sunday and extend to noon on Sunday, Dec. 13, unless government terminates or extends it.
If you have no symptoms, but recently attended a party with more than 10 people in someone’s home, went to a restaurant or bar that is open past 10 p.m., we are asking you to visit a rapid test popup site.
Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, reminded people Friday that rapid testing is an important part of the province’s testing strategy, but it does not replace the need for a standard lab test.
Including standard lab tests and rapid tests, the province has conducted more than 13,000 tests in the last six days.
Premier Stephen McNeil said a vast majority of those tests were young people in the 18-35 age group, the demographic representing the most COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia’s second wave.
“I want you to know how grateful I am,” he said Friday. “By showing up and stepping up, you’re protecting everyone around you and your community and that’s the best example of leadership. I want to sincerely thank you.”
1,058 ongoing investigations
When a person tests positive in the lab, Public Health employees investigate each close contact of that confirmed COVID case. There are 1,058 ongoing investigations in the province.
A week ago, that number was 276.
Strang said each positive case has an average of seven close contacts, but many cases have had considerably more than that.
Because of the work involved to complete contact tracing, it takes time for close contacts of positive cases to be contacted by Public Health.
“I ask for people’s support and patience during this. Public Health will get to you,” Strang said. “While you’re waiting, if you believe you’re a close contact, just stay isolated at home. We need your help on this.”
Strang said he’s “relieved” to see relatively low case numbers in the last few days, but expects to continue to see high numbers of new daily cases in the next week to 10 days.
“We’re just Day 2 into implementing our tight restrictions in the Halifax area. We’re by no means out of the woods yet,” he said.
Staff or patrons of bars or restaurants who were there after 10 p.m. do not need to self-isolate while awaiting a test.
But if a person was at one of the more than 100 recent exposure sites on any of the listed dates and times, they need to self-isolate while awaiting a test. On Friday night, the Nova Scotia Health Authority issued eight new notices for the Halifax area.
Essential travel only
Although the province has not changed its self-isolation rules for travellers from other Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotians are still being urged to only travel for essential purposes, including accessing health care and attending work or school.
“I’m sorry to say, shopping is not an essential purpose,” McNeil said.
Strang added to buy local, and buy online, if shopping needs to be done to help contain the second wave of COVID, which began Oct. 1.
“Wave 2 is clearly here in Halifax, and we’re trying to keep it in Halifax,” he said.
Truro police said in a Facebook post Friday they’ve received numerous calls from the public asking police to take action against people they believe travelled from the Halifax area to their community in Colchester County.
“While we appreciate concerns about the spread of COVID-19, this travel restriction isn’t in Public Health orders and cannot be directly enforced by police,” the post said.
Strang said the province is going to increase capacity at the primary assessment centre in Wolfville and is planning to have pop-up rapid-testing sites in place in that community early next week.
Rapid testing in long-term care
As of Friday, ongoing voluntary testing is being introduced in long-term care homes. Volunteers, designated caregivers, and employees who provide direct care to residents will be tested every two weeks.
The testing will start at three locations: Northwood, Ocean View, and St. Vincent’s. It will expand to six more facilities over the next two weeks.
“This is part of our effort to monitor, reduce, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. None of us need a reminder of how important that is,” Strang said.
Restaurants are closed for in-person dining for two weeks, but can do takeout and delivery. Gyms, libraries, museums and casinos are also closed.
A list of what’s open and closed in Halifax can be found here.
COVID cases in the Atlantic provinces
New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island have all brought back mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers. As of Thursday evening, Nova Scotia is still not requiring anyone travelling from the Atlantic provinces to quarantine.
The latest numbers from the Atlantic provinces are:
A deadly trend of COVID-19 continued in Manitoba on Friday, as health officials announced a near record-breaking number of deaths.
On Friday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer announced 14 more people have died of COVID-19. This is among Manitoba’s highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day.
“We continue to announce these deaths every day, we continue to announce higher numbers than what we can sustain,” Roussin said, adding in total, 280 people have died due to COVID-19 in Manitoba.
Along with these deaths, the province reported 344 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Manitoba since March to 15,632. These cases push the five-day test positivity rate in the province to 14.5 per cent.
The majority of the cases announced were in the Winnipeg region, which had 178 cases, and a test positivity rate of 14.2 per cent.
The other cases announced on Friday include:
15 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
73 cases in the Northern health region;
13 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
65 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.
INTENSIVE CARE NOW OPERATING AT 152 PER CENT CAPACITY
The province reported 310 more people have been listed as recovered, which brings the total number of recoveries to 6,487. Hospitalizations jumped by 15 on Friday, with a total of 322 people in hospital.
Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said as of midnight, the province’s intensive care units were operating at 152 per cent of its normal pre-COVID capacity. She said 46 people out of the 110 patients in ICU have COVID-19.
To free up inpatient beds, as well as redeploy staff to help with the surge of COVID-19 patients, the province has postponed 1,136 surgeries in the past month, Siragusa said.
While daily case numbers are no longer dramatically climbing, Roussin said they are staying at a level the province cannot maintain much longer.
ROUSSIN URGES MANITOBANS TO STAY HOME THIS WEEKEND
“The message has been clear and it’s been unwavering – it’s to stay home,” Roussin, asking Manitobans to stay home as much as possible this weekend.
He said there should not be any gatherings this weekend – including faith-based gatherings.
“The weekend is coming up, and so there is always those urges to get together with others, or to run non-essential errands,” Roussin said. “My ask to you is to stay home – stay home this weekend. Connect with people virtually, only out for essential reasons, don’t leave the province to go shopping, don’t do any non-essential activities.”
The deaths reported on Friday include:
A man in his 50s and a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region;
A man in his 50s and a man in his 70s from the Interlake-Eastern health region;
A man in his 70s from the Southern Health region;
Two women in their 80s, and a woman in her 100s from Winnipeg, whose deaths are linked to the outbreak at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre;
Two men in their 90s from Winnipeg, whose deaths are linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge;
A woman in her 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, whose death is linked to the outbreak at Fairview Home;
A man in his 90s from the Southern Health region, whose death is linked to the outbreak at the Rest Haven Nursing Home;
A woman in her 70s from Winnipeg whose death is linked to the outbreak at Parkview Place; and
A man in his 90s from Winnipeg whose death is linked to the outbreak at the St. Norbert Personal Care Home.
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