Ontario is reporting 119 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths Monday.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw tweeted the latest estimated COVID-19 numbers on Thursday, saying there are roughly 1,200 new cases of the virus in the province, based on 16,900 tests, for a positivity rate of seven per cent. While Hinshaw did not provide exact numbers, she said hospitalizations are increasing and the number of people being treated in ICU is stable.
Another preliminary update will be provided on Jan 1. Hinshaw’s next live update is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 5.
More than 100,000 Albertans have tested positive for COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.
Hinshaw said earlier in the week that declining case numbers are in part due to fewer tests, and hospitalizations and the positivity rate have remained high.
There are 921 people in hospital, 152 in intensive care, and another 18 have died for a total of 1,046 deaths.
Alberta is the first province to officially say the NHL can play games in its arenas for the upcoming season.
In a statement to The Canadian Press on Thursday, the Alberta government said it approved Edmonton and Calgary for competition on Dec. 25 following the review of protocols outlined in the league’s return-to-play plan, along with some additional enhancements.
That confirmation is the first from any of the five provinces with NHL teams since deputy commissioner Bill Daly stated on Dec. 24 that the league believes it can play games in all seven Canadian markets.
The Canadian teams will only play each other during the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs as part of a newly formed North Division, and won’t be crossing the border with the United States, which remains closed to non-essential travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alberta will not meet its goal to vaccinate 29,000 people by the end of 2020, government officials acknowledged on Tuesday.
The province is on track to vaccinate 7,000 people by end-of-day Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney said, with about 4,000 more vaccinations expected to take place over the next few days.
But that’s well short of the original promise of 29,000.
Kenney said that Alberta Health Services (AHS) had been holding back some vaccines for a second dose but will now move forward to vaccinate as many people as possible to catch up, including scheduling vaccinations on New Year’s Day. Retired nurses and students will also be brought in to help speed up the rate of vaccinations.
However, in mid-December, Health Minister Tyler Shandro had said no doses would be withheld.
Alberta has now received 16,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage. That means it can be offered more easily to residents at continuing care facilities. It will be delivered to sites in Calgary, St. Paul, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Edmonton, as well as six on-reserve First Nation living facilities.
After residents and staff of long-term care and supportive living facilities, immunization will focus on seniors age 75 and over, and residents age 65 and over of First Nations and Metis communities.
More than 1,000 Albertans have now died from COVID-19.<br><br>The first 500 died over a span of nearly nine months.<br><br>The next 500 died in just over one month. <a href=”https://t.co/CbLokhVJH3″>pic.twitter.com/CbLokhVJH3</a>
How did things go so wrong, so quickly in Alberta? It’s all about exponential growth, notes CBC investigative journalist Robson Fletcher.
Early on in 2020, Alberta was getting accustomed to looking across the country and feeling pride in its successful pandemic response, but now the province finds itself in uncharted territory. After keeping the disease relatively at bay for months, deferred decisions late in the year led to an unprecedented amount of illness and death.
Come winter, Alberta had the highest hospitalization rate in the country and test-positivity rates that were nearing 10 per cent. Thousands of people were told to do their own contact tracing after the provincial system was overwhelmed.
Medical experts and mathematicians tried to sound the alarm nearly two months ago about the trajectory the province was on. But the government was reluctant to impose new restrictions on Albertans’ liberties and economic activity. It rebuffed repeated calls for stricter public-health measures — for a time.
Meanwhile, the exponential growth continued unabated, with the number of new daily cases doubling every two to three weeks. Whether in response to the physicians’ warnings, or the fact that new case numbers were approaching the psychological barrier of 2,000 per day, the government eventually did act.
But by that time, the hospitalizations and deaths the province is now experiencing had been essentially baked in. Daily case counts have mercifully started to ebb, but the glut of disease that built up weeks ago is still filling more hospital beds and claiming more lives than Alberta has seen at any other point in the pandemic.
In a year of cancelled plans and postponed events,a Calgary couple decided to keep their wedding date despite COVID-19 restrictions by making it a drive-in event.
After a year-and-a-half of wedding planning, Chris Hibberd and Anistasia Mechefske were supposed to be married in front of 150 guests on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the couple, the pandemic threatened to derail their plans, but they eventually decided to get married anyway — and still found a way to include family and friends.
Hibberd and Mechefske were married in a masked 10-person ceremony at Flores & Pine restaurant in Bearspaw on Wednesday — while 28 cars full of wedding guests caught the ceremony on Zoom in the parking lot outside.
After a disastrous 2020, the Calgary Stampede is touting the slogan “we’ll ride again.” But there are still plenty of unknowns.
Just like the rest of the world, the organization was figuratively bucked off and stomped by a virus in 2020.
The president of the Calgary Stampede and chairman of its board of directors, Dana Peers, said talks with the federal and provincial governments on a financial aid package have not reached any conclusions.
“They’re certainly aware that we’re struggling as an organization and that we’re challenged just like everyone else is,” said Peers.
He says conversations are ongoing with the federal and provincial governments.
“They recognize certainly that we’re a unique organization. To date, there hasn’t really been any assistance programs that fit the Calgary Stampede and I really don’t know where those conversations will go in the future.”
Going through a pregnancy during the isolation of the pandemic has been emotionally and physically exhausting for many Alberta women.
And nearly 10 months after Alberta’s first presumptive COVID-19 case was confirmed, mothers across the province are giving birth to what some have dubbed the coronial generation.
Kennedy Amyotte’s first-born child will open her eyes to the world and see her mother’s face behind a mask.
For Amyotte, pregnancy during the isolation of the pandemic has been emotionally and physically exhausting. She spent weeks in quarantine following a COVID-19 diagnosis last month and wonders how she and her husband, Shane Flamond, will navigate parenthood in the uncertain months ahead.
Amyotte expects to tell her daughter about it someday, years down the road.
“I’ll tell her exactly how it is,” she said. “It was a very lonely and isolating time to bring you into the world.”
Amyotte’s daughter will be among the first in a wave of children conceived during the pandemic, and born just as the province shuts down again amid escalating caseloads.
“I’m actually really thankful that she’s not going to have a memory of this,” Amyotte, 30, said from her Edmonton home.
Alberta Health Services ordered a restaurant to close to in-person dining last week after an inspector reported finding people from different households sitting near each other, enjoying a self-service buffet and alcohol.
But the manager of Little Tavern Pizza Project, in the southwest Calgary neighbourhood of Strathcona Park, says it was actually a staff meeting.
“We never offered dine-in service to anyone from the 13th on,” said Keith Luce.
The province had ordered restaurants and pubs to close their dining rooms on Dec. 13, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.
Luce said the buffet the health inspector witnessed was a meal served for recently laid-off staff and was a chance to test new menu items.
“We were trying to make good on a bad situation,” he said.
Remembering some of the Albertans who have been identified as killed by COVID-19:
The winter holidays are usually the busiest season for air travel. But this year, about 80 per cent fewer travellers will pass through the doors of the Calgary International Airport in late December, according to the airport authority’s spokesperson.
About 50,000 travellers take off from or land at Calgary International Airport per day during the holiday season in an average year, said Reid Feist, spokesperson for the Calgary Airport Authority.
But this year, the holidays fall amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many jurisdictions have discouraged all non-essential to prevent further spread of the illness. As a result, the airport authority predicted that only about 10,000 travellers would go through the Calgary airport “for the period before Christmas all the way through New Year’s,” said Feist.
“For those who have to travel for essential travel reasons, the airport remains open. And of course, our focus is on everyone’s safety as they move through the airport or arrive at the airport,” he said.
The Calgary airport is facing a $67-million deficit this year thanks to the unprecedented drop in demand for air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews says the goal in 2021 is to get vaccines out and put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rear-view mirror, then work to fix a battered and beleaguered economy.
But with a $21-billion deficit and Alberta’s oil and gas economy still in flux, where’s the money going to come from?
“We will not cut our way out of a $21-billion deficit,” Toews said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press. “We have to get the economy growing again. And economic recovery will very quickly become job No. 1 as we start to get past the pandemic.”
At the start of 2020, Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government was busy trying to resuscitate an already suffering economy only to see COVID-19 blow everything apart and take with it Kenney’s key election promise to balance the deficit in his first term.
That goal is now a distant memory with a projected budget deficit this year tripling an original forecast of $6.8 billion. COVID-19 has slashed demand for energy, shuttered businesses and necessitated relief aid and job supports to keep people going.
Click on the map below to zoom in or out on specific local geographic areas in Alberta and find out more about COVID-19 there:
Here is the detailed regional breakdown of active cases updated as of Wednesday.
Find out which neighbourhoods or communities have the most cases, how hard people of different ages have been hit, the ages of people in hospital, how Alberta compares to other provinces and more in: Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics for Alberta — and what they mean
As of early Thursday morning, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 572,982, with 73,434 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 15,471.
Ontario’s finance minister has resigned following a return to Canada from a controversial Caribbean vacation during strict provincewide lockdown measures that urged Ontarians to avoid non-essential travel, Premier Doug Ford announced Thursday.
Rod Phillips said he deeply apologizes for his decision to travel abroad during this time and that there is nobody to blame but himself. He called the trip a “dumb, dumb mistake.”
“Obviously, I made a significant error in judgment, and I will be accountable for that,” Phillips said from Pearson airport in Toronto on Thursday.
“I do not make any excuses for the fact that I travelled when we shouldn’t have travelled.”
Premier Doug Ford said that he told the minister his decision to travel was “completely unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated again — by him or any member of our cabinet and caucus.”
Ontario, which went into lockdown on Dec. 26, is advising against non-essential travel.
Ontario and Quebec reported record high COVID-19 case numbers again on Thursday, with Ontario becoming the first province in the country to report more than 3,000 cases in a single day.
Ontario reported 3,328 new infections and 56 additional deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 4,530.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau is expected to provide more details Thursday about the new requirement for air passengers to test negative for COVID-19 before entering Canada. Cabinet ministers announced Wednesday that air passengers will soon need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arriving in the country.
Under the new rule, travellers must receive a negative result on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test — the standard nose swab test for detecting active COVID-19 infections — within 72 hours of boarding a flight back to Canada.
But many details — including the date the new rule will be in force and whether or how it could affect Alberta’s testing pilot program — were still being sorted out when the policy was announced this week.
Quebec reported 2,819 new cases of COVID-19 and 62 additional deaths. Hospitalizations stood at 1,175 with 165 people in the province’s intensive care units, according to a provincial dashboard.
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick added one new case; Prince Edward Island announced two, both travel-related; two Canadian Coast Guard vessels are docked in Dartmouth, N.S., after crews were exposed to people who tested positive; and Newfoundland and Labrador‘s active caseload remains at 18 after reporting no new infections.
In the North, the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Nunavut on Wednesday, on a scheduled Canadian North flight, though it will be another week before the territory announces details on how they will be distributed.
British Columbia Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 2,206 cases in the province since Christmas Eve, along with 74 deaths during that period.
With winter cold and influenza season upon us, Alberta Health Services will prioritize Albertans for testing who have symptoms, and those groups which are at higher risk of getting or spreading the virus.
General asymptomatic testing is currently unavailable for people with no known exposure to COVID-19.
Those who test positive will be asked to use the online COVID-19 contact tracing tool, so that their close contacts can be notified by text message.
The province says Albertans who have returned to Canada from other countries must self-isolate. Unless your situation is critical and requires a call to 911, Albertans are advised to call Health Link at 811 before visiting a physician, hospital or other health-care facility.
If you have symptoms, even mild, you are to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, until the symptoms have disappeared.
The province also operates a confidential mental health support line at 1-877-303-2642 and addiction help line at 1-866-332-2322, both available 24 hours a day.
Online resources are available for advice on handling stressful situations and ways to talk with children.
There is a 24-hour family violence information line at 310-1818 to get anonymous help in more than 170 languages, and Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence is available at 1-866-403-8000, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Ontario is reporting 119 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths Monday.
The province has now seen 549,447 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 9,316 people have died.
There are currently 96 patients in Ontario hospitals, with an additional 131 in intensive care units, and of those, 79 require a ventilator. (Ontario Public Health statistics of ICU hospitalizations and ventilator cases contain some patients who no longer test positive for COVID-19 but who are being treated for conditions caused by the virus. As such, occasionally, the number of patients in ICUs or that require a ventilator may exceed the number of patients in hospitals with COVID-19.)
Another 137 cases were resolved in the past 24 hours and of Ontario’s total case count, 538,702 are now considered resolved.
There were 11,930 tests conducted in the province Sunday with a 1.0 per cent positivity rate.
There were 22 cases identified in Toronto, 15 in Hamilton, 14 in Waterloo, and 13 in Peel region.
Officials in Ontario are also continuing to track the spread of variants of concern in the province.
There were 19 new confirmed cases of the Alpha variant, and there have now been 145,405 confirmed cases of that strain in Ontario.
Three new cases of the Delta variant were confirmed Monday, and there have now been 3,916 total cases of that variant in Ontario.
No new cases of the Beta or Gamma variant were identified in the province, according to Monday’s data.
Ontario’s vaccination rollout has now reached 80.4 per cent of eligible (12-plus) residents with one dose, and 66.7 per cent of residents have received both vaccine doses.
Another 65,920 vaccine doses were administered across the province on Sunday. As of 8 p.m. Sunday, 19,018,393 doses had been administered and 8,625,932 Ontarians had been fully immunized with both doses, according to the latest provincial data.
Ottawa Public Health is reporting seven new cases in the city and no new deaths.
There have now been 27,782 total cases in Ottawa and of those, 27,147 are resolved. There have been 593 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the city.
There are now 42 active cases in Ottawa, two fewer than Sunday, and there remains one patient in hospital, with none in ICU.
There have been 40 total cases of the Delta variant in Ottawa, according to provincial data.
There have also been 1,416,743 total vaccine doses administered in Ottawa.
According to OPH, 768,001 eligible residents (age 12-plus) have received one dose, and 638,520 are full vaccinated.
That represents 83 per cent of the eligible population with one dose and 69 per cent of the eligible population with both doses.
There was one new local case reported Sunday, and Ottawa has seen 27,775 total cases and 593 deaths, according to Sunday’s data.
Only one other case was identified Monday in the East region of the province, with one confirmed case in the Hatings region.
No new cases were identified in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, Kingston, Renfrew County or in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.
Premier Doug Ford is in Ottawa Monday to make an announcement at the Ottawa Hospital’s General campus, where will be joined by Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jeremy Roberts, Mayor Jim Watson, and Ottawa Hospital president and CEO Cameron Love.
The announcement is set for 1:15 p.m.
There have been 298 new cases in Quebec since the last provincial update on Friday, including 223 new cases over the weekend and 75 new cases confirmed Monday.
There have been 376,828 total cases in Quebec and 11,240 deaths. One new death was reported in Monday’s data.
Of those total cases, 364,774 people have recovered in Quebec and those cases are now considered resolved.
There are 67 patients in hospital in Quebec, which remains stable for the previous day’s figures, and there are 20 people in intensive care. That is one fewer than recent days.
Another 55,188 vaccine doses have been administered in the province, including 54,106 doses in the past 24 hours.
There have been 12,228,529 total vaccine doses administered in the province.
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If you don’t eat whole grain foods on a daily basis, consider rethinking your menu.
According to researchers from Tufts University in Boston, doing so can help you manage your waist size, blood sugar (glucose) and blood pressure as you age. And it doesn’t take a lot. The sweet spot, it seems, is three whole grain servings each day.
Repeated studies have linked higher whole grain intakes to protection against heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The latest findings, published earlier this month in the Journal of Nutrition, suggest that whole grains guard against chronic disease by reducing increases in risk factors that occur over time.
All grains – such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats – start out as whole grain kernels made up of three layers: The outer bran layer, which contains nearly all the fibre; the inner germ layer, which is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and healthy fats; and the starchy endosperm.
Eating whole grains and 100-per-cent whole grain foods means that you’re getting all parts of the grain kernel.
When whole grains are processed into refined flour, the bran and germ layers are removed, resulting in a loss of most of the fibre, one-quarter of the grain’s protein and a substantial amount of at least 17 nutrients.
The researchers compared how whole grain and refined grain intake affected changes in five risk factors for heart disease and stroke: waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, blood triglycerides (fats) and HDL (“good”) blood cholesterol.
They did so by assessing the diets and health of 3,121 middle-aged and older adults, every four years, over a span of 18 years. Participants were, on average, 55 years old at the start of data collection.
People who ate at least three daily servings of whole grains (versus one-half or less) experienced smaller increases in waist circumference. Over each four-year period, waist circumference increased one inch among those who ate few whole grains compared to one-half inch among those who ate more whole grains. The protective effect of whole grains on waist size was strongest in women.
Whole grain eaters also had smaller increases in fasting blood glucose and blood pressure over time.
With respect to refined grains (such as white bread, white pasta and white rice), the results revealed that people who ate four or more servings per day (versus fewer than two) experienced greater increases in waist circumference and smaller declines in blood triglycerides over the study period.
Eating fibre-rich whole grains can help you feel satiated and prevent overeating. The soluble fibre in whole grains can also help prevent spikes in blood sugar and insulin after eating. This may, in turn, favour fat-burning rather than fat storage.
Whole grains are also good sources of magnesium and potassium, minerals used to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. And many whole grains contain prebiotic carbohydrates, which fuel beneficial gut microbes.
One serving of whole grain is equivalent to one slice of 100-per-cent whole grain bread or one-half cup of cooked whole grain pasta or cooked whole grain (including oats, brown rice, farro, millet and hulled barley).
Read labels on packages of whole grain breads, crackers and breakfast cereals. If you don’t see “100-per-cent whole grain” listed, scan the ingredient list to make sure the product doesn’t contain refined grains (for example, wheat flour).
When buying rye bread look for ingredients that indicate whole grain such as whole rye flour, rye meal, rye kernels and rye flakes.
Don’t be fooled by claims of added fibre. Wonder White + Fibre bread, for example, isn’t a whole grain bread. Nor is Catelli’s Smart Pasta. Both are refined grain products with added oat hull fibre (and inulin in the pasta).
If you avoid wheat, rye and barley because they contain gluten, include gluten-free whole grains in your daily diet such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth and gluten-free oats.
Batch cook whole grains so that you have them ready to add to meals. Toss cooked quinoa, bulgur or farro into green salads; add barley, red rice or spelt berries to soups, stews and chilis; or make whole grain bowls with freekeh or brown rice.
Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is director of food and nutrition at Medcan. Follow her on Twitter @LeslieBeckRD
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Rumbling meteor lights up Norway, a bit possibly landing near Oslo – Euronews
Quebecers can get a 3rd COVID vaccine ‘at their own risk’ to travel to a country that requires it – Global News
COVID-19: Ontario reports 119 new cases, 7 in Ottawa; Premier Ford set to make announcement at Ottawa hospital – Ottawa Citizen
Vancouver Canucks place Jake Virtanen on waivers for purpose of buying out contract – ESPN
Biden Faces Fresh Challenges on Covid-19, Economy – The Wall Street Journal
After a Hillsong Church member who derided the vaccine online died of COVID-19, its founder called the shot a 'personal decision' – Yahoo Movies Canada
Jordan to vaccinate children aged 12 years and older against COVID-19 – Egypt Independent
Region of Waterloo reports first daily single-digit COVID-19 case increase since October – CTV Toronto