The B.C. government aims to have 150,000 people vaccinated by the end of February, says Dr. Bonnie Henry. About 70,000 people will be residents and staff of long-term care facilities. “Those are the people that we know need protection the most,” the provincial health officer said Monday.
Other priority groups for the first phase of vaccination include hospital workers, paramedics and people employed in public health (30,000 individuals), residents of remote and isolated Indigenous communities (25,000), and residents and staff of assisted living complexes (13,000).
In February and March, the government aims to vaccinate 400,000 more people; the largest component of this group is seniors over 80, and Indigenous people over 65, who live in the community rather than facilities.
A “mass vaccination strategy” targeted at the general public is expected to begin in April, with older people receiving top priority in descending five year increments under age 80. Overall, from mid-December through to the end of March, the government expects 549,000 British Columbians will have received their first COVID-19 vaccination shot, and about half of them will also have received the necessary second inoculation.
There are 5.1 million people in B.C. so the roll-out plan as presented by Henry would mean 10.7% of the overall population would be vaccinated by April.
“It’s a monumental task and there are many months to go in this,” Henry said. “We are constrained by logistics and also by how much vaccine we are receiving, but we are optimistic.”
From New Year’s Eve through Monday, a total of 2,211 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in B.C. Of that, 288 were in the region served by Interior Health.
Forty-five additional deaths were reported, including four in IH, making the total 946 since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
There are 351 people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19, or 23 fewer than there were on New Year’s Eve.
2 COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba as province announces 180 more cases – CBC.ca
There are 180 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba on Saturday and two more people have died from the illness, the province says in a news release.
The latest deaths are two men: one in his 70s from the Southern Health region and one in his 80s from the Winnipeg health region, the release says.
Just under half the new cases on Saturday — 83 — are in the Winnipeg health region, the release says. There are also 69 new cases in the Northern Health Region, which has seen a sharp uptick in cases this week due to outbreaks in several communities, health officials have said.
A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at the Lynn Lake Hospital, the release says, while an outbreak previously declared in Winnipeg’s Seven Oaks General Hospital’s 4U4-7 unit is now over.
Lynn Lake, a small northwestern Manitoba town of fewer than 500 people, was already dealing with an outbreak of its own. As of Wednesday, the community had 121 known active cases of the illness.
The health district that includes Lynn Lake now has a total of 145 active cases, according to the province’s data portal.
The remaining new cases are spread out between the Southern and Interlake-Eastern health regions (with 10 each) and the Prairie Mountain Health region (with eight).
The update comes one day after the provincial government asked people for their input on the possibility of lifting some pandemic restrictions next week.
Manitoba’s current public health orders banning most gatherings and the sale of non-essential goods are set to expire on Friday.
Because of a data error, one previously reported death has been removed from Manitoba’s totals, the release says. That brings the province’s COVID-19 death toll to 761.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate increased slightly to 10.2 per cent, up from 10 on Friday. In Winnipeg, that rate dropped from 7.2 per cent on Friday to seven per cent.
There are now 283 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Manitoba — down by one from Friday — including 36 who are in intensive care, one more than Friday.
The province reminded people to check restrictions in other regions before they go anywhere if they have to travel. In Ontario, new public health rules say people can only go to another residence or cottage in the province for less than 24 hours to do essential business, the release says. If they stay any longer, they may have to stay and self-isolate for 14 days.
There have now been 27,322 COVID-19 cases identified in Manitoba. To date, 23,575 are considered recovered, while another 2,986 are still listed as active — though health officials have recently said that number is inflated by a data entry backlog, and there are likely only about half as many active cases.
There were 2,043 COVID-19 tests done in Manitoba on Friday, which brings the total number completed in the province to 450,104.
Canada says first COVID-19 vaccine for refugees in Jordan offers glimmer of hope – Powell River Peak
OTTAWA — Canada’s international development minister says the world’s first inoculation of a refugee against COVID-19 this week is an important milestone in ending the pandemic everywhere.
Karina Gould told The Canadian Press in a statement that it was encouraging to see the rollout of new vaccinations because “it brings an early glimmer of hope to the most vulnerable people right across the globe as we fight this terrible pandemic.”
A woman living in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid who had fled northern Iraq became the first United Nations registered refugee to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.
Before the pandemic, Canada committed $2.1 billion in security, humanitarian and development funds to help Jordan and neighbouring Lebanon cope with the massive influx of refugees they face due to the crises in Syria and Iraq.
Since the pandemic began, Canada has committed more than $865 million to the ACT-Accelerator, a global effort to ensure low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to medical treatments during the pandemic. It has also committed $220 million to its partner initiative, the COVAX Facility, to help buy vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries.
“While we’re fighting for the health of our own citizens, I am committed to ensure we’re not leaving the rest of the world behind,” said Gould, who was appointed Friday as the co-chair of the COVAX international engagement group.
The appointment will see Gould working with the Indonesian foreign minister, the Ethiopian health minister and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has emerged in the last two decades as the major distributor of vaccines to poor countries.
“Canada has invested $865 million into global health efforts against COVID-19 and continues to make equitable access to a vaccine and health solutions to the pandemic a reality for all, including refugees living in precarious conditions,” said Gould.
In an updated mandate letter released Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Gould to work with new Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and other cabinet colleagues to “reinforce international efforts to ensure that people around the world have access to health interventions to fight COVID-19, including vaccines, therapeutics and strengthened health systems.”
Rema Jamous Imseis, the Canadian representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said if refugees aren’t vaccinated, they run the risk of infecting people in their host countries.
“If you want to defeat the pandemic, you have to include refugees in the vaccine rollout around the world,” she said.
“That’s sort of the bigger context and what we’re doing is calling on all governments, Canada included, to ensure that refugees and other displaced populations are included.”
Jordan is also the home to the Zaatari refugee camp, one of the world’s largest, less than 15 kilometres from the Syrian border. It is home to almost 80,000 people, including more than 40,000 children, fleeing the carnage of Syria’s decade-long civil war and the unrest sparked by Islamic militants in Iraq.
Canada has deployed hundreds of military personnel to northern Iraq and neighbouring Kuwait as part of a Western effort to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Canada supplies the commander of the NATO training mission in northern Iraq that is trying to professionalize Iraqi security forces to protect its own citizens from ISIL.
“COVID has essentially been an emergency on top of an emergency for refugees around the world,” said Jamous Imseis.
“Canada came out early and strong as one of the donors to the COVAX initiative,” she added.
“But we also need Canada to use its influence with his friends and other countries around the world to ensure that that basic principle of equitable and global access to vaccines for everyone is something that we’re all working towards.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.
Ontario reports 3,056 COVID-19 cases and 51 deaths as province adjusts vaccine plan over Pfizer delays – Toronto Star
Ontario reported another 3,056 COVID-19 cases and 51 more deaths Saturday as the province announced plans to account for a temporary cut to vaccine deliveries from manufacturer Pfizer beginning later this month.
The seven-day average for new cases fell slightly to 3,218 cases daily, or 155 weekly per 100,000, according to the province’s latest report released Saturday morning. Ontario’s seven-day average for deaths rose to 59.7 daily, a record for the second wave.
Ontario’s reported infection rate is down somewhat this week while the rate of fatal cases continues to near the highest levels seen so far — that daily average is just shy of the province’s worst period in the first wave in early May, when it hit nearly 62 deaths daily.
Ontario has administered 14,460 more doses of the vaccine since its last daily update, with 189,090 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. the previous night. The province also says 19,333 people have completed their vaccinations, which means they have had both shots.
On Saturday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the province will delay giving second doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to some patients after the pharmaceutical giant announced a production delay will cut deliveries to Canada by half early next month.
On Friday, Pfizer said it was cutting promised vaccine deliveries to several countries, including Canada, amid efforts to expand a production facility in Belgium. The move means that in the week of Jan. 25, Canada will see deliveries fall to about a quarter of the more than 200,000 doses it had expected, and to about half the schedule in early February.
Staff and residents of long-term-care homes and high-risk retirement homes who have already received their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine will receive their second dose within 27 days, Williams said in a statement. Everyone else who has been given their first dose will now get their booster shot between 21 and 42 days later, he said.
Anyone receiving does of the vaccine produced by Moderna will still get their second shot at the existing schedule of 28 days, Williams said.
There are 1,632 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, including 397 patients in intensive care. There are 281 people on ventilators.
Locally, Health Minister Christine Elliott says 903 new cases are in Toronto, 639 in Peel, 283 in York Region, 162 in Durham and 152 in Ottawa.
Meanwhile, 27 more residents in long-term care have died for a total of 3,112 since the pandemic began, in the latest report released by the province.
Ontario is reporting three more LTC homes in outbreak, for a total of 246.
There are 90 more active positive cases among residents than the previous day for a total of 13,104.
Additionally, there are 65 more staff members with an active case, for a total of 5,134.
Since the pandemic began, 10 staff members in Ontario’s long-term care homes have died due to the virus, according to the province.
This data is self-reported by the long-term care homes to the Ministry of Long-Term Care. Daily case and death figures may not immediately match the numbers posted by the local public health units due to lags in reporting time.
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