FREDERICTON – New Brunswick faced another bleak day in terms of Covid-19 news on Monday. Premier Blaine Higgs and Dr. Jennifer Russell confirmed that the province has 15 new active cases of Covid-19 and one more person has died because of the virus.
“I want to send my sincere condolences to the family and the friends of this individual,” said Higgs. “Our thoughts are with you and our province grieves your loss.”
Monday’s press conference came in wake of the huge news the PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador are opting out of the Atlantic Bubble for at least two weeks. Higgs assured people that New Brunswick, for the time being, will remain in the bubble with Nova Scotia.
But even though New Brunswick remains in the bubble, Higgs pleaded with his residents not to travel anywhere unless it is absolutely required. Under the circumstances, Higgs said this is an opportunity to support local businesses for holiday shopping this year.
“Now is not the time to travel to other areas, or do to your holiday shopping,” said Higgs. “We need to shop local. It’s not only time to protect ourselves… it’s a time to support businesses in each of the provinces.”
Higgs may be asking for folks to support businesses financially, but in recent days he has come down hard on the business community, warning business owners that they can be fined or shut down if rules aren’t followed. On top of that, Higgs, on Monday, told restaurants that they are responsible for making sure that they “don’t seat people together who don’t live together.”
Restaurants and other establishments will have the additional responsibility of asking customers for identification, in order to ensure that people are staying within their bubbles when going out to eat. It will also allow contact tracing to be easier if a patron contract Covid-19.
“It’s disappointing to learn that during contact tracing some people have not been giving their real names and contact information when they’ve been asked,” claims Higgs.
Higgs also said that inspectors and police officers are making sure businesses and other establishments are following public health guidelines. The Premier said more than 30 people have already been issued fines recently, most for not wearing a mask.
For parents wondering whether schools will soon be shut down, Dr. Russell said that won’t be happening yet. Those closures would happen if an area was moved to the “red” stage. She also said risk assessments are done on a school-by-school basis.
Higgs was also questioned on Monday about the concerns people have over getting evicted in the middle of the pandemic. Reports have recently surfaced of people losing their homes and having nowhere to turn. When pressed, Higgs said the government has no plans to bring back a ban on evictions.
“We caution that landlords should be very prudent in the exercise of such activities because this is a unique situation, especially being in ‘orange’…and we don’t need to add strain and stress into the community… but at this stage, we don’t have a particular change in our rules to govern that.”
4 more deaths, 118 cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba as Roussin hints at easing restrictions – CBC.ca
Manitoba announced 118 cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Monday, the 11th consecutive day the province has recorded single-digit deaths.
The latest deaths are connected to current outbreaks, including a man in his 80s at the Rod McGillivary Memorial Care Home in Opaskwayak Cree Nation in the Northern Health Region.
The other three deaths are in the Winnipeg health region — a man in his 60s linked to the outbreak at the Southeast Personal Care Home, a woman in her 70s linked to the outbreak at Concordia Place and a woman in her 80s linked to the outbreak at Health Sciences Centre WRS3.
Of the 118 cases, 46 are in the northern region, which has been the location of many of the new cases in the past week.
The Winnipeg Health Region is nearly equal with 45.
There are 11 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region, nine in the Southern Health region and seven in the Prairie Mountain Health region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.6 per cent provincially and 7.3 per cent in Winnipeg.
“The actions and hard work by Manitobans continues to make a difference. We see our numbers having some way of fluctuating over the days, but we see they’re headed in a good direction,” said Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.
“Today’s numbers continue to be encouraging [but] we’re definitely not out of the woods. We certainly still have a long way to go before we can return to normal.”
WATCH | Manitoba ‘many months away’ from return to normal: Dr. Roussin
New outbreaks have been declared at Golden Door Geriatric Centre and Golden West Centennial Lodge in Winnipeg. Both sites have been moved to the critical (red) level on the province’s pandemic response system.
Meanwhile, outbreaks are now declared over at Heritage Lodge personal care home and Calvary Place Personal Care Home, both in Winnipeg.
There are 3,108 active cases in the province (officials have said that number is inflated due to a data entry backlog) and 289 people are in hospital with COVID-19 — a drop of three from Sunday.
The number in intensive care has dropped to 35 on Monday from 39 on Sunday.
The total number of deaths in Manitoba due to COVID-19 is now 773.
Roussin was asked if the decrease in hospitalizations was enough to begin easing the current code red public health orders.
While the numbers are trending in the right direction, there are still many reasons to remain cautious, he said.
“There is still that demand on our health-care system. It is just now getting back to some of those elective procedures [which had been suspended],” Roussin said.
“So we do have to be cautious, but we do think that we’re in a position to start with some loosening of the restrictions.
“We’ll have some more details on that as the week goes on.”
The existing orders expire Friday night.
Last week, the province launched an online survey to gauge public perspective on the risk of contracting COVID-19 and how comfortable people are with easing some restrictions.
Roussin couldn’t say on Monday how many people have filled it out but “from initial reports, Manitobans were highly engaged.”
He expects more details to be released tomorrow or soon after and said he would give businesses notice as early as possible of any changes that affect them.
Roussin was asked if the new orders might include an increase in faith gatherings but said he didn’t want to speculate on the specifics.
Regardless of what changes are made “we are many months away from a place where we can start thinking about getting back to anything resembling being normal,” he said.
Don’t relax yet: Lamont
Manitoba Liberal Party leader Dougald Lamont said he was a little worried with the tone coming from Monday’s announcement, which suggested things are vastly improving.
It’s not so if you look a little closer, he said.
For instance, the outbreak in the north — specifically Lynn Lake — is concerning because “the hospital is on the verge of being overwhelmed,” he said.
And that is also bad news for Winnipeg because the majority of intensive care units in the province are located in the capital city.
“So we shouldn’t relax or let down our guard at all … because all of those people, ultimately, have to be treated here,” Lamont said, and that could still put strain on the health-care system.
He also expressed “extreme” concern about the low number of daily COVID-19 tests being conducted — just 1,322 on Sunday.
“We really don’t understand it. Months and months ago we were promised 3,000 tests a day and that is not happening,” he said.
Roussin mentioned Monday that Manitoba has not yet detected any cases of either the South African or U.K. coronavirus variants, “but we’re watching quite closely.”
Lamont said that wait-and-see approach has been a problematic one, which left Manitoba scrambling when the second wave hit in the fall.
He wants to see the province step up and start preparing for the variants rather than reacting only once they arrive.
“We need to be vigilant,” he said. “We need to be testing people for the COVID variant at airports and even at truck stops, if possible.
“Over and over again this has been the gang that can’t shoot straight when it comes to planning,” Lamont added, noting the Tories have still not released a vaccination rollout plan to the public.
Orillia hospital to temporarily lead Roberta Place nursing home in controlling COVID-19 outbreak – Global News
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has issued an order that will allow Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital to temporarily lead Barrie, Ont.’s Roberta Place long-term care home in controlling a COVID-19 outbreak that has left nine dead.
According to the local health unit, 63 residents and 53 staff members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Testing is also being done to determine if the COVID-19 U.K. variant played a part in the Roberta Place outbreak.
“This outbreak unfortunately has spread very rapidly and affected a large number of the residents and staff,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health.
“The leadership of OSMH, together with a number of other agencies and organizations, is necessary to bring it under control.”
Moving forward, Orillia, Ont.’s hospital will temporarily provide leadership support to Roberta Place by working with other local organizations that have been helping to control the outbreak, including the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, County of Simcoe and Georgian College.
These organizations have been helping to make sure that staffing, training, equipment and supplies are in place so that Roberta Place can continue to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“For the past week, we have had the support of a dedicated human resources team, who have worked diligently to secure the highest quality staff to offset possible gaps at our home,” Stephanie Barber, the community relations coordinator at Roberta Place, said in a statement Sunday.
Coronavirus: Ontario projections show long-term care deaths could reach up to 2,600 deaths by Valentine’s Day
“Team members from many of our other long-term care homes, along with our regional operations team, have been deployed to further support the home.”
The Canadian Red Cross has also been deployed to support Roberta Place in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The situation at Roberta Place is tragic and heartbreaking to all of us in Barrie,” local mayor Jeff Lehman said on Twitter Monday.
“Yesterday, in speaking with public health and others involved in the response, I know a major effort is underway to provide staff and support to Roberta Place.”
At this point, Lehman said the best thing people can do is “stop community spread” so it doesn’t reach long-term care.
The COVID-19 outbreak at Roberta Place was declared on Jan. 8. As of Monday, the local health unit says all residents and staff have been tested for the virus.
According to the local health unit, 71 residents who weren’t sick and a number of other staff at Roberta Place received the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday through a mobile immunization unit.
Staff and essential caregivers at long-term care homes in Simcoe County and Muskoka have been receiving their COVID-19 vaccine doses at Barrie’s immunization clinic since it opened on Dec. 22, 2020.
Over the last several weeks, COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Simcoe Muskoka, with seniors age 80-plus having the highest infection rate.
Coronavirus: Ontario to complete long-term care home vaccinations in high-risk zones in upcoming weeks
— With files from Global News’ Ryan Rocca
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Ontario and Quebec report one-day drop in number of new COVID-19 cases – Kamsack Times
MONTREAL — Some provincial authorities saw encouraging signs in the fight against COVID-19 on Monday, even as experts warned that it’s too soon to draw conclusions from the data and urged Canadians not to relax their efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
Officials in both Quebec and Manitoba noted that case numbers have dropped slightly in recent days and suggested that their populations’ efforts to control the virus could be paying off.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, said case numbers in his province appeared to be dipping.
“We’re definitely not out of the woods,” he told a news conference as the province reported 118 cases.
“We certainly still have a long way to go before we can return to normal.”
Roussin said the province is looking at easing some restrictions in the coming days, but that any changes would be gradual.
Quebec reported 1,634 new COVID-19 cases, which included about 200 from the previous day that weren’t noted because of a delay.
The province had broken the 3,000-case mark in early January and has a seven-day rolling average of more than 1,900 cases a day.
Health Minister Christian Dube noted on Twitter that the Quebec City region in particular had seen a decline in the number of new infections recently, which he saw as a sign that “the sacrifices that we’re asking of Quebecers are bearing fruit.” However, he asked Quebecers to continue their efforts in order to reduce the number of hospitalizations, which rose Monday after three straight days of decline.
Universite de Montreal public health professor Benoit Masse said it will take another week or two to know whether the downward trend will be sustained and to gauge the impact of the recently imposed curfew. He said the province should know more by Feb. 8, when curfew restrictions are set to lift.
Ontario also reported its lowest number of COVID-19 cases since early January, with 2,578 new infections, but the province completed a little more than 40,000 tests Sunday, compared with more than 60,000 the day before.
Nova Scotia also reported no new cases for the second time this month.
The news was less positive in New Brunswick, where the Edmundston region entered the province’s highest pandemic-alert level, ushering in new restrictions on businesses in the region after a record-breaking number of new cases on Sunday.
The province reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday after Sunday’s all-time high of 36.
Ontario announced that a new hospital set to open in Vaughan, Ont. would be used to relieve a capacity crunch because of rising COVID-19 admissions. Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott said the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital would add 35 new critical care beds and 150 medical beds to the province’s bed capacity.
Hospital capacity has been a concern in many provinces, with doctors in Ontario and Quebec being told to prepare for the possibility of implementing protocols to decide which patients get access to life-saving care in the case of extreme intensive care unit overcrowding.
Nationally, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are still increasing, according to Canada’s chief public health officer.
Dr. Theresa Tam noted that hospitalizations tend to lag one or more weeks behind a surge in cases.
“These impacts affect everyone, as the health-care workforce and health system bear a heavy strain, important elective medical procedures are delayed or postponed, adding to pre-existing backlogs,” she wrote in a statement.
She said an average of 4,705 COVID-19 patients a day were being treated in Canadian hospitals during the last seven days, including an average of 875 in ICUs.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021
— With files from Steve Lambert, Shawn Jeffords and Sidhartha Banerjee
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