New Brunswick health officials held a rare weekend COVID-19 update as they announced a new record for the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the province in a single day.
The province reported 23 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.
Sixteen of the new cases are located in the Saint John area, six are located in the Moncton area and one is located in the Fredericton area.
There are now 71 active cases in the province as of Saturday.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, spent the meeting calling for the province to make a “renewed commitment” to beating back COVID-19.
“We can’t go on as if our case numbers are low,” said Russell.
The province says it has been able to trace all recent cases to a source and that they do not think there is community transmission in the province at this time.
Coronavirus: COVID-19 outbreak declared at Tucker Hall residential facility in New Brunswick
Saturday was the third-straight day that the province has provided an update on the status of the virus, a sign of how serious they consider the state of the virus in New Brunswick.
Russell stressed that the number of new cases is not unique to New Brunswick and is similar to the second wave being experienced across Canada and the world.
The 23 cases could be the result of actions taken 14 days ago and that’s why Russell said the actions New Brunswickers take now can change what happens next.
“This is not the time for friends and families to gather,” the province’s top doctor said.
Russel said officials completed 421 COVID-19 tests at the Shannex facility in Saint John as a result of the outbreak she declared at the facility’s Tucker Hall building on Friday.
Three of the new cases reported on Saturday are a result of the tests conducted at Shannex, officials said.
That means there are now four active cases at Tucker Hall. One employee has tested positive and three residents have also tested positive, according to a statement on Shannex’s website.
Russell said on Friday that “superspreaders” were the source of the increasing case numbers in Saint John.
Higgs ‘not afraid’ to shut down businesses
Premier Blaine Higgs and health minister Dorothy Shephard joined Russell at the weekend update, on Saturday.
Higgs said he was “not afraid” to shut down businesses if they are found to be breaking COVID-19 regulations.
He said that police organizations are going to be stepping up enforcement while businesses will be checked-in on.
Coronavirus: N.B. zone 2 moved to orange level restrictions amid rise in cases
The premier warned that the entire province could be shifted to the orange zone if necessary.
There are 71 active cases of the virus in the province and as of Saturday there is one person in the hospital but no one is in intensive care at this time.
There have been six deaths connected to the coronavirus.
New Brunswick has completed 115,234 COVID-19 tests.
There have been 424 cases in the province since the pandemic began, 347 of which are considered to be resolved at this time.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
COVID-19 vaccine call centres flooded with 1.7 million calls on first day – Vancouver Is Awesome
B.C.’s health minister is pleading with British Columbians not to ring up COVID-19 vaccine call centres unless they’re eligible to book an appointment for a shot.
Adrian Dix revealed Monday (March 8) call centres meant for booking vaccine shots have been flooded with 1.7 million calls since launching at 7 a.m.
Fewer than 100,000 British Columbians are currently eligible to book — 47,000 people 90 years old or above, and 35,000 Indigenous people 65 years or older.
“If you’re not in those categories, please don’t call us today so that we can continue to proceed through those appointments. We’ve got five days to do it, there’s going to be lots of time,” Dix said during a media briefing.
“Remember, this is not first come first serve, that there’s going to be appointments available all week.”
Initial bookings are to be done through dedicated call centres for the province’s five local authorities and family members are able to book on behalf of seniors who may not feel comfortable scheduling their vaccinations on their own.
Fraser Health is the only health authority providing online bookings.
Booking eligibility will expand to those 85 years and older by March 15, and 80 years and older by March 22.
Vaccinations for elderly British Columbians begin March 29 as the province continues to prioritize vulnerable groups and frontline health-care workers for vaccinations over the next three weeks.
Dix said an online booking platform will be ready to launch April 12 as the province begins vaccinating the broader population with more doses expected to be pouring in from manufacturers.
Details on the province’s online platform remain sparse and provincial officials said one week ago more information would be made available in the coming weeks.
The call centre will ask British Columbians for their legal name, date of birth, postal code, personal health number and current contact info.
Call centre workers will not be asking for financial info, such as credit card details.
Instructions for call centre bookings and local health authority call centre numbers are available at gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst.
City of Toronto launches website for booking COVID-19 vaccinations – MobileSyrup
The city of Toronto has launched a website for booking and registering for COVID-19 vaccinations ahead of the province’s upcoming centralized online system.
Only eligible individuals are allowed to register at the moment. The website outlines that the availability of vaccination appointments depends on vaccine supply.
Provincial prioritization guidance states that people who are 80 years of age or older, health care workers in high priority risk groups and Indigenous adults are eligible for vaccinations right now.
Eligible individuals can use the website to either book an appointment or pre-register for when an appointment becomes available. You can book an appointment through the website, through a chat room or by phone.
The municipal government says the website is being used until the provincial government launches a centralized online registration website, which is currently in the works and set to roll out on March 15th.
Last month, the Ontario government provided a proposed timeline for when residents can start accessing the online booking system once it launches. Those who are age 75 and above can access the system starting April 15th, residents aged 70 and above can start May 1st and those who are 65 and older can begin June 1st.
The proposed schedule will be in place as long as the supply of vaccines remains steady. It’s also worth noting that although the booking system is expected to open for eligible people during these windows, it will likely take some time to get an appointment reserved.
Ontario is behind other provinces in launching the online booking system, as residents in Alberta and Quebec are already able to start booking appointments online.
You can access the city of Toronto’s booking website here.
Proof of pre-existing illness not required for COVID-19 shot, health minister says – 680 News
Ontario’s health minister says people won’t be asked to provide proof of their pre-existing health conditions to access a COVID-19 vaccine during the second phase of the rollout.
Christine Elliott says she believes most people will come to the clinics when they are permitted and not take advantage of the honour system.
The vaccine will be offered starting in April to people with specific health conditions like organ transplant recipients, those living with obesity, and those receiving treatments that suppress the immune system.
Elliott says local public health units will screen people as they arrive at the clinics and may be able to check with a person’s family physician, but that will not be mandatory.
“We haven’t run into very many of those situations,” she said. “People are following the rules, they are coming in at the appropriate time, they’re being very patient, and they want to make sure that people who are the most at risk are going to be given their vaccinations first.”
Vaccinations among the highest-priority Ontarians, including long-term care residents and staff, are wrapping up, and some local public health units have already begun offering shots to the broader public, starting in many cases with those over age 80.
First vaccine doses were completed as of Monday in 31 fly-in Indigenous communities, in what the province called a “milestone” in its effort to provide protection against the virus in remote areas. Ontario aims to complete second doses in those communities by the end of April.
Meanwhile, Ontario has reported 1,631 new cases of COVID-19 today, but the government says the case count is higher than expected due to a “data catch-up process” in its system.
The province also recorded 10 additional deaths linked to the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 568 of the new cases are in Toronto, 322 are in Peel Region, and 119 are in York Region.
Ontario said 994 more cases were resolved since the last daily update.
The numbers come as a stay-at-home order in Toronto, Peel Region, and North Bay lift today, loosening pandemic restrictions imposed nearly two months ago.
The three regions were the last ones still under the order, and are transitioning back to the government’s colour-coded pandemic response framework.
Toronto and Peel entered the strictest “grey lockdown” category, something local public health officials asked for in both regions.
Even those strict measures, however, allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leave gyms and personal care services closed. Restaurants, meanwhile, can only offer takeout, drive-thru, or delivery.
Some restaurant owners said they won’t be able to survive much longer unless they’re allowed to reopen for on-site dining, even at a limited capacity.
“Move us to the red zone (of the pandemic system) so we have a fighting chance. Even 14 days in grey lockdown could mean the end of my business and many others,” Regan Irvine, owner of the Irv Gastropub in Toronto, said in an open letter to officials issued last week.
“Over the last year, my mother and I have depleted our life savings to try and keep the restaurant afloat. We have cashed RRSPs, drained savings accounts, maxed out credit cards, and maxed out lines of credit because the government assistance programs simply aren’t enough.”
North Bay is now in the “Red Zone,” the second most restrictive level of pandemic measures.
Elliott said the government is taking a “safe and cautious approach” to ending the provincewide shutdown, which started in January.
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