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Ontario records 1746 new COVID-19 cases today amid drop in testing – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The number of new COVID-19 cases in Ontario surpassed 1,700 once again today amid a significant drop in testing over the past 24 hours.

Ontario health officials reported 1,746 new infections today, up slightly from the 1,708 confirmed one day prior but down from the record 1,855 recorded on Friday.

The new cases come as the province reports a notable drop in testing today.

After surpassing 50,000 tests per day for three consecutive days, only 39,406 tests were completed yesterday.

According to provincial health officials, the test positivity rate provincewide is now 4.6 per cent, up substantially from 3.7 per cent on Sunday but on par with the positivity rate at this point last week.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases is now 1,570, up from 1,429 one week ago.

“These trends of course remain concerning. The fact that we have had record high numbers on Friday and continued high numbers over the weekend and today is troubling,” Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said at a news conference on Monday afternoon. 

“The question is will we be able to keep it there and come down or will we plateau and start going up again?”

COVID-related hospitalizations also climbed to 618 today, up from 601 on Sunday, with 168 of those patients now in intensive care.

A count of local public health units and individual hospitals puts the number of hospitalizations at 631.

Eight more virus-related deaths were recorded today, down from 24 on Sunday and the lowest single-day death toll since Nov. 20.

Two of the fatalities confirmed over the past 24 hours involve residents of long-term care facilities, the latest data from the province reveals.

Of the new infections today, 622 are in Toronto, 390 are in Peel, and 217 are in York Region.

Toronto’s total today is the highest single-day tally recorded in the city since the start of the pandemic.

Another 108 new cases were reported in Durham Region today, up from 73 one day prior.

GTA public health units account for nearly 80 per cent of all new COVID-19 cases in the province and today marks one week since Toronto and Peel Region entered a 28-day lockdown.

During the lockdown, restaurants can only remain open for takeout and delivery and non-essential retailers are only permitted to offer curbside pickup and delivery.

Gyms, casinos, and movie theatres have also been closed.

Residents are being advised to only gather with members of their household and only go out for essential purposes.

Tougher public health measures were introduced in five more Ontario regions today, including Windsor-Essex, which was placed in the province’s “red” zone.

Task force working on plan for vaccine rollout

Last week, the province released details of its COVID-19 vaccine task force, which will be responsible for the distribution of vaccines when they are approved and arrive in Canada.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott previously said she expects Ontario to receive a total of 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the first three months of 2021.

Recipients of the vaccine will require two doses 28 days apart, which means the first shipment Ontario receives will likely only be enough to inoculate 1.2 million residents.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that he expects most Canadians who want to be vaccinated will be able to do so by September 2021.

“I really think that if we have these vaccines landing on Canadian soil some time in very early 2021, like if it is the month of January, even in early February, I think this would be considered a huge success,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist, told CP24 on Monday morning.

“We are not making these vaccines here. We are really relying on companies in other countries to produce this and send it to us.”

He said early rollout of the vaccine in Canada will go a long way to protecting the most vulnerable.

“Even with that very first early batch of vaccines that are coming… you can do so much good with that. If we just vaccinate target populations, like people in long-term care facilities… right off the bat, you are going to just decrease the probability of so many people getting very, very sick, coming to hospital, and sadly dying,” he said.

“We can alleviate that, we can alleviate tremendous suffering at an individual level but we can also take off tremendous pressure from our health-care system… Even well before September we can do some tremendous good.”

New cases in the GTHA today:

Toronto: 622

Peel Region: 390

York Region: 217

Durham Region: 108

Halton Region: 35

Hamilton: 54

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COVID-19 Bulletin #321 – news.gov.mb.ca

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Need More Info?

Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.

Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.

Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-794-0732.

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BC records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths – Burns Lake Lakes District News

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B.C. public health officials reported 500 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, in line with recent results, as Fraser Health deals with an outbreak at Surrey Pretrial provincial prison.

Prisons and homeless shelters are among the priorities for B.C.’s immunization program after front-line health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care homes receive vaccine. There were 14 additional coronavirus-related deaths reported Wednesday, for a total of 1,104 since the pandemic began in B.C.

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said recent test results show “our COVID-19 curve is trending in the right direction,” as vaccine delivery is expected to slow until early February. B.C. is approaching 100,000 vaccine doses given.

B.C. public health officials reported 584 new cases in the 24 hours up to Saturday, another 445 up to Sunday and 301 up to Monday, a lower total that generally reflects fewer test results completed on Sunday. There were 465 new cases on Tuesday.

The case distribution for Jan. 20 continues the recent pattern, with 216 cases in the Fraser Health region, 125 in Vancouver Coastal, 91 in Interior Health (Okanagan and Kootenay region), 35 in Northern Health and 32 on Vancouver Island.

There were two new outbreaks reported in the health care system, at Acropolis Manor in Prince Rupert and Villa Cathay Care Home in Vancouver. Outbreaks at Guildford Seniors Village in Surrey, Maple Ridge Seniors Village, Mountainview Village in Kelowna and Village by the Station in Penticton have been declared over.

RELATED: Penticton, Kelowna outbreaks get COVID-19 clearance

RELATED: Virus spike in Fernie, North Okanagan seeing increase


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Province pushes on with huge revamp of health care amid pandemic – Winnipeg Free Press

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More than 1,600 workers battling the pandemic braced for more upheaval after the Manitoba government said it would forge ahead with the second wave of health-care restructuring.

Health Minister Heather Stefanson and Mental Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced the plan on Wednesday.

“Key information management and public health roles (will be) consolidated within Manitoba Health and Seniors Care, while an integrated mental health and addictions service (will be) established within Shared Health, Health and Seniors Care.”

“By establishing a solid foundation within Shared Health, we will be able to adopt new and improved ways of delivering care provincially, in ways that improve access to these vital services closer to home for many Manitobans,” Gordon said in a news release.

Responsibility will be given to Shared Health, or another entity to be established by government, for Cadham Provincial Laboratory, Selkirk Mental Health Centre, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba; as well as some employees who currently work in the Department of Health and Seniors Care, the Department of Mental Health, Wellness and Recovery; and the Department of Central Services. 

The changes were identified by the 2018 health system transformation blueprint, the province said, and the transfer won’t take place before May 20.

The reorganization represents yet another stressful challenge for health-care and front-line workers, who are coping with the challenges of COVID-19, says the head of the Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union.

“It is very concerning that this government would trigger such large-scale disruption for health-care staff and operations in the middle of the ongoing pandemic,” union president Michelle Gawronsky said in an email.

“Many of the impacted members are focused on processing COVID-19 tests. Others are providing mental health and addictions treatment at a time when we know the need for these services has never been greater,” Gawronsky said. Health workers are busy keeping the system going while it is under tremendous strain, she said.

“It is simply unconscionable that the government would add the disruption, anxiety, and risk associated with implementing large-scale restructuring on our health-care system,” Gawronsky said.

Critics said the timing of the announcement and the restructuring — on a day when the news media is focused on the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and during a pandemic — is telling.

“The government shouldn’t be using the pandemic as cover to try and sneak through significant changes to the health-care system they had planned long before COVID-19,” said NDP Leader Wab Kinew.

He’s especially concerned about “turning the management of Cadham lab upside down during the pandemic.” 

“I don’t think they should be making these huge changes to the very office that is doing the testing for COVID,” said Kinew. “It’s an opportunity for more mistakes to creep into our pandemic response.” 

Pushing ahead with  “transformation” while COVID-19 is raging is “absolutely irresponsible and reckless,” Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said. The timing of the announcement, he said, suggests the Tories don’t want much publicity.

“It’s inauguration day in the United States. It’s pretty clear what’s going to be the lead story tomorrow… It’s not going to be the fact that the Pallister government, in the middle of a pandemic, is still pursuing more upheaval and more changes to the health-care system,” Lamont said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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