Ontario is reporting a new record number of COVID-19 cases for the second consecutive day and there are now more people hospitalized with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus than at any other point during the pandemic.
The Ministry of Health says that there were 2,923 new cases confirmed on Tuesday, pushing the rolling seven-day average up to 2,309. That is a slight increase on this time last week when it stood at 2,304.
The nearly 3,000 new cases reported over the last 24 hours do represent a big jump on then record 2,553 that were reported just one day prior, though.
It also comes as testing continues to lag behind the levels seen in recent weeks.
On Tuesday the province conducted just 39,210 tests, pointing to a positivity percentage of 8.4 per cent.
It was the third straight day that a positivity rate above eight per cent was reported.
Meanwhile, the spread of the virus continues to accelerate in the GTA.
Toronto Public Health reported a record 1,069 news cases in the city on Wednesday. The province uses a different cut off time for its data but also reported a new record number of infections in Toronto – 998.
There was also a record 408 new cases reported in York Region while Peel Region reported another 441 new cases, Durham Region reported 158 and Halton Region reported 114.
“The numbers are very disconcerting,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said during an interview with CP24 earlier on Wednesday morning. “They are still alarming and they are still putting a huge strain on the healthcare system so there is nothing good about them. The numbers are just not good.”
Nearly 1,200 COVID patients now hospitalized
The latest data indicates that there are now 1,177 people hospitalized with COVID-19, eclipsing the peak seen during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring (1,043) for the first time.
A daily Critical Care Services Ontario report obtained by CP24 also indicated that 335 COVID-19 patients are now being treated in intensive care. That represents nearly 20 per cent of all patients in the ICU.
Some hospitals, however, have been hit harder than others.
At Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga the number of patients receiving treatment in the ICU exceeds the baseline number of beds available and more than half of them have COVID-19.
The same is also true at Humber River Hospital, where 23 of 46 beds in the ICU are now occupied by COVID-19 patients.
In Toronto 70 COVID-19 patients are being treated in intensive care units, though there remains some theoretical capacity with only 348 of 459 available beds filled as of late Tuesday night.
Of course health officials have said that staffing resources are a bigger issue than bed availability at this point, meaning that the strain being felt by hospitals is sometimes not fully illustrated by the numbers.
“Just to lay the numbers out in wave one we had a total of 1,228 patients with COVID-19 go through Ontario’s ICUs during that entire wave and as of Dec. 27 1,252 patients have been through Ontario’s ICUs with COVID-19 during the second wave. So we have exceeded our wave one total in four months instead of the five months and things are getting worse,” Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, told CP24 on Wednesday. “We are tracking above the worst case scenario in terms of trajectory and I am highly concerned that access to non-COVID care will come more limited in the weeks and months to come.”
19 more deaths
A number of hospitals have already cancelled elective surgeries and procedures but officials have said that about 85 per cent of the care in ICU is critical and cannot be postponed.
Speaking with CP24, Warner said that while the province has ordered the closure of non-essential businesses it can’t “legislate what happens behind closed doors in peoples homes,” which could be a “big source” of transmission.
“The seven-day average is going to be 2,500 and when school resumed in September the seven-day average was 209 in terms of COVID cases in Ontario. So it is inconceivable that we could open things up in a week or two weeks,” he said.
On Wednesday, the province also reported another 19 deaths in people who contracted COVID-19, including 12 among long-term care home residents.
There was also another four outbreaks reported at long-term care home, pushing the total number of active outbreaks in that setting to 200.
Pakistan deeply appreciates US announcing it will send 3 million Moderna doses through COVAX: FO – Geo News
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Friday Jul 23, 2021
The government on Friday said it “deeply appreciates” the United States’ announcement that it is sending three million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through the United Nations’ COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.
“The government and the people of Pakistan deeply appreciate the announcement by the White House to ship three million doses of Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through COVAX,” read a statement by the Foreign Office.
Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added: “These vaccines will give a boost to the ongoing vaccination drive in Pakistan.”
“This considerate gesture is part of the continued assistance that the US has provided to Pakistan to support our COVID relief and prevention efforts,” he said.
“We look forward to our continued cooperation with the US in our fight against the pandemic,” the statement added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had announced last month that the Biden administration is donating 80 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of June.
“Thanks to the President’s commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to Peru from the United States, and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will ship to Pakistan,” Psaki said.
The shipment of 2.5 million doses landed in Pakistan on July 2, making it the first time the Moderna vaccine had arrived in the country.
Subsequently, the government had announced the availability of the Moderna vaccine at select vaccination centres across the country, starting July 5.
Criteria to qualify for the Moderna vaccine
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has outlined the criteria that must be met by the recipient of the Moderna vaccine.
The vaccine will be administered to the following categories, provided they are 18 years of age or older and have NOT received any other currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
A. Those with comorbid conditions, e.g diabetes, hypertension, congestive cardiac failure, renal failure, chronic liver disease, malignancy, etc.
– Those who are chronically immunosuppressed
1. Post organ transplantation, the patient may receive the vaccine 3 months after
2. Post chemotherapy, the patient may receive the vaccine 28 days after chemotherapy.
B. Individuals with a mandatory requirement of vaccination for travel
– Overseas workers who have a mandatory need for travel for employment overseas with valid work visas/iqama in a country where Chinese vaccines are not accepted at present
– Those travelling for official or business purposes
Women who are pregnant and lactating, falling under the above-listed categories CAN receive the Moderna vaccine.
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Ontario reports slight increase in new COVID-19 cases, per cent positivity rate rises – CTV Toronto
Ontario is reporting a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the province’s per cent positivity rate rises.
Officials are reporting 172 new cases of COVID-19 today with two additional deaths.
The province reported 170 new cases on Saturday and 192 on Friday.
The seven-day rolling average remains at 159, compared to 153 a week ago.
Provincial labs processed more than 13,902 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of at least 1.1 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.
The province’s virus-related death toll stands at 9,313.
Another 144 people recovered from the disease yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.
Right now, there are 88 people in hospital current infected with COVID-19 and 127 patients being treated in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health.
The hospitalization data presented by the province has been skewed over the past several weeks, which may be explained by a delay in patient reporting.
Where are the new cases?
Officials are reporting 48 new cases in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, 11 in Durham Region and 11 in Hamilton.
Update on COVID-19 variants of concern
The Ministry of Health is reporting 131 new cases of the Alpha variant Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 145,386.
Officials reported 16 new cases of Delta variant, B.1.617.2, Sunday and the case total is now 3,913.
Three cases of the Beta variant, B.1.351, were also recorded. So far, there have been a total of 1,492 cases of the Beta variant reported in Ontario.
As for the Gamma variant, P.1, two new cases were recorded today. The total number of Gamma variants recorded in Ontario is now 5,142.
The province said it administered 103,812 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Saturday.
Throughout Ontario’s seven-month vaccination campaign, over 18.9 million needles have gone into arms.
As of Sunday, 8,569,752 people have received both doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated.
The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.
Rio Tinto smelter workers go on strike in Kitimat, B.C. – Business News – Castanet.net
Approximately 900 Rio Tinto workers at the company’s aluminum smelting facilities in Kitimat, B.C. have gone on strike.
The walkout began today at one minute after midnight. Unifor Local 2301, which represents the workers, had issued a 72-hour strike notice after nearly seven weeks of negotiations.
Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President, says the strike comes down to what he calls “Rio Tinto’s greed and lack of respect” for the union members working at the Kitimat smelting facilities.
The union says it has proposed the first changes to workers’ retirement income and benefit levels in more than a decade, including moving younger workers to defined benefit from defined contribution pension plans.
It also says negotiations have focused on a backlog of more than 300 grievances resulting from the company’s use of contractors and its refusal to hire full-time workers.
Bargaining had continued up until the strike deadline, and the company had earlier said that it was “committed to working with the union to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.”
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