Ontario reported another 1,670 cases of COVID-19 and the deaths of 45 more people with the illness on Friday, as the province’s labs logged a test positivity rate not seen since October.
The new cases include 667 in Toronto, 317 in Peel Region, 125 in York Region and 100 in Halton Region.
The total for Toronto, however, includes 125 previous cases that were missed when the local public health unit migrated its data to Ontario’s centralized COVID-19 tracking system, the Ministry of Health said.
The new cases come as labs completed 62,710 tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and reported a provincewide positivity rate of 2.5 per cent — the lowest it has been since Oct. 22, 2020.
The 45 additional deaths push Ontario’s official COVID-19-linked toll to 6,438.
Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in new cases were:
- Waterloo Region: 64
- Durham Region: 46
- Ottawa: 46
- Hamilton: 45
- Simcoe Muskoka: 43
- Niagara Region: 41
- Windsor-Essex: 28
- Middlesex-London: 26
- Brant County: 20
- Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 19
- Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 17
- Southwestern: 16
- Eastern Ontario: 11
(Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.)
The seven-day average of new daily cases fell to 1,576, the lowest since late November. It has been in steady decline since its peak at 3,555 on Jan. 11.
Further, the number of confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario fell to 15,722, down from a high of more than 30,000 last month.
Speaking yesterday, Ontario’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said that, generally, many indicators are on a “downward trend” in the province.
“But at the same time, we’re not out of the woods on these issues,” he cautioned.
Of particular worry are the “variants of concern” of the virus currently circulating in Ontario. The province said as of yesterday, it had confirmed 156 cases linked to variants: 155 caused by the variant identified in the United Kingdom and one case of the variant first found in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the province said it administered another 7,694 doses of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday. A total of 362,749 doses have been given out in Ontario so far, and 87,831 people have gotten both shots required for maximum immunization.
York sees unexpected characteristics of variant
Dr. Karim Kurji, medical officer of health in York Region, said Friday morning that his public health unit has found 55 cases caused by the variant identified in the U.K. While more data collection and analysis is needed at the provincial and country-wide levels, Kurji said experts in York have observed some unexpected characteristics of the variant.
WATCH | Dr. Karim Kurji on how COVID variants can cause cases to increase exponentially:
“We are finding, for example, between multiple households the incubation period is as short as 12 hours to two days. This is news to us, because most people get [COVID-19] symptoms in about five to seven days,” he told CBC News Network.
Many of the people in York who contracted the variant reported that they’ve been adhering to current public health guidelines, he added.
“What is very clear to us is that we have to keep these variants at a low level while we get folks vaccinated. If we do not, there are going to be issues, unfortunately, with respect to the control of this pandemic,” Kurji said.
Cases of COVID-19 variants have also been detected in at least three public health units in northern Ontario.
The province has detected dozens of cases of the variant that first emerged in the U.K. and one of the variant that was first detected in South Africa but all had previously been in southern regions.
The public health unit covering the Sudbury, Ont., region says it has confirmed one case of the variant that emerged in the U.K. Public Health Sudbury and Districts says three other likely variant cases are being investigated.
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit says it’s also confirmed its first variant case with tests underway to determine the exact strain.
And the Porcupine Health Unit has confirmation of a possible variant case linked to a long-term care outbreak in Kapuskasing, Ont.
State of emergency set to expire next week
Ontario’s labour minister said yesterday that Premier Doug Ford will announce details on reopening the province’s economy next week. Earlier this week, Ford hinted an announcement could come as early as Monday next week, before his office backtracked and said it will take more time.
Monte McNaughton did not provide further specifics, but his comments were made as the province’s current state of emergency is set to expire on Tuesday.
Ford and his cabinet are meeting today to discuss the government’s options surrounding the emergency order.
Ontario’s Solicitor General’s office said no decisions have been made regarding whether to end or extend the emergency order.
A provincial lockdown was imposed in late December and was followed by the state of emergency and a stay-at-home order that took effect Jan. 14 as COVID-19 rates surged.
Statistics Canada reported this morning that lockdowns took a considerable toll on the country’s workforce last month. Canada’s economy lost 213,000 jobs in January, about five times more than what economists were expecting, as retail lockdowns forced more businesses to close their doors across the country.
Most of the losses were concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, which lost a combined 251,000 jobs — mostly in retail, accommodation and food services.
Some in B.C. cross U.S. border for their next COVID-19 vaccine – Global News
Global News Hour at 6 BC
There is evidence of the lengths some British Columbians will go to get a second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — crossing the border to Point Roberts, WA for a shot. The movement comes thanks to the different approach to the fourth shot south of the border. Catherine Urquhart reports.
Unknown hepatitis in children: Will it become a pandemic too? – CGTN
The number of cases of a mysterious acute hepatitis in children continues to increase worldwide, with most cases occurring in Europe. As of May 10, 348 suspected cases had been reported in at least 20 countries. Information and data have pointed to an adenovirus called adenovirus-41 (HAdV-41) as the possible culprit. Does it have anything to do with COVID? Will it become a pandemic? How do we protect ourselves from it?
Study tracks hospital readmission risk for COVID-19 patients in Alberta, Ontario – CBC.ca
A new study offers a closer look at possible factors that may lead to some hospitalized COVID-19 patients being readmitted within a month of discharge.
At roughly nine per cent, researchers say the readmission rate is similar to that seen for other ailments, but socio-economic factors and sex seem to play a bigger role in predicting which patients are most likely to suffer a downturn when sent home.
Research published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at 46,412 adults hospitalized for COVID-19 in Alberta and Ontario during the first part of the pandemic. About 18 per cent — 8,496 patients — died in hospital between January 2020 and October 2021, which was higher than the norm for other respiratory tract infections.
Among those sent home, about nine per cent — 2,759 patients — returned to hospital within 30 days of leaving, while two per cent — 712 patients — died. The deaths include patients who returned to hospital.
The combined rate of readmission or death was similar in each province, at 9.9 per cent or 783 patients in Alberta, and 10.6 per cent or 2,390 patients in Ontario.
For those wondering if the patients were discharged too soon, the report found most spent less than a month in hospital and patients who stayed longer were actually readmitted at a slightly higher rate.
“We initially wondered, ‘Were people being sent home too early?’ … and there was no association between length of stay in hospital and readmission rates, which is reassuring,” co-author Dr. Finlay McAlister, a professor of general internal medicine at the University of Alberta, said from Edmonton.
“So it looked like clinicians were identifying the right patients to send home.”
Examining the peaks
Craig Jenne, an associate professor of microbiology, immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary who was not involved in the research, said the study suggests that the health-care system was able to withstand the pressures of the pandemic.
“We’ve heard a lot about how severe this disease can be and there was always a little bit of fear that, because of health-care capacity, that people were perhaps rushed out of the system,” Jenne said. “There was a significant increase in loss of life but this wasn’t due to system processing of patients.
“Care was not sacrificed despite the really unprecedented pressure put on staff and systems during the peaks of those early waves.”
The study also provides important insight on the power of vaccines in preventing severe outcomes, Jenne said.
Of all the patients admitted with COVID-19 in both provinces, 91 per cent in Alberta and 95 per cent in Ontario were unvaccinated, the study found.
The report found readmitted patients tended to be male, older, and have multiple comorbidities and previous hospital visits and admissions. They were also more likely to be discharged with home care or to a long-term care facility.
McAlister also found socio-economic status was a factor, noting that hospitals traditionally use a scoring system called LACE to predict outcomes by looking at length of stay, age, comorbidities and past emergency room visits, but “that wasn’t as good a predictor for post-COVID patients.”
“Including things like socio-economic status, male sex and where they were actually being discharged to were also big influences. It comes back to the whole message that we’re seeing over and over with COVID: that socio-economic deprivation seems to be even more important for COVID than for other medical conditions.”
McAlister said knowing this could help transition co-ordinators and family doctors decide which patients need extra help when they leave the hospital.
On its own, LACE had only a modest ability to predict readmission or death but adding variables including the patient’s neighbourhood and sex improved accuracy by 12 per cent, adds supporting co-author Dr. Amol Verma, an internal medicine physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
The study did not tease out how much socio-economic status itself was a factor, but did look at postal codes associated with so-called “deprivation” indicators like lower education and income among residents.
Readmission was about the same regardless of neighbourhood, but patients from postal codes that scored high on the deprivation index were more likely to be admitted for COVID-19 to begin with, notes Verma.
Verma adds that relying on postal codes does have limitations in assessing socio-economic status since urban postal codes can have wide variation in their demographic. He also notes the study did not include patients without a postal code.
McAlister said about half of the patients returned because of breathing difficulties, which is the most common diagnosis for readmissions of any type.
He suspected many of those problems would have been difficult to prevent, suggesting “it may just be progression of the underlying disease.”
Looking at readmissions is just the tip of the iceberg.-Dr. Finlay McAlister-Dr. Finlay McAlister
It’s clear, however, that many people who appear to survive COVID are not able to fully put the illness behind them, he added.
“Looking at readmissions is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s some data from the [World Health Organization] that maybe half to two-thirds of individuals who have had COVID severe enough to be hospitalized end up with lung problems or heart problems afterwards, if you do detailed enough testing,” he said.
“If you give patients quality of life scores and symptom questionnaires, they’re reporting much more levels of disability than we’re picking up in analyses of hospitalizations or emergency room visits.”
The research period pre-dates the Omicron surge that appeared in late 2021 but McAlister said there’s no reason to suspect much difference among today’s patients.
He said that while Omicron outcomes have been shown to be less severe than the Delta variant, they are comparable to the wild type of the novel coronavirus that started the pandemic.
“If you’re unvaccinated and you catch Omicron it’s still not a walk in the park,” he said.
Why Can’t The Federal Government Eliminate Systemic Racism In The Canadian Military?
Government’s changing vape strategy shifts focus away from cigarettes, advocates fear
Shortages of some baby formula in Quebec due to panic buying, U.S. supply issues
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Global Media Markets, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F – TV and Radio Broadcasting, Film and Music, Information Services, Web Content, Search Portals And Social Media, Print Media, & Cable – GlobeNewswire
News23 hours ago
519 shares Online Dating Safety tips for the LGBTQ2S+ community
Economy13 hours ago
Payday loans are on the rise in Canada, due to the pandemic
News12 hours ago
Trinidad and Tobago to launch the 2022 Pan African Festival
Tech19 hours ago
tvOS 15.5, watchOS 8.6, and HomePod Software 15.5 now available to the public – 9to5Mac
News18 hours ago
Residents who fled flooded N.W.T town can return; some services might be unavailable
Art24 hours ago
BlackburnNews.com – Blyth Festival Art Gallery reopens – BlackburnNews.com
News17 hours ago
Alberta premier visits U.S. capital to talk North American energy security
News15 hours ago
Canada Day: Celebrations moving from Parliament Hill | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa