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Ontario reports 2,336 new cases of COVID-19, 14 deaths, over 70,000 vaccinations – Burnaby Now

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TORONTO — Ontario is considering additional restrictions to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases, Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday as he warned people against making plans for Easter weekend.

Ford would not specify what new measures his government is considering but said he’ll consult the province’s top doctor before making a decision.

“Everything’s on the table right now, so folks be prepared,” he said. “I’m asking you, don’t make plans for Easter. … I won’t hesitate to lock things down.”

Ford’s comments came hours after Ontario’s hospitals and science advisors warned that intensive care units in the province’s hospitals were facing a capacity crunch.

The province reported 2,336 new cases and 14 deaths on Tuesday, with 1,090 people hospitalized, 387 in intensive care, and 249 placed on a ventilator.

Late Monday, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory group published a report that showed virus variants were sending more Ontarians to intensive care units.

It also showed that people infected with COVID-19 variants are more likely to be hospitalized and die, placing a “considerably higher burden” on the health-care system than during the second wave of infections.

The report looked at 26,314 people who tested positive for COVID-19 in Ontario between Feb. 7 and March 11. 

More than 9,000 of them were infected with a variant of concern, and the study found those patients were 62 per cent more likely to be hospitalized, 114 per cent more likely to end up in an intensive care unit and 40 per cent more likely to die from the virus.  

The report noted that as of March 28, more infectious variants of concern accounted for 67 per cent of all infections, and the variant known as B.1.1.7 that was first detected in the U.K. makes up 90 per cent of variant cases.

The study also found that 46 per cent of intensive care admissions between March 15 and March 21 were people aged 59 and younger, compared with 30 per cent of admissions between Dec. 14 and Dec. 20. 

Researchers flagged that risk of severe outcomes from a COVID-19 variant infection is pronounced 14 to 28 days after infection, “which in turn will result in delays until the full burden to the health-care system becomes apparent.” 

The president of the Ontario Hospital Association said 46 patients were admitted to intensive care on Monday – the highest one-day number of admissions in the second and third wave.

Anthony Dale said if the trend continues, patient transfers will be running “24-7” to ensure they receive life-saving care and more surgeries will be cancelled, adding to the current backlog of 250,000 procedures.

“I am very concerned about the breakdown in social cohesion and the understanding of the risk and the sacrifice that is still needed to get us all through this safely together and without unnecessary death and harm and further massive disruption to hospital care,” Dale said.

Ornge, the province’s air ambulance service, said Monday that between Jan. 1 and March 25, at least 601 patients were transferred to different hospitals to help address the pandemic capacity crunch.

Meanwhile, vaccine supply shortage forced a public health unit in a COVID-19 hot spot to close three vaccination clinics. York Region said the clinics – including the Canada’s Wonderland site that opened Monday – would close from April 2 to 5 due to delayed Moderna vaccine shipments.

Premier Ford blamed the shortage issue on the federal government.

“We’re putting these mass vaccination centers up, a ton of effort, a ton of resources, a ton of people going there, and all of a sudden, bang, now we have to close it down again, up at Wonderland,” he said in the legislature on Tuesday. 

“When can we count on a consistent volume of vaccines from the federal government? That’s what it comes down to.” 

Ontario received 466,830 Pfizer-BioNTech doses on Monday, and the government said a delayed shipment of 225,400 Moderna doses is expected on April 7.

It is also expecting 583,400 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from a shipment that arrived in Canada on Tuesday and is awaiting federal approval to be released to the province. Those doses will be distributed through pharmacies and primary care offices.

Halton and York Regions, two other Greater Toronto Area health unit, announced Tuesday they would move ahead with offering vaccinations to people aged 65 and older starting March 31, ahead of the provincial schedule.

In total, the province has so far administered 2,102,380 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.

Shawn Jeffords and Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

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COVID cases in Ontario could spike to 30,000 per day by June

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TORONTO (Reuters) – New cases of COVID-19 in Canada‘s most populous province could rise more than six fold, topping 30,000 per day by early June if public health measures are weak and vaccination rates remain flat, a panel of experts advising the province of Ontario said on Friday.

Even if measures to control the virus are “moderate,” the number of patients in Ontario ICUs could reach 2,000 in May, up from 695 on Friday.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last week they may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive intensive care.

 

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Chris Reese)

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Moderna sees shortfall in Britain COVID vaccine shipments, EU deliveries on track

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ZURICH (Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Moderna expects a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain hitting second-quarter delivery quantities for Britain and Canada, though European Union– and Swiss-bound shipments are on track, a spokesperson said.

The delays, first announced on Friday when Canada said Moderna would be delivering only about half the planned 1.2 million doses by the end of April, come as Switzerland’s Lonza ramps up three new production lines to make active ingredients for Moderna vaccine supplies outside of the United States.

“The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear, and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously estimated doses from the European supply chain,” Moderna said in a statement.

Lonza didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment on any issues in its production.

 

(Reporting by John Miller; editing by David Evans)

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Moderna says vaccines to Canada to be delayed due to Europe shortfall

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(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Friday a shortfall in COVID-19 vaccine doses from its European supply chain will lead to a delay in deliveries to some countries including Canada.

The drugmaker would be delivering only 650,000 doses by April end as opposed to 1.2 million, Canada‘s Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in a statement.

She said one to two million doses of the 12.3 million doses scheduled for delivery by Moderna in the second quarter would be delayed until the third.

Moderna officials in Europe did not immediately comment on the reason for the delays or give the total number of countries that would be impacted.

“Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process and a number of elements, including human and material resources have factored into this volatility,” said Patricia Gauthier, an executive at Moderna Canada.

Canada has distributed a total of 2.82 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as of April 14 and 12.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in total.

Moderna has been aiming to deliver 700 million to 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 globally this year, including from plants in Europe and the United States.

Swiss contract drug manufacturer Lonza makes active ingredients for Moderna’s vaccine in Visp, but it was still ramping up three new production lines that once operational would be able to produce 300 million shots annually.

The current supply, demand and distribution landscape has led the drugmaker to make adjustments in the expected second-quarter deliveries, Gauthier said.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru, Allison Martell in Toronto and John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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