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Ontario reports more than 1600 new coronavirus cases, 10 more deaths – fm96.com

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Ontario is reporting 1,631 new coronavirus cases on Monday, marking the largest single-day increase in over a month. The provincial total now stands at 309,927.

However, in an update late morning, the Ontario government said the case count “is higher than expected due to a data catch-up process related to the provincial CCM system.”

Still, Monday’s case count is a spike from Sunday’s which saw 1,299 new infections. On Saturday, 990 new cases were recorded and 1,250 on Friday.

News of higher cases come as Toronto, Peel Region and North Bay move out of the stay-at-home order and into grey and red zones of the province’s COVID-19 framework.

Read more:
COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home order lifted in Toronto, Peel and North Bay

According to Monday’s provincial report, 568 cases were recorded in Toronto, 322 in Peel Region, 119 in York Region, 91 in Thunder Bay, 68 in Durham Region, 57 in Ottawa, and 51 in both Waterloo and Halton regions.

All other local public health units reported fewer than 50 new cases in the provincial report.

The death toll in the province has risen to 7,077 as 10 more deaths were recorded.

Officials have listed 879 U.K. variant cases (B.1.1.7) which is up by 51 since yesterday, 39 South African variant cases (B.1.351) which is up by eight, and 17 Brazilian variant cases (P.1) which is up by four, that have been detected so far in the province.

Meanwhile, 291,834 Ontarians were reported to have recovered from COVID-19, which is 94 per cent of known cases. Resolved cases increased by 994 from the previous day.

Active cases in Ontario now stand at 11,016 — up from the previous day when it was 10,389, and up from last Monday at 10,570. At the peak of the coronavirus surge in January, active cases hit above 30,000.

The seven-day average has now reached 1,155, up from yesterday at 1,069, and up from last week at 1,099.

The government said 38,063 tests were processed in the last 24 hours. There is currently a backlog of 13,891 tests awaiting results. A total of 11,436,417 tests have been completed since the start of the pandemic.

Test positivity — the percentage of tests that come back positive — for Monday was 3.4 per cent, up from Sunday when it was 3.1 per cent, and up from a week ago when it was at 3.1 per cent.

Ontario reported 626 people hospitalized with COVID-19 (up by 20 from the previous day) with 282 patients in intensive care units (up by nine) and 184 patients in ICUs on a ventilator (up bye five).

As of 8 p.m. Sunday, the province has administered 912,486 COVID-19 vaccine doses, representing an increase of 21,882 in the last day. There are 273,676 people fully vaccinated with two doses.

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson are the vaccines currently approved in Canada. The first three require two shots administered several weeks apart while the fourth requires only one.

Here is a breakdown of the total cases in Ontario by gender and age:

  • 152,591 people are male — an increase of 805 cases.
  • 155,659 people are female — an increase of 799 cases.
  • 41,940 people are 19 and under — an increase of 321 cases.
  • 113,601 people are 20 to 39 — an increase of 596 cases.
  • 89,413 people are 40 to 59 — an increase of 447 cases.
  • 44,450 people are 60 to 79 — an increase of 224 cases.
  • 20,447 people are 80 and over — an increase of 47 cases.
  • The province notes that not all cases have a reported age or gender.

Here is a breakdown of the total deaths related to COVID-19 by age:

  • Deaths reported in ages 19 and under: 2
  • Deaths reported in ages 20 to 39: 30
  • Deaths reported in ages 40 to 59: 287
  • Deaths reported in ages 60 to 79: 1,953
  • Deaths reported in ages 80 and older: 4,804
  • The province notes there may be a reporting delay for deaths and data corrections or updates can result in death records being removed.

Read more:
Hamilton public health investigating report COVID-19 vaccines given to ineligible recipients

Cases, deaths and outbreaks in Ontario long-term care homes

According to the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there have been 3,748 deaths reported among residents and patients in long-term care homes across Ontario which remained the same as yesterday. Eleven virus-related deaths in total have been reported among staff.

There are 84 current outbreaks in homes, which is a unchanged from the previous day.

The ministry also indicated there are currently 55 active cases among long-term care residents and 139 active cases among staff — both unchanged in the last 24 hours.

Cases among students and staff at Ontario schools, child care centres

Meanwhile, government figures show there have been a total of 9,233 school-related COVID-19 cases in Ontario to date — 6,618 among students and 1,477 among staff (1,138 individuals were not identified). This is an increase of 95 more cases in the last day — 84 student cases and 11 staff cases.

In the last 14 days, the province indicates there are 1,050 cases reported among students, 167 cases among staff and 13 individuals were not identified — totaling 1,230 cases.

The COVID-19 cases are currently from 734 out of 4,828 schools in the province. Thirty schools in Ontario are currently closed as a result of positive cases, the government indicated.

There have been a total of 2,821 confirmed cases within child care centres and homes — an increase of 34 (20 new child cases and 14 staff cases). Out of 5,268 child care centres in Ontario, 162 currently have cases and 40 centres are closed.

Data for cases in schools and child care centres are updated weekdays only, at 10:30 a.m. On Monday’s, numbers are included from Thursday afternoon to Friday afternoon.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Ontario hospitals may have to withhold care as COVID-19 fills ICUs

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By Allison Martell and Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Doctors in the Canadian province of Ontario may soon have to decide who can and cannot receive treatment in intensive care as the number of coronavirus infections sets records and patients are packed into hospitals still stretched from a December wave.

Canada‘s most populous province is canceling elective surgeries, admitting adults to a major children’s hospital and preparing field hospitals after the number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs jumped 31% to 612 in the week leading up to Sunday, according to data from the Ontario Hospital Association.

The sharp increase in Ontario hospital admissions is also straining supplies of tocilizumab, a drug often given to people seriously ill with COVID-19.

Hospital care is publicly funded in Canada, generally free at the point of care for residents. But new hospital beds have not kept pace with population growth, and shortages of staff and space often emerge during bad flu seasons.

Ontario’s hospitals fared relatively well during the first wave of the pandemic last year, in part because the province quickly canceled elective surgeries.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario told doctors last Thursday that the province was considering “enacting the critical care triage protocol,” something that was not done during earlier waves of the virus. Triage protocols help doctors decide who to treat in a crisis.

“Everybody’s under extreme stress,” said Eddy Fan, an ICU doctor at Toronto’s University Health Network. He said no doctor wants to contemplate a triage protocol but there are only so many staff.

“There’s going to be a breaking point, a point at which we can’t fill those gaps any longer.”

In a statement, the health ministry said Ontario has not activated the protocol. A September draft suggested doctors could withhold life-sustaining care from patients with a less than 20% chance of surviving 12 months. A final version has not been made public.

Ontario’s Science Advisory Table had been forecasting the surge for months, said member and critical care physician Laveena Munshi. During a recent shift she wanted to call the son of a patient only to discover he was in an ICU across the street.

“The horror stories that we’re seeing in the hospital are like ones out of apocalyptic movies,” she said. “They’re not supposed to be the reality we’re seeing one year into a pandemic.”

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In COVID-19 vaccination pivot, Canada targets frontline workers

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By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is shifting its vaccination campaign to target frontline workers, moving away from a largely age-based rollout as the country tries to get a handle on the raging third wave of the pandemic.

Canada‘s approach thus far has left unvaccinated many so-called “essential workers,” like daycare providers, bus drivers and meatpackers, all of whom are among those at higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Provinces are now trying to adjust their strategy to tackle the surge driven by new variants.

Targeting frontline workers and addressing occupation risk is vital if Canada wants to get its third wave under control, says Simon Fraser University mathematician and epidemiologist Caroline Colijn, who has modelled Canadian immunization strategies and found “the sooner you put essential workers [in the vaccine rollout plan], the better.”

Initially, Canada prioritized long-term care residents and staff for the vaccines, as well as the very elderly, health workers, residents of remote communities and Indigenous people.

Targeting vaccinations by age made sense early on in a pandemic that ravaged Canada‘s long-term care homes, Colijn said. But now, immunizing those at highest risk of transmission brings the greatest benefit.

“If you protect these individuals you also protect someone in their 60s whose only risk is when they go to the store. … The variants are here now. So if we pivot now, but it takes us two months to do it, then we will lose that race.”

Data released on Tuesday from the Institute of Clinical and Evaluative Sciences showed that Toronto’s neighbourhoods with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections had the lowest vaccination rates, underscoring the disparities in vaccination.

‘IT’S A JUGGERNAUT’

On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced a plan to have mobile vaccine clinics target COVID-19 “hotspots” and high-risk worksites, although he stopped short of giving people paid time off to get the shot.

Karim Kurji, medical officer of health in York Region north of Toronto, characterizes the shift in vaccination priority from age to transmission risk as moving from defence to offence.

“It’s a juggernaut in terms of the immunization machinery, and turning it around takes a lot of effort,” Kurji said.

Meanwhile, officials in the western province of Alberta say they are offering vaccines to more than 2,000 workers at Cargill’s meatpacking plant in High River, site of one of Canada‘s largest workplace COVID-19 outbreaks. Provincial officials said in a statement they are looking to expand the pilot to other plants.

Quebec will start vaccinating essential workers such as those in education, childcare and public safety in Montreal, where neighbourhoods with the highest vaccination rates have been among those with the lowest recorded infection rates.

The people doing the highest-risk jobs, from an infectious disease perspective, are more likely to be poor, non-white and new Canadians, health experts say. They are less likely to have paid leave to get tested or vaccinated or stay home when sick and are more likely to live in crowded or multi-unit housing. They need to be prioritized for vaccination and their vaccination barriers addressed, experts say.

Naheed Dosani, a Toronto palliative care physician and health justice activist, said making vaccines available to high-risk communities is not enough without addressing barriers to access.

“The face of COVID-19 and who was being impacted changed dramatically. The variants seemed to take hold in communities where essential workers live. … This [pivot] is a step in the right direction and will hopefully save lives.”

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny; Editing by Denny Thomas and Aurora Ellis)

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Canada finance minister: Pandemic an opportunity to bring in national childcare

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – The COVID-19 pandemic and its damaging impact on women has underlined the need for a national childcare plan, which would also help the economic recovery, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday.

Since taking up her job in August, Freeland has repeatedly spoken about a “feminist agenda,” and has said childcare will be part of a stimulus package worth up to C$100 billion ($79.6 billion) over three years. She will unveil details in her April 19 budget.

“I really believe COVID-19 has created a window of political opportunity and maybe an epiphany … on the importance of early learning and childcare,” Freeland told a online convention of Canada‘s ruling Liberal Party.

The budget is set to be a springboard for an election that Liberal insiders say is likely in the second half of the year.

Canadian governments of various stripes have mused about a national childcare program for decades but never acted, thanks in part to the cost and also the need to negotiate with the 10 provinces, which deliver many social programs.

Freeland said a childcare program would help counter “an incredibly dangerous drop” in female employment since the start of the pandemic.

“It is a surefire way to drive jobs and economic growth … you have higher participation of women in the labor force,” Freeland said. “My hope … is that being able to make that economic argument as well is going be to one of the ways that we get this done.”

Freeland, who is taking part this week in meetings of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations and the International Monetary Fund, said U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had told her they saw early learning and child care as a driver for economic recovery.

($1=1.2560 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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