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Ontario reports nearly 1,200 new coronavirus cases, six more deaths – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario is reporting nearly 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 today as the rolling seven-day average of new infections continues to rise in the province.

Provincial health officials logged 1,185 new cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus today and another six deaths.

Today’s tally is down from the 1,631 new infections reported on Monday, although the province said yesterday’s case count was inflated due to a data reporting issue. The Ministry of Health did not disclose how many of Monday’s cases should have been included in previous totals.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases now stands at 1,187, up from 1,098 last week.

With 33,300 tests completed on Monday, today’s test positivity rate is now 3.7 per cent, a notable jump from 2.9 per cent one week ago.

Active cases are also on the rise in the province. There are now 11,223 active lab-confirmed infections of COVID-19 in Ontario, up from 10,546 seven days ago.

According to the province, nearly 10 per cent of all active cases today involve primary and secondary school students.

For the third day in a row, none of the six virus-related deaths confirmed in Ontario today involve residents of long-term care. Despite the uptick in new cases over the past week, the average number of virus-related deaths recorded per day has dropped to 12 today, down from 17 last Tuesday.

Of the new cases reported today, 343 are in Toronto, 235 are in Peel Region, and 105 are in York Region.

Virus-related hospitalizations are continuing to climb along with intensive care admissions. The number of people with COVID-19 who are receiving treatment in hospital is now 689, up from 677 last week. The province is reporting that there are now 290 patients with COVID-19 in the ICU, up from 284 last Tuesday.

Numbers released by individual local public health units indicate that there are now 834 COVID-19 patients in hospital.

Dr. Irfan Dhalla, a University of Toronto medical professor and vice-president at Unity Health Toronto, tweeted Tuesday that the number of patients with COVID-19 who are currently in the ICU is actually 344, an increase of 27 patients over the past 24 hours.

Speaking about the need to roll out vaccines to the most vulnerable groups as quickly as possible, Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, told CP24 on Tuesday that he believes a third wave of the pandemic has already arrived in Ontario.

“Wave three, I believe, is upon us. ICU numbers are increased today. Case numbers are rising and a vaccination also buys people more freedom,” Warner said.

“So we need to make sure we prioritize the people who are most likely to get sick and die from COVID within Phase 2 (of the vaccination program) and make sure the people who could get COVID but almost certainly are going to survive are toward the end of the line so that we save the most lives.”

An estimated 943,533 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario to date. Many municipalities have begun inoculating their oldest residents and on Monday, the City of Toronto confirmed that it will open three mass immunization clinics next week to begin vaccinating people in the community who are over the age of 80.

The province said another 29 cases of the more transmissible B.1.1.7 variant, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom, have been confirmed through full genome sequencing, bringing the total number of cases of the variant in Ontario to 908. Thousands of other cases in the province have screened positive for a variant but have not yet been officially confirmed as one of the three main variants of concern circulating in Ontario. Officials have estimated that approximately 40 per cent of all new infections in Ontario are variant cases.

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.

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10,000 in Waterloo region eligible to get 2nd COVID-19 shot right now, official says – CBC.ca

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More than 90 per cent of eligible residents in Waterloo region have had their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

People who are 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated, and able to get the second dose 28 days after the first, the Ontario government’s website says.

“To get second doses to 90 per cent, 20,683 second doses must be given. Out of those 20,000 people, approximately 10,000 are eligible now for their second dose and the remaining people will become eligible over the next month,” Vickie Murray, the region’s vaccine lead, said in a media briefing on Friday.

Murray said regional officials are pleased to see single doses reach the 90 per cent milestone, but they want to see second doses, which are at nearly 86 per cent, get there, too.

“Our goal is to continue to aim for the highest vaccination rates possible to protect our community from the spread of COVID,” she said.

As well, the region has given 5,854 third doses, offered to all people living in long-term care in the region.

Murray also announced Friday that as of Oct. 31, the vaccination at the Boardwalk in Waterloo will move to operating only between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. because those are the busiest times.

Vaccination bus motors on

The vaccination bus continues to be effective, Murray said. On Wednesday, she said 47 per cent of the doses given were first ones.

The bus will maked scheduled stops:

  • Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Cambridge Farmer’s Market.
  • Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 150 Main St. in Cambridge.
  • Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Kitchener Public Library.
  • Thursday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Region of Waterloo International Airport in Breslau.
  • Sunday, Oct. 24 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sunrise Shopping Centre at 1400 Ottawa St. S., Kitchener.

Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the region’s medical officer of health, said Friday that case rates have been “stable or slowly decreasing trend in the last few weeks.”

“We need to continue our efforts to increase our community immunity over the coming weeks and months,” she said, adding the highly transmissible delta variant remains a risk in the region and could be easily spread between people, especially the unvaccinated.

Murray encouraged anyone who is eligible to get the second dose to do so as soon as they can.

“That is going to be the best way to ensure that you’re fully vaccinated,” Murray said.

If regional staff find that a lot of people are delaying the second dose, they will reach out to them directly through emails and phone calls — something staff also did over the summer.

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Horse race marks Sydney’s emergence from long COVID-19 lockdown

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Thousands of Sydney residents flocked to a prominent horse race on Saturday, as Australia’s biggest city emerges from a strict COVID-19 lockdown and the nation begins to live with the coronavirus through extensive vaccination.

Up to 10,000 fully vaccinated spectators can now attend races such as The Everest https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/horse-racing-third-time-lucky-nature-strip-everest-2021-10-16 in Sydney, Australia’s richest turf horse race, and the country’s most famous, Melbourne Cup Day, on Nov. 2.

New South Wales State, of which Sydney is the capital, reached its target of 80% of people fully vaccinated on Saturday, well ahead of the rest of Australia.

“80% in NSW! Been a long wait but we’ve done it,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Twitter.

The state reported 319 new coronavirus cases, all of the Delta variant, and two deaths on Saturday. Many restrictions were eased in New South Wales on Monday, when it reached 70% double vaccinations.

Neighbouring Victoria, where the capital Melbourne has been in lockdown for weeks, reported 1,993 new cases and seven deaths, including the state’s youngest victim, a 15-year-old girl.

Victoria is expected to reach 70% double vaccination before Oct. 26 and ease its restrictions more slowly than New South Wales has, drawing criticism from the federal government on Saturday.

“It is really sad that Victorians are being held back,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Australia is set to gradually lift its 18-month ban on international travel https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/covid-19-infections-linger-near-record-levels-australias-victoria-2021-10-14 from next month for some states when 80% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated. As of Friday, 67.2% of Australians were fully inoculated, and 84.4% had received at least one shot.

The country closed its international borders in March 2020, since then allowing only a limited number of people to leave or citizens and permanent residents abroad to return, requiring them to quarantine for two weeks.

Australia’s overall coronavirus numbers are low compared to many other developed countries, with just over 140,000 cases and 1,513 deaths.

(Reporting in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)

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Canada heading for flu season in the middle of fourth wave of COVID-19 – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Published Friday, October 15, 2021 1:09PM EDT


Last Updated Friday, October 15, 2021 4:34PM EDT

OTTAWA – The country could be heading for its first typical flu season since the pandemic began, even as health systems are still battling the fourth wave of COVID-19, Canada’s top doctor warns.

Last year the flu was “virtually non-existent,” in Canada, thanks to strict public health measures to protect against COVID-19, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday.

What served as a blessing last fall, sparing already overwhelmed health systems, could now mean Canadians have less immunity against common strains of the flu.

Surveillance data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows higher rates of infection than expected for some of Canada’s most common seasonal viruses: respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. and human parainfluenza.

“This year we are anticipating a possible flu resurgence, due to lower levels of immunity in the population as a result of less circulation last flu season, and the easing of some restrictive, community-based public health measures,” Tam said.

Even during non-pandemic times, flu season has been known to bring hospitals to their knees, overcrowding emergency rooms and intensive care units.

Now, with some hospitals already at capacity and staff across the country burnt out by a year and a half of providing pandemic care, an intense flu season could be especially dire.

“This is definitely not the year to have influenza wreak havoc,” Tam said.

That’s why public health officials say it will be more important than ever that people get flu shots to avoid complications like pneumonia and protect hospitals from becoming overloaded.

On Oct. 7, The National Advisory Committee on Immunization suggested the flu vaccine can be given any time before or after – or even at the same time as – the COVID-19 vaccine, so there’s no reason to postpone either shot.

It’s too early to say how severe the flu season is likely to be, but pediatric hospitals are already feeling the ill effects.

The emergency room at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario is packed to the level the hospital would normally see at the peak of flu season.

The surge has been driven partly by routine injuries, but also from a “potpourri” of viruses, including RSV, said Tammy DeGiovanni, the hospital’s senior vice-president of clinical services and chief nurse executive.

Because of COVID-19, she said, CHEO has had to cancel surgeries and add to already length backlogs. Flu cases would only compound that problem further and create lengthy waits for non-urgent care.

“What we worry about is our capacity and our ability to staff,” DeGiovanni said in an interview Friday. “What we try not to do, but we’ve been forced to, are some cancellations.”

A similar situation is playing out at other children’s hospitals as well, she said.

Tam said the federal government has been bolstering health-care systems throughout the pandemic by ensuring emergency aid from the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian Red Cross, but the solution is not sustainable.

“Health-care capacity cannot be generated overnight, and particularly things like ICU capacity,” Tam said.

“People need to do everything they can to reduce both COVID and other respiratory viruses in order to keep our system going.”

Tam’s deputy, Dr. Howard Njoo, said one of the silver linings of the pandemic may be the prevalence of flu prevention measures, like hand-sanitation stations and mask wearing.

“Hopefully these types of behaviors will carry on long past … COVID-19 and become part of normal healthy behaviors to protect yourselves in the future against other respiratory infections, including annual flu.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 15, 2021

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