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Ontario reports record high 3,328 new COVID-19 cases, 56 new deaths – CBC.ca

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Ontario reported a single-day record of 3,328 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and 56 new deaths related to the illness. 

The figure marks the first time the province has reported more than 3,000 cases in a single day, and the third consecutive day Ontario has recorded a record-breaking case count.

A record number of patients were also hospitalized and admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) on Thursday. Currently, there are 1,235 patients in hospital. Of those, 337 are in intensive care.

Forty-five patients were admitted to Ontario ICUs on Wednesday, another record during the pandemic.

The number of ICU patients being treated for COVID-19 has doubled since the last day of November, when hospitals were treating 168 patients.

Residents of long-term care homes accounted for 28 of the newly tallied deaths. There are now active COVID-19 outbreaks in 187 LTC facilities, a decrease of five since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of labs processed 63,858 test samples for the novel coronavirus while another 72,283 tests are in the queue waiting to be completed.

The province’s test positivity rate now sits at 5.7 per cent.

Of Thursday’s newly confirmed infections, there were 888 in Toronto, 431 in Peel Region, 418 in York Region, 257 in Windsor-Essex, and 194 in Ottawa. 

Ontario’s cumulative case count now sits at 182,159. The province’s seven-day average has also reached a new record-high, climbing to 2,436.

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Hamilton: 156 
  • Waterloo: 127
  • Durham: 114
  • London: 112
  • Niagara: 110
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 83
  • Southwestern: 79
  • Halton: 79
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 58
  • Eastern Ontario: 58
  • Brant County: 26
  • Lambton: 25
  • Huron Perth: 19
  • Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington: 13
  • Haldimand-Norfolk: 12
  • Chatham-Kent: 12
  • Leeds, Grenville and Lanark: 10

[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.]  

ICUs nearing capacity, hospitals say

Ontario hospitals continue to warn that intensive care units are reaching maximum capacity and threatening to overwhelm the wider health-care system.  

In a statement to CBC Toronto on Wednesday, Anthony Dale, CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association said the situation grows “ever more serious by the day.” 

“Do not celebrate the holidays with people outside your own household. It would be the ultimate tragedy if the worst consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic happened just as vaccines arrived on Canadian soil,” Dale said.

Health Minister Christine Elliott is also urging people to celebrate New Year’s Eve only with people in their own households. 

 

LTC residents receive first shots of Moderna vaccine

A small number of Ontario long-term care (LTC) residents were the first people in Ontario to be inoculated with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

A shipment of approximately 50,000 doses arrived in Ontario Wednesday. A select number of long-term care homes are participating in a pilot project that aims to iron out logistical challenges as the province begins rolling out the vaccine.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Ontario received earlier this month, the Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures, making it more suitable for transportation to LTC facilities.

Ontario has now administered 23,502 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Both vaccines it has in stock require two doses to achieve maximum protection from the virus.

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Hundreds more unmarked graves found at erstwhile Saskatchewan residential school

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An indigenous group in Saskatchewan on Thursday said it had found the unmarked graves of an estimated 751 people at a now-defunct Catholic residential school, just weeks after a similar, smaller discovery rocked the country.

The latest discovery, the biggest to date, is a grim reminder of the years of abuse and discrimination indigenous communities have suffered in Canada even as they continue to fight for justice and better living conditions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “terribly saddened” by the discovery at Marieval Indian Residential School about 87 miles (140 km) from the provincial capital Regina. He told indigenous people that “the hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear.”

It is not clear how many of the remains detected belong to children, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters, adding that oral stories mentioned adults being buried at the site.

Delorme later told Reuters some of the graves belong to non-indigenous people who may have belonged to the church. He said the First Nation hopes to find the gravestones that once marked these graves, after which they may involve police.

Delorme said the church that ran the school removed the headstones.

“We didn’t remove the headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. We are treating this like a crime scene,” he said.

The residential school system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families and brought them to Christian residential schools, mostly Catholic, run on behalf of the federal government.

“Canada will be known as a nation who tried to exterminate the First Nations,” said Bobby Cameron, Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. “This is just the beginning.”

OLD WOUNDS

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which published a report that found the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide, has said a cemetery was left on the Marieval site after the school building was demolished.

The local Catholic archdiocese gave Cowessess First Nation C$70,000 ($56,813) in 2019 to help restore the site and identify unmarked graves, said spokesperson Eric Gurash. He said the archdiocese gave Cowessess all its death records for the period Catholic parties were running the school.

In a letter to Delorme on Thursday, Archbishop Don Bolen reiterated an earlier apology for the “failures and sins of Church leaders and staff” and pledged to help identify the remains.

Heather Bear, who went to Marieval as a day student in the 1970s and is also vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, recalled a small cemetery at the school but not of the size revealed on Thursday.

“You just didn’t want to be walking around alone in (the school),” she recalled. There was a “sadness that moves. And I think every residential school has that sadness looming.”

The Cowessess First Nation began a ground-penetrating radar search on June 2, after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia outraged the country. Radar at Marieval found 751 “hits” as of Wednesday with a 10% margin of error, meaning at least 600 graves on the site.

The Kamloops discovery reopened old wounds in Canada about the lack of information and accountability around the residential school system, which forcibly separated indigenous children from their families and subjected them to malnutrition and physical and sexual abuse.

Pope Francis said in early June that he was pained by the Kamloops revelation and called for respect for the rights and cultures of native peoples. But he stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.

Thursday was a difficult day, Delorme told Reuters. But he wants his young children to know “we will get the reconciliation one day with action like today.”

($1 = 1.2321 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Alistair Bell, Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis)

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Teamsters votes to fund and support Amazon workers

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The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a labor union in the United States and Canada, said on Thursday it has voted to formalize a resolution to support and fund employees of Amazon.com Inc in their unionization efforts.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Citigroup names new sales head for Treasury and Trade Solutions unit

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Citigroup Inc has named Steve Elms as the new sales head for the bank’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) unit effective immediately, according to an internal memo shared by a company spokesperson.

Elms, who will oversee the management of the global sales teams, has been involved with the bank’s TTS division for over 10 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

TTS is a division of the bank’s Institutional Clients group. The segment offers cash management and trade services and finance to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and David Henry in New York; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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