Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 23, 2020 2:03PM EST
TORONTO — Ontario says it expects to receive approximately 53,000 doses of the newly approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the end this month.
Premier Doug Ford says the new vaccine, which was approved by Health Canada on Wednesday, is a “‘game-changer.”
A spokeswoman for Ontario’s health minister says the province expects to receive the doses next week and they will first be taken to long-term care homes.
She says the province is working with public health units on a plan to start administering the shots in long-term care facilities during the first week of January.
Ford says the Moderna vaccine can be more easily transported than the Pfizer-BioNtech dose — the only other immunization approved by Health Canada — which is why it will be taken to long-term care homes first.
The premier says other priority groups, including Indigenous communities and residents of retirement homes, will also receive the Moderna vaccine soon.
“We are taking another step towards ending this terrible pandemic,” Ford said of the vaccine’s approval in Canada while noting the need for residents to keep heeding public health advice.
“As we await the arrival of more vaccines, I continue to ask all Ontarians to remain vigilant and keep following the public health measures.”
Ontario began administering the Pfizer-BioNtec vaccine to health-care workers on Dec. 14. The government has noted, however, that COVID-19 immunizations aren’t expected to be more broadly available to the general public until April.
The Moderna doses are set to arrive shortly after Ontario enters a provincewide lockdown on Boxing Day in an effort to bring soaring COVID-19 cases under control.
Ontario reported 2,408 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as 41 more deaths from the virus.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said 629 of the new cases were in Toronto, 448 in Peel Region, 234 in Windsor-Essex, and 190 in York Region.
The government said 1,002 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. That number includes 275 people in intensive care, and 186 on ventilators.
The province’s lockdown that begins Dec. 26 is set to last 28 days for southern Ontario but will lift for northern Ontario on Jan. 9.
It will shutter all non-essential businesses, ban indoor gatherings, close restaurant dining rooms, and see all schools move classes online for the first week of the new year. It also means Ontarians are advised to stay home as much as possible.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2020.
How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada's first case – CTV News
On January 25th, 2020, Canadians were still living their lives like they always had: commuting to the office, visiting friends, dining out, hugging loved ones, vacationing. But the announcement that day of Canada’s first COVID-19 case set in motion a chain of events that would soon change everything.
By March, with cases climbing, health officials began implementing a series of measures that would fundamentally alter how many Canadians live. Lockdowns and calls for physical distancing led to companies shifting to work from home, travel restrictions, mask-wearing rules, cancellation of major events, and video meetings replacing in-person interactions as people were asked to avoid seeing anyone, even loved ones.
Jack Jedwab, the president of the Association for Canadian Studies, says the biggest change to Canadians’ daily lives has been the isolation from friends, family and co-workers.
“I think at the root of a lot of that change is these limits on our mobility, which take different forms, whether it’s interacting with family and friends, or seeing people that we’re accustomed to seeing in our daily lives in person as opposed to on screens,” he said.
An online survey conducted for Jedwab’s group in September found that over 90 per cent of the 1,500 people polled said COVID-19 had changed their lives, with most citing the inability to see family and friends as the biggest factors.
While few Canadians have been untouched by the pandemic, Jedwab says women, newcomers to Canada and people who were already economically and socially vulnerable appear to have been among the most deeply affected, particularly by job losses.
Here’s a look at how COVID-19 has changed daily life for some Canadians of different groups:
For Bill VanGorder, a retired 78-year-old from Halifax, the pandemic put a temporary halt on his active social life and his favourite pastimes of volunteering in the local theatre and music scenes.
“Theatre people, as you may know, are people who love to hug, and not being able to hug in these times probably has been one of the most difficult things,” he said in a phone interview.
He considers himself lucky, because at least he and his wife Esther have each other, unlike many of his single friends who are completely isolated. Many older people, who are more at risk of severe complications from COVID-19, are struggling to stay connected with family or finding people to help them with household tasks.
VanGorder, who works with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, also believes unclear government messaging, particularly on when older adults will get access to the vaccine, is “creating huge anxiety and mistrust in the system,” among already-nervous seniors.
But while the pandemic has been hard, he says there have also been silver linings. He and many of his friends have been learning to use platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime, which help seniors stay in touch with relatives and connect with their communities.
“We think the positive thing is that, of course, this knowledge will continue after COVID and will be a real step forward, so that older adults can feel more involved in everything that’s going on around them,” he said.
The first thing he’ll do when things get back to normal is to hug his grandchildren and theatre friends, he said.
As classes have moved online, many students have had to adapt to living and studying in small spaces and being isolated from friends and campus life at a stage when forging lifelong friendships and social networks can be crucial.
Small living quarters, the inability to travel home, financial fears and uncertainties about the job market have contributed to a “greater sense of isolation” for many students, according to Bryn de Chastelain, an Ontario resident studying at St. Mary’s University in Halifax and the chair of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.
While he believes schools have done their best to support students, de Chastelain says many students have seen their mental health suffer.
“A number of students are really struggling with having to learn from home and learn online, and I think that a number of strategies that students are used to taking up are very difficult to replicate in the online environment,” he said.
Schools across the country were shut down for several months in the spring, ushering in a challenging time for parents who were suddenly forced to juggle full-time child care, work and keeping their families safe.
The reopening of schools in the fall brought different challenges depending on each province’s COVID-19 situation and approach. In Ontario, some parents opted for full-time online learning, while others were forced into it when Premier Doug Ford chose to extend the winter break. In Quebec, which doesn’t allow a remote option for most students, some reluctant parents had no choice but to send their children back to class.
“I think uncertainty, not only for kids but for everything — work, life relationships and everything — that has certainly been the theme of COVID,” said Doug Liberman, a Montreal-area father of two.
Liberman said the biggest challenge has been trying to balance the health and safety of his family with keeping his food manufacturing business going and maintaining a sense of normalcy for his two girls, ages 10 and 12.
For his family, that has meant trying to spend time outside but also accepting more screen time, and ultimately, taking things day-by-day.
“I certainly think that we certainly don’t have the answer, and I think we’ve done as best as we could, like everybody else has,” he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.
Alberta reports 24 COVID-19-related deaths Sunday, including woman in her 40s – Global News
Alberta Health reported an additional 24 deaths related to COVID-19 and 463 cases of the virus in the province on Sunday.
The positive cases came from 10,237 new tests over a 24-hour period, giving a provincial positivity rate of 4.4 per cent.
The active case numbers in the province sat at 9,727 on Sunday.
Hospitalizations were down slightly, with 652 people in hospital — 111 of whom in intensive care.
Sixteen of the 24 deaths were reported in the Edmonton zone:
- A woman in her 40s, a man in his 70s, a man in his 90s and two women in their 80s not linked to an outbreak. Comorbidities were unknown in the case involving the man in his 70s and one of the women in her 80s, while the other three deaths involved comorbidities.
- A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Misericordia Hospital whose death included comorbidities.
- A man in his 50s linked to the outbreak at Salvation Army Stepping Stones supportive residence whose death did not involve comorbidities.
- A man in his 70s and a man in his 80s, both linked to the outbreak at Youville Home. Both had comorbidities.
- A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Laurier House Lynwood whose death included comorbidities.
- A woman in her 80s and a woman in her 60s, both linked to the outbreak at Capital Care Lynwood. Both had comorbidities.
- A woman in her 80s linked to the outbreak at Chartwell St. Albert Retirement Residence whose death included comorbidities.
- A man in his 80s and a woman in her 80s, both linked to the outbreak at Jubilee Lodge Nursing Home. Both had comorbidities.
- A woman in her 90s linked to the outbreak at Rivercrest Care Centre whose death included comorbidities.
Five deaths were reported in the North zone, all of which included comorbidities:
- A woman in her 70s linked to the outbreak at Mayerthorpe Healthcare Centre.
- A woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s, both linked to the outbreak at Grande Prairie Care Centre.
- A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Prairie Lake Supportive Living.
- A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Edson Continuing Care Centre.
There were two deaths in the Calgary zone: a man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Revera Edgemont and a woman in her 60s. Both cases included comorbidities.
A man in his 90s passed away in the Central zone. His death was linked to the outbreak at Seasons Camrose and included comorbidities.
Coronavirus: Hinshaw touts safety of both COVID-19 vaccines
According to the provincial numbers, a total of 99,047 Albertans received vaccine doses as of Jan. 23.
Alberta Health confirmed the province received a shipment of the Pfizer vaccine last week. That shipment included 21,450 doses.
“With 96,500 doses of vaccine delivered, thousands of the most vulnerable seniors and health-care workers now have an extra layer of protection,” chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.
“If not, they’ll continue to be eligible and will receive it as soon as possible after that.”
Hinshaw said Alberta was working with the federal government and other provinces to use current allocations “as wisely as possible.”
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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