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Ontario to release updated COVID-19 projections after locking down Toronto, Peel – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, November 26, 2020 6:03AM EST


Last Updated Thursday, November 26, 2020 7:05AM EST

TORONTO – Ontario health officials are expected to release new COVID-19 projections today.

It will be the first time they have released such data since sending the province’s two biggest virus hot spots — Toronto and Peel Region — into lockdown earlier this week.

Two weeks ago, the province unveiled modelling that showed Ontario could see as many as 6,500 new daily cases of COVID-19 by mid-December unless steps are taken to limit the spread of the virus.

It said the province would reach 2,500 new daily cases by that time if the growth rate was at three per cent, or 6,500 if the growth rate was at five per cent.

At the time, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, one of the experts behind the projections, said a five per cent growth rate was “slightly optimistic.”

Premier Doug Ford announced he would lower thresholds for imposing stricter COVID-19 measures under the province’s colour-coded restrictions system the following day.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2020.

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National COVID-19 modelling shows cause for concern, even as B.C.'s curve flattens – CTV Edmonton

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VICTORIA —
Despite a flattering curve, modelling shows British Columbians need to reduce their interactions to avoid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to Canadas’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, there is worrisome news from new modelling data that shows the pandemic’s growth is escalating rapidly in Canada, and Canadians need to restrict their social interactions or the problem will get worse.

“Unless public health measure are intensified, we will not be able to suppress the current rate of epidemic growth,” said Tam at a press conference on Friday.

The data projects almost 800,000 cases nationwide and nearly 20,000 deaths by Jan. 24.

While B.C. is faring better than other provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, Dr. Brian Conway of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre says we are far from immune to the trend of growing cases.

Conway says the modelling indicates British Columbians need to reduce our interactions to avoid a surge in cases.

“The model suggests that if we continue to act as we have in the previous few weeks that the cases, the number of cases, will continue to increase,” said Conway Friday after looking at the numbers.

Adrian Dix, B.C.’s Health Minister, struck a cautiously optimistic tone Friday, noting the province’s COVID-19 case numbers had flattened in recent days.

Although Dix indicated tighter restrictions didn’t appear likely anytime soon in B.C., he said what matters most is that folks stay vigilant.

“The virus isn’t interested in your orders or our speeches or anything else,” said Dix Friday in Victoria. “What’s more important is our actions.”

Adding to the uncertainty of the coming months, the modelling numbers do not take into account the more transmissible variants of the coronavirus recently discovered in the U.K. and South Africa and now present in Canada, including B.C., but only in very small numbers so far.

On Thursday, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it will be important to contain the cases of variants and identify them early.

“So it may be that we’re in a very similar place to where we were in February of last year, where if we can find them and catch them early we can prevent that variant from spreading,” she said.

Separate modelling to reflect the potential impacts of the variants will be done in the coming weeks. 

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Pfizer to resume COVID-19 vaccine shipments to EU within two weeks but Canada says no changes yet – Global News

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Pfizer-BioNtech will be resuming shipments of its coronavirus vaccine to the European Union within the next two weeks, but there have been no more changes to Canada’s deliveries.

The pharmaceutical giant announced Friday it would be temporarily reducing the number of vaccines shipped in order to upgrade one of its facilities in Europe.

“We will be back to the original schedule of deliveries to the European Union beginning the week of January 25,” Pfizer said in an online statement late Friday. Arianna Podesta, a spokesperson for the European Commission, confirmed the revised schedule in an emailed statement to Global News.

As of Saturday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said there were no updates to Pfizer’s announcement, which saw vaccine shipments to Canada will be cut in half for the next four weeks.

Read more:
‘Temporary delay’ chops Canada’s deliveries of Pfizer vaccine in half for four weeks

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Canada’s shipment of Pfizer vaccines for the week of Jan. 18 remains “largely unaffected,” Anand said.

She added the federal government was in touch with Pfizer representatives to “reiterate firmly the importance for Canada to return to our regular delivery schedule as soon as possible.”

“This is an evolving situation,” Anand said.

In response to multiple requests for clarification, Pfizer said “the principal of equity is used when considering allocation of doses worldwide and we expect to have more information in the coming days.”

The move has left many provinces scrambling to adjust their vaccine rollout plans. Some, like Alberta and British Columbia, have publicly expressed concerns over how the delays will affect their vaccine schedules. Manitoba has paused new vaccine appointments until the country is back on schedule.

In Ontario, health officials have extended the amount of time between administering the second dose of the vaccine up to 42 days after receiving the first, while Quebec will allow up to 90 days in between doses.

Anand noted that the delay in shipments will not affect Canada’s long-term goals of having enough doses to vaccinate everyone wants the vaccine by the end of September, saying that “this is a temporary reduction. It’s not a stoppage.”


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Fortin calls Pfizer delay a ‘bump in the road,’ but says Canada will still meet vaccine target'



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Coronavirus: Fortin calls Pfizer delay a ‘bump in the road,’ but says Canada will still meet vaccine target


Coronavirus: Fortin calls Pfizer delay a ‘bump in the road,’ but says Canada will still meet vaccine target

“We are going to see continued vaccines coming in from Pfizer and of course Moderna over the next weeks, but there will be a reduction in doses, and that is the purpose of my being here,” she said Friday.

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“It’s going to be temporary, it’s not a loss, and we will make up those doses.”

So far, Canada has received about 380,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. Anand added that the additional 20 million doses Canada secured this week are still on track to arrive by Q2.

The news highlighted the importance of adhering to public health guidelines as reiterated by Canada’s top health officials calling for “further intensified” measures while presenting an updated COVID-19 federal modelling on Friday.

If Canada does not find a way to slow the spread of the virus, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said the country could be facing 10,000 cases per day by the end of the month. The total number of cases could also increase by almost 100,000 by Jan. 24, and lead to upwards of 2,000 deaths, the federal modelling showed.

Over a short period of time, vaccinations will do little to curb the virus’ transmission. However, Tam said “if we ease measures too soon, the epidemic will resurge even more strongly.”

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Ontario allows second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to be delayed amid shortage – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The Ontario government has updated its recommendation for when some people should receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after it was announced that there will likely be a shortage.

The new recommendation comes after the federal government announced earlier there will be a “temporary” delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments due to expansions of the company’s European manufacturing facility. It could result in a 50 per cent cut in shipments in January.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said in a statement on Saturday morning that long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents – and their essential caregivers – who received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine will receive their second dose in 21 to 27 days.

Staff who were vaccinated within the homes will also receive their second dose within this time period.

The government said that for all other people who received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine they will now receive their second dose between 21 and 42 days.

People who received the Moderna vaccine will receive their second dose after the scheduled 28 days.

The vaccine adjustments align with the recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the government said.

Ontario was expecting to receive more than 160,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the final two weeks of January, a delivery schedule that’s now in doubt.

Health Minister Christine Elliott told CTV News Toronto on Friday the province is awaiting further details on the “the exact allocations” and the “timing of those allocations” but said the province is once again reserving vials of the vaccine to ensure second doses are administered.

“We have some in reserve to make sure that we are going to be able to do the second doses in the appropriate period of time. So no one needs to worry about whether they will get their second dose or not,” Elliott said.

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 189,090 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

-With files from CTV News Toronto’s Colin D’Mello

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