Health officials in Ontario are reporting 422 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the province’s lab-confirmed case total past 600,000.
Monday’s report brings the seven-day average for the number of cases reported in the province to 362. A week ago, that number was 372.
Ontario has seen 600,377 infections of the novel coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic, including 587,344 recoveries and 9,874 deaths – three of which were reported today but actually occurred in September.
With 19,840 tests processed across the province in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health said that Ontario’s COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 1.8 per cent.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said that of the cases reported today, 261 involve individuals who are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status while the remaining 161 cases are in fully vaccinated individuals.
Right now, there are 134 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 133 people who are currently being treated in an ICU. The vaccination status of those hospitalized has not been made available.
Where are the new COVID-19 cases?
The province said that most of the infections reported Monday were found in Toronto (61), Peel Region (47), and York Region (41).
Other areas that reported relatively high COVID-19 case counts include Ottawa (38), Simcoe-Muskoka (25), Sudbury (22), Southwestern Public Health (21), and Hamilton (20).
Meanwhile, 74 lab-confirmed cases have been reported across Ontario’s 4,844 schools. At least 68 of those cases involve students and six involve staff members. There are 515 schools with a reported case and three facilities are closed as a result.
Labs also confirmed 59 additional cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant B.1.617.2 in the last 24-hour period. So far, Ontario has seen 21,196 cases of the strain.
As well, two more cases of the Alpha variant B.1.1.7 were also confirmed following genomic sequencing. There are 146,507 confirmed infections of the Alpha strain in the province.
Update on vaccinations
As of Monday, the province said that nearly 88.2 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The government said that 84.5 per cent have two doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated.
Throughout the province’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, 22,522,144 needles have gone into arms provincewide.
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.
U.S. stock futures rise following Friday's omicron-sparked selloff – MarketWatch
U.S. stock futures rose late Sunday, following a steep selloff Friday sparked by fears of the global economic impact of a worrisome new strain of COVID-19.
On Friday, Wall Street suffered its worst day in more than a year amid growing concerns over the new omicron variant of COVID-19. The World Health Organization’s technical advisory group on Friday declared it a “variant of concern,” and a number of countries imposed flight bans from countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first discovered.
Little is known about omicron, but investors Friday braced for bad news.
In a holiday-shortened session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
slumped 905.04 points, or 2.5%, to 34,899.34, with the index logging its worst daily drop since Oct. 28, 2020, according to FactSet data. The S&P 500
fell 106.84 points, or 2.3%, to 4,594.62, and the Nasdaq Composite Index
sank 353.57 points, or 2.2%, to 15,491.66.
“The pandemic and COVID variants remain one of the biggest risks to markets, and are likely to continue to inject volatility over the next year(s),” Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist Advisory Services, wrote in a Friday note. “It’s hard to say at this point how lasting or impactful this latest variant will be for markets.”
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Canadians should experience the fastest drop in gasoline prices in nearly 13 years on Sunday as fears about a virulent new COVID-19 variant are expected to provide a break of 11 cents per litre at the pumps.
Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said the national average price could drop to about $1.32 per litre but begin to rise again midweek.
“(Sunday) represents the single largest decrease at the pumps we’ve seen going back to 2009,” he said in an interview.
Global crude oil prices plunged Friday over fears about a new COVID-19 variant called Omicron that prompted Canada to ban entry for foreign nationals who travelled through southern Africa.
The January crude oil contract fell 13.1 per cent or US$10.24 on Friday and currently stands at US$68.15 per barrel.
The decrease came as U.S. stock markets closed early Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Sunday and Monday are going to be the best days for Canadians to fill up, including British Columbia,” McTeague said
Even residents of flood-ravaged B.C. will save on the province’s high gasoline prices despite facing rationing because severe flooding has shut both the Trans Mountain pipeline and the province’s lone refinery.
Drivers of non-essential vehicles can only purchase up to 30 litres per visit to a gas station in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky area, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.
East Coast residents won’t reap the immediate benefits of Sunday’s price drop because its regulated regional system averages price movements. That provides price predictability but blunts price discounts.
Despite the upcoming decrease, national gasoline prices have surged nearly 43 per cent in the past year as the reopening of the global economy from pandemic lockdowns prompted a recovery in crude prices.
McTeague suggested Canadians shouldn’t get too comfortable with the energy savings. He said prices are expectd to increase as OPEC and its allies, who are meeting on Monday, will likely refuse to increase production any further. Energy traders realize that Friday’s decrease was overdone and “flies in the face of fundamentals,” he added.
“My sense is that the decreases that we saw were a little exaggerated and overbought, and for that reason I think we might see a little bit more balance come back to the markets and fundamentals by Wednesday,” McTeague said.
“Unless there’s further unsettling news of greater and further lockdowns, I would expect that oil prices are probably going to recover US$3 to US$4 a barrel by Monday or Tuesday, which means by Wednesday or Thursday we could be looking at increases in the order of four or five cents a litre.”
McTeague said some gasoline savings will continue for a couple of weeks, but he foresees crude climbing back to about US$90 a barrel, which would translate into prices in Canada exceeding $1.50 per litre.
Impending carbon tax increases will further boost prices.
A tax of 2.5 cents per litre, including HST, will take effect on April 1, 2022. It will be followed in December by the clear fuel standard that will add another 18.1 cents per litre including HST, said McTeague.
Adding to the inflation pressure is the Canadian dollar which is less valuable than when it was at par the last time crude prices were around US$80. That reduces the purchasing power for all kinds of products, including energy and food.
The Canadian Automobile Association said that as of early Saturday morning, Manitoba had the lowest average pump price of $1.35/L, followed closely by Alberta at $1.377, while Newfoundland and Labrador was the highest at $1.583 with British Columbia at $1.558.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
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