As Quebec’s downward trend for COVID-19 cases continues, the province on Monday eased confinement constrictions and allowed non-essential business, hair salons, libraries and museums to reopen to the public.
Meanwhile, six regions far from infection hot spots — Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec — are permitted to reopen restaurants and gyms and will see their curfews begin at 9:30 p.m., 90 minutes later than the rest of the province.
Quebec Premier François Legault announced last Tuesday that the easing of the restrictions, which he described as a “little deconfinement,” were aimed at “giving a bit of oxygen to our small businesses.”
2 more COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba, 50 new cases Sunday – Global News
Manitoba public health officials advise two additional deaths in people with COVID-19 have been reported Sunday.
The deaths are a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s, both from the Winnipeg Health region.
The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 3.7 per cent provincially and 2.7 per cent in Winnipeg.
As of 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 50 new cases of the virus have been identified, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba to 31,859.
Today’s COVID-19 data show:
- 2 cases in Interlake-Eastern health region
- 21 cases in the Northern health region
- 1 case in the Prairie Mountain Health region
- 5 cases in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region
- 21 cases in the Winnipeg health region
The data also show there are 1,194 known active cases and 29,770 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
There are 72 people in hospital with active COVID-19 as well as 120 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 192 hospitalizations.
There are also 11 people in intensive care units with active COVID-19 as well as 15 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 26 ICU patients.
COVID-19 cases among healthcare workers in Canada triples in past 6 months
The total number of deaths in people with COVID-19 in Manitoba is 895.
The total number of confirmed B.1.1.7 variant of concern cases is five.
Laboratory testing numbers show 1,866 tests were completed Saturday, bringing the total number of lab tests completed since early February 2020 to 525,373.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
20 additional deaths reported as Ontario surpasses 300K COVID-19 cases – CityNews Toronto
Ontario reported 1,062 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday as the province passed a sobering milestone.
It’s the fifth straight day more than 1,000 new infections were confirmed, bringing the provincial total to 300,816 since the pandemic began.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases sits at 1,104, which is an increase from 1,031 last Sunday.
Toronto reported 259 new cases while Peel Region added 201 new infections to its total. York Region reported just 86 new cases – the fewest number of new cases since moving into the Red-Control zone last week.
An additional 23 variants of concern were also confirmed in the province with 528 cases of the variant first discovered in the UK. There are 27 variant strains of the virus first confirmed in South African and just three of the variant first discovered in Brazil.
Another 20 people have died as a result of COVID-19, none involving residents in a long-term care setting, leaving the provincial death just shy of 7,000.
Provincial officials processed 49,185 tests in the last 24 hour period with more than 18,000 samples remaining to be confirmed.
Another 19,167 vaccines were administered on Saturday, bringing the provincial total up to 687,271. Just over 260,000 Ontarians have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
While the number of hospitalizations fell to 627, likely due to the lack of full reporting from hospitals on the weekend, the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU rose to 289 while those on ventilators also increased to 185.
'We need this:' Getting COVID-19 vaccine to remote and urban Indigenous populations – Kamloops This Week
Chief Chris Moonias looked into a web camera as he prepared to get a COVID-19 vaccine just after precious doses arrived in his northern Ontario community.
“I’m coming to you live from Neskantaga First Nation community centre where our vaccines will be administered,” a jovial Moonias, wearing a blue disposable mask, said during a Facebook live video at the start of February.
Moonias was first to get the vaccine in the fly-in Oji-Cree First Nation on the shores of Attawapiskat Lake north of Thunder Bay.
The vaccine had arrived by plane earlier in the day after weeks of planning, and the chief’s video was part of a campaign to get community members on board.
Moonias said in an interview that he had done his own research, had spoken with medical professionals and wasn’t concerned about getting the shot.
About 88 per cent of eligible on-reserve members have since received a first dose of the Moderna vaccine. Second doses are to arrive Monday.
However, earlier this week, the reserve declared a state of emergency due to a COVID-19 outbreak, with some cases linked to the Thunder Bay District Jail.
Moonias said four off-reserve members in Thunder Bay, all under the age of 40 — including his nephew — have died. And he’s worried about the 200 other members who live off the reserve — almost the same number as those on the reserve — and when they’ll get inoculated.
“I even thought about flying my peopleup… to get the vaccine,” said Moonias, who added it’s unlikely to be an option because of cost.
Canada is in the midst of the largest vaccine rollout in its history. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Indigenous populations much harder and Ottawa says they are a priority for vaccinations.
The actual distribution remains complex and varied across the country.
Neskantaga is one of 31 fly-in First Nations included in Operation Remote Immunity, part of the first phase of Ontario’s vaccination rollout. The operation was developed with Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Ornge, the province’s air ambulance service. The goal is to provide mass vaccinations by April 30 and it is having early successes.
There are challenges getting the vaccine to remote First Nations and questions about distribution for urban Indigenous populations.
The Assembly of First Nations says most Indigenous communities haven’t received sufficient supply to extend doses to their off-reserve members. The National Association of Friendship Centres says there is no national vaccination plan for urban Indigenous people.
There’s also concern there is no national plan to tackle decades of mistrust created by systemic racism and experimentation on Indigenous people.
There are many examples throughout Canadian history of scientists sponsored by the federal government or the government itself doing medical experiments on Indigenous people, including children, who were the subject of a tuberculosis vaccine trial in Saskatchewan that began in the 1930s.
Ontario New Democrat Sol Mamakwa, who represents the electoral district of Kiiwetinoong, said some constituents tell him they are scared to take the vaccine. They don’t trust it.
He has been travelling to communities to help promote it and received his first dose alongside members of Muskrat Dam Lake First Nation.
Community engagement has been key in vaccine uptake, Mamakwa said. Promotion begins weeks before vaccine teams arrive and includes radio campaigns, social media posts and live online question-and-answer sessions.
It’s about giving people information, he said.
“One of the only ways out of this pandemic is the vaccine,” said Wade Durham, Ornge’s chief operating officer, who added it’s key to have Indigenous people involved in vaccine planning.
Each First Nation in Operation Remote Immunity has a community member responsible for answering questions and setting up a vaccination site. Immunization teams are required to take cultural training and, when possible, include Indigenous medical professionals and language speakers.
Indigenous Services Canada said it is aware that a history of colonization and systemic racism has caused mistrust, so campaigns are being developed specifically for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.
Michelle Driedger, a Metis professor of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said experience has shown that stakes are high when it comes to Indigenous communities.
During the H1N1 pandemic in 2009, the Public Health Agency of Canada prioritized vaccines by geography. A main lesson learned was to increase Indigenous representation at decision-making tables, she said.
At the time, Indigenous people were over-represented in hospitalizations and intensive care stays, as well as in deaths. Those living in remote and isolated communities experienced worse outcomes.
Driedger said the vaccine response is better now, but there is “rational skepticism.” There needs to be a transparent vaccination plan for Indigenous communities — no matter where they are, she said.
The Matawa First Nations tribal council said its four communities reachable by road are not getting the same vaccine access as its five fly-in ones, and more needs to be done.
Provincial officials have said that remote First Nations received priority for the vaccine rollout because of less access to on-site health care and increased health risks. Chief Rick Allen from Constance Lake First Nation has said the vaccine needs to go where the outbreaks are.
Back in Neskantaga, Moonias said he’ll do anything he can to protect anyone he can.
He continues to give updates about his vaccination. In another Facebook video posted soon after he received his shot, the chief gave a thumbs-up and said he had no pain or discomfort.
“We need this. We need to beat this virus.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 27, 2021.
This story was produced through the Journalists for Human Rights Indigenous Reporters Program under the mentorship of The Canadian Press, with funding from the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch.
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