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Quebec reaches more than 100,000 total cases of COVID-19

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MONTREAL — Quebec reached more than 100,000 total cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, becoming the first province in Canada to hit the somber milestone since the pandemic began in March.

But despite remaining the country’s coronavirus epicentre, public health experts say a recent downward trend of infections is an encouraging sign.

“It’s a moment where we all sit up and say wow, 100,000 – that’s a lot of zeroes,” said Erin Strumpf, an associate professor at McGill University specialized in health economics.

“But again I think the more important thing to be paying attention to is the trend that we’ve been seeing recently in the province.”

The province reported 879 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 100,114 infections since the start of the pandemic.

The curve of new infections appears to have flattened over the past few weeks though, Strumpf said in an interview.

That downward trend, she said, coincides with stricter public health guidelines that aimed to stem the spread of the virus.

The government ordered the closure of bars and gyms, among other places, in hard-hit areas and advised residents to limit their contact with people who do not live in their households.

Montreal and Quebec City are among several Quebec regions that remain under the highest COVID-19 alert.

Strumpf said it is hard to pinpoint what exact measures are responsible for flattening the curve, however.

She added that she expects to see many public health restrictions remain in place moving forward. “It’s very difficult to know right now or to predict how long those closures may stay in place,” she said.

Still, the high COVID-19 infection numbers bring up painful memories for Quebecers who lost loved ones during the pandemic.

July Mak, whose 68-year-old father Paul contracted COVID-19 in a long-term care home in Montreal and died at the end of March, said the pain of her father’s death has not eased with time.

“To see these numbers this high… it blows my mind,” Mak said in an interview Sunday.

She said she wants the Quebec government to recognize that its COVID-19 data is more than just numbers — and thousands of people across the province have been directly affected.

“They mattered,” Mak said, about the thousands who have died.

On Sunday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that the number of new infections is “stable but remains high.”

Those cases can turn into hospitalizations and deaths, Dube warned, urging Quebecers to remain vigilant to reduce transmission.

Quebec health officials also reported 11 additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 6,143.

Five of those additional deaths took place in the past 24 hours, five were reported between Oct. 18-23 and one occurred at an unspecified date.

Hospitalizations went up by two across the province, for a total of 551. Of those, 97 people were in intensive care — an increase of four compared to the previous day.

The province said it conducted 25,378 COVID-19 tests on Friday, the last date for which the testing data is available.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.

Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Canadian Press

Source: – Airdrie Today

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COVID-19 Update: Alberta reports 1,608 new cases on Sunday | Nine new deaths | 95 people in ICU – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

The province also recorded 29 more deaths related to the virus since its last daily update.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 566 of the new cases are in Toronto, and 516 are in Peel Region.

Both regions were placed in the grey or “lockdown” stage of the province’s pandemic plan on Monday, but officials have said it could take at least two weeks to see any improvements related to the tougher restrictions.

Another 145 of the new infections are in York Region, with 105 and 102 in Waterloo and Hamilton, respectively.

Today’s numbers show that 595 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the province, an increase of 54 since yesterday.

The province says 155 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units at this time, and 99 are on ventilators.

It says nearly 55,100 tests were completed since the last report, and 1,510 more cases are considered resolved.

– The Canadian Press


Saturday

With its high concentration of essential workers, northeast Calgary vulnerable to COVID-19

Commuters at the Rundle CTrain station. A researcherbelieves COVID-19 rates are higher in northeast Calgary because more people are exposed to the virus as they use public transit to get to work. Photo by Gavin Young/Postmedia

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said that as someone raised in northeast Calgary who lives there to this day, the torrent of cases feels personal.

Many people living in the region have working-class jobs at places like grocery stores, warehouses and continuing-care centres, he said.

“These are my neighbours. And I get frustrated when people say, ‘We have to protect the economy at the expense of mental health because we have to protect the poor and vulnerable,’ because many of my neighbours work in essential services,” Nenshi said.

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‘Long-term care facilities are at a breaking point’: Calls for action as more deaths linked to Alberta continuing care centres – Global News

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COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths at Alberta’s long term care centres are causing alarm among doctors and families.

On Sunday, Alberta Health Services announced nine additional deaths linked to the virus. Eight of those deaths were at continuing care, long-term care or retirement centres.

Alberta Health has been notified of 41 cases linked to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in southeast Calgary, and a man in his 80s who was connected to the outbreak died Sunday.

“The people who are in these facilities who are truly vulnerable — we have again disregarded,” said David Cowling, whose brother Donald has been living at Clifton Manor for a year-and-a-half.

Read more:
‘Unclear processes’ led to days of delay for critical asymptomatic testing at long-term care homes

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Donald was recently transferred to a Calgary hospital because of medical issues. Cowling said his brother is well enough to go back to Clifton Manor but there’s an outbreak in his unit.

“Society has paid a tremendous price for this and yet we haven’t protected the vulnerable. That’s the irony in all of this,” Cowling said.

“I think it has been outrageous, how this has been handled.”

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Tehseen Ladha said hospital bed capacity is being affected by the outbreaks in long term care facilities.

“The situation is so dire in these long-term care facilities and it’s not getting a lot of attention,” Ladha said.

“We are basically taking up many hospital beds just because long-term care facilities are at a breaking point where they have no staff.

“They have COVID outbreaks and they simply can’t manage and they can’t accept residents back to the facilities.”

Read more:
Increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alberta pushing ICUs to 90% capacity

The president of the Brenda Strafford Foundation, which operates Clifton Manor, Conroy said the province should have brought in tougher restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus.

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“I think what is required is the circuit breaker approach. Respecting the economic impact of the pandemic but if you just saw the information over the weekend in terms of shopping, the ski hills, the (anti-mask) rallies etc.,  I’m not sure it’s enough to influence behavior,” Conroy said.

He said asymptomatic testing has been “incredibly effective.”

“Over three-quarters of the positive cases we have found have been asymptomatic which is an incredibly high number,” Conroy said.

Conroy is concerned there is a bias when in comes to the age of the people who are dying from COVID-19. In Alberta, the average age is 82.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s explicit; it’s implicit systemic ageism. I find that to be very unfortunate,” he said.

“We know who the most vulnerable in our society is based on the learning from the first wave of the pandemic and I think we could’ve done more to prevent the vulnerability of those in continuing care centers.”

READ MORE: More calls for additional health measures in Alberta’s continuing care homes

On Sunday, AHS said one person has died and there are 11 active cases linked to an outbreak at Generations Calgary — a combined long term care and supportive living facility in the northeast end of the city.

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Alberta Health has been notified of 110 cases linked to the COVID outbreak at Mount Royal Revera in Calgary. There are six active cases, 93 recovered and 11 people have died.

Cowling is calling for more resources, including more asymptomatic testing, to be provided to continuing care centres.

“There’s no reason for why this should be happening. There’s no reason why all of the suffering that we as a society have had to take to deal with. We didn’t even put in remotely the adequate resources to protect the vulnerable,” Cowling said.

There are a total of 45 outbreaks in Calgary zone long term care and supportive living facilities and 47 in the Edmonton Zone.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue – Victoria News

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The country’s top doctor is asking Canadians to limit their contacts and gatherings as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in several provinces.

In a statement released Sunday (Nov. 29), chief medical officer Dr. Theresa Tam said there has been an average of 5,335 new cases daily over the past week, compared to 4,739 daily new cases from Nov. 13-19.

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior, while the positivity rate has increased from 6.6 per cent to 7.6 per cent. The number of patients in hospital with COVID-19 has increased to 2,111 from Nov. 20 to 26, up from 1,840 the week prior. The number of ICU patients treated daily jumped from 376 to 432 over the same time period, while average daily deaths increased by five to 76.

“More and larger outbreaks are occurring in long term care homes, congregate living settings and hospitals, and spreading in Indigenous communities and more remote areas of the country,” Tam said. “These developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies.”

Tam said that this time period was crucial, as the weather continues to get colder across the country and gathering indoors becomes more tempting.

“Avoid or limit time spent in the 3Cs – closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings and situations,” she said, as well as urging people to wear masks, stay home if they are sick and wash their hands frequently.

In total, Canada has reported 370,278 confirmed cases and 12,032 deaths due to COVID-19.

B.C. recorded a record-breaking 911 cases on Friday, the last day of a week that has proven to be its deadliest of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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