Ontario is reporting 119 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths Monday.
Non-essential stores, personal care salons and museums across Quebec will allowed to reopen today as the province eases some of the restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.
The province is also allowing universities and junior colleges to begin to gradually reopen their campuses to allow students to attend in-person classes and activities a few times a month.
But while the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has dropped in recent weeks, the government says it’s still too early to remove measures such as a nighttime curfew.
Six of the province’s less-populated regions are moving to the lower orange-alert level, allowing their residents to eat inside restaurant dining rooms, work out at gyms and stay out until 9:30 p.m., instead of 8 p.m. like the rest of the province.
The province is also allowing people across the province to participate in outdoor activities with people outside their households.
Residents will be able to meet outside with up to three people from other households, while in orange zones, the limit will be increased to eight.
Indoor gatherings are still prohibited, and bars remain closed. The government is also ordering anyone who can work from home to do so.
Restaurants in orange zones will only be allowed to seat two adults and their children at each table, and reservations will be mandatory to facilitate contact tracing and to prevent people from outside the region from visiting them.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021
Ontario is reporting 119 new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and three related deaths Monday.
The province has now seen 549,447 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic and 9,316 people have died.
There are currently 96 patients in Ontario hospitals, with an additional 131 in intensive care units, and of those, 79 require a ventilator. (Ontario Public Health statistics of ICU hospitalizations and ventilator cases contain some patients who no longer test positive for COVID-19 but who are being treated for conditions caused by the virus. As such, occasionally, the number of patients in ICUs or that require a ventilator may exceed the number of patients in hospitals with COVID-19.)
Another 137 cases were resolved in the past 24 hours and of Ontario’s total case count, 538,702 are now considered resolved.
There were 11,930 tests conducted in the province Sunday with a 1.0 per cent positivity rate.
There were 22 cases identified in Toronto, 15 in Hamilton, 14 in Waterloo, and 13 in Peel region.
Officials in Ontario are also continuing to track the spread of variants of concern in the province.
There were 19 new confirmed cases of the Alpha variant, and there have now been 145,405 confirmed cases of that strain in Ontario.
Three new cases of the Delta variant were confirmed Monday, and there have now been 3,916 total cases of that variant in Ontario.
No new cases of the Beta or Gamma variant were identified in the province, according to Monday’s data.
Ontario’s vaccination rollout has now reached 80.4 per cent of eligible (12-plus) residents with one dose, and 66.7 per cent of residents have received both vaccine doses.
Another 65,920 vaccine doses were administered across the province on Sunday. As of 8 p.m. Sunday, 19,018,393 doses had been administered and 8,625,932 Ontarians had been fully immunized with both doses, according to the latest provincial data.
Ottawa Public Health is reporting seven new cases in the city and no new deaths.
There have now been 27,782 total cases in Ottawa and of those, 27,147 are resolved. There have been 593 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the city.
There are now 42 active cases in Ottawa, two fewer than Sunday, and there remains one patient in hospital, with none in ICU.
There have been 40 total cases of the Delta variant in Ottawa, according to provincial data.
There have also been 1,416,743 total vaccine doses administered in Ottawa.
According to OPH, 768,001 eligible residents (age 12-plus) have received one dose, and 638,520 are full vaccinated.
That represents 83 per cent of the eligible population with one dose and 69 per cent of the eligible population with both doses.
There was one new local case reported Sunday, and Ottawa has seen 27,775 total cases and 593 deaths, according to Sunday’s data.
Only one other case was identified Monday in the East region of the province, with one confirmed case in the Hatings region.
No new cases were identified in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, Kingston, Renfrew County or in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.
Premier Doug Ford is in Ottawa Monday to make an announcement at the Ottawa Hospital’s General campus, where will be joined by Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Jeremy Roberts, Mayor Jim Watson, and Ottawa Hospital president and CEO Cameron Love.
The announcement is set for 1:15 p.m.
There have been 298 new cases in Quebec since the last provincial update on Friday, including 223 new cases over the weekend and 75 new cases confirmed Monday.
There have been 376,828 total cases in Quebec and 11,240 deaths. One new death was reported in Monday’s data.
Of those total cases, 364,774 people have recovered in Quebec and those cases are now considered resolved.
There are 67 patients in hospital in Quebec, which remains stable for the previous day’s figures, and there are 20 people in intensive care. That is one fewer than recent days.
Another 55,188 vaccine doses have been administered in the province, including 54,106 doses in the past 24 hours.
There have been 12,228,529 total vaccine doses administered in the province.
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If you don’t eat whole grain foods on a daily basis, consider rethinking your menu.
According to researchers from Tufts University in Boston, doing so can help you manage your waist size, blood sugar (glucose) and blood pressure as you age. And it doesn’t take a lot. The sweet spot, it seems, is three whole grain servings each day.
Repeated studies have linked higher whole grain intakes to protection against heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The latest findings, published earlier this month in the Journal of Nutrition, suggest that whole grains guard against chronic disease by reducing increases in risk factors that occur over time.
All grains – such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats – start out as whole grain kernels made up of three layers: The outer bran layer, which contains nearly all the fibre; the inner germ layer, which is rich in nutrients, antioxidants and healthy fats; and the starchy endosperm.
Eating whole grains and 100-per-cent whole grain foods means that you’re getting all parts of the grain kernel.
When whole grains are processed into refined flour, the bran and germ layers are removed, resulting in a loss of most of the fibre, one-quarter of the grain’s protein and a substantial amount of at least 17 nutrients.
The researchers compared how whole grain and refined grain intake affected changes in five risk factors for heart disease and stroke: waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, blood triglycerides (fats) and HDL (“good”) blood cholesterol.
They did so by assessing the diets and health of 3,121 middle-aged and older adults, every four years, over a span of 18 years. Participants were, on average, 55 years old at the start of data collection.
People who ate at least three daily servings of whole grains (versus one-half or less) experienced smaller increases in waist circumference. Over each four-year period, waist circumference increased one inch among those who ate few whole grains compared to one-half inch among those who ate more whole grains. The protective effect of whole grains on waist size was strongest in women.
Whole grain eaters also had smaller increases in fasting blood glucose and blood pressure over time.
With respect to refined grains (such as white bread, white pasta and white rice), the results revealed that people who ate four or more servings per day (versus fewer than two) experienced greater increases in waist circumference and smaller declines in blood triglycerides over the study period.
Eating fibre-rich whole grains can help you feel satiated and prevent overeating. The soluble fibre in whole grains can also help prevent spikes in blood sugar and insulin after eating. This may, in turn, favour fat-burning rather than fat storage.
Whole grains are also good sources of magnesium and potassium, minerals used to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure. And many whole grains contain prebiotic carbohydrates, which fuel beneficial gut microbes.
One serving of whole grain is equivalent to one slice of 100-per-cent whole grain bread or one-half cup of cooked whole grain pasta or cooked whole grain (including oats, brown rice, farro, millet and hulled barley).
Read labels on packages of whole grain breads, crackers and breakfast cereals. If you don’t see “100-per-cent whole grain” listed, scan the ingredient list to make sure the product doesn’t contain refined grains (for example, wheat flour).
When buying rye bread look for ingredients that indicate whole grain such as whole rye flour, rye meal, rye kernels and rye flakes.
Don’t be fooled by claims of added fibre. Wonder White + Fibre bread, for example, isn’t a whole grain bread. Nor is Catelli’s Smart Pasta. Both are refined grain products with added oat hull fibre (and inulin in the pasta).
If you avoid wheat, rye and barley because they contain gluten, include gluten-free whole grains in your daily diet such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth and gluten-free oats.
Batch cook whole grains so that you have them ready to add to meals. Toss cooked quinoa, bulgur or farro into green salads; add barley, red rice or spelt berries to soups, stews and chilis; or make whole grain bowls with freekeh or brown rice.
Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is director of food and nutrition at Medcan. Follow her on Twitter @LeslieBeckRD
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