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What you need to know about COVID-19 in B.C. for Dec. 18 –




  • Applications for the B.C. Recovery Benefit are due to open today.
  • The province is ramping up enforcement of public health orders to ensure more people are following its mask mandate and social gathering restrictions.
  • 21 new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Thursday.
  • 673 new cases of the disease were also confirmed.
  • There are 10,009 active cases of COVID-19 across the province.
  • 358 patients are in hospital, with 93 in intensive care.

Applications for the B.C. Recovery Benefit are due to open Friday, as the holidays inch closer and the province surpasses 10,000 active cases of COVID-19.

The provincial government said eligible adults in the province would be able to start applying for the $1,000 benefit on Friday. The application portal should open at 8:30 a.m. PT, according to a ministry spokesperson.

Families with incomes under $125,000 will be eligible to receive $1,000 and families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced amount. Single-parent families also qualify for these benefit amounts.

Single people earning less than $62,500 qualify for a $500 payment and individuals earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced amount. The criteria is based on 2019 tax returns.

B.C. confirmed another 673 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, meaning the province now has more than 10,000 active cases of the disease for the first time since the pandemic began. Twenty-one more people had died.

There were 358 people in hospital as of Thursday afternoon, with 93 in the intensive care unit.

Also on Thursday, Henry announced new guidelines for COVID-19 testing. She said anyone who has had contact with a known case and has any possible symptoms should get tested immediately.

There are four key symptoms that should also prompt immediate testing, irrespective of whether there has been any contact with a COVID-19 case. The symptoms are fever or chills, cough, loss of sense of smell or taste, and difficulty breathing.

Symptoms like sore throat, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea are a lower priority for testing. Anyone experiencing one or two of those symptoms should wait 24 hours and then get tested if they still feel the same or worse.

On a more positive note, Henry said 1,215 workers in the B.C. health-care system have received the COVID-19 vaccine this week, and she expects more doses of the vaccine to arrive weekly from now on.


What’s happening elsewhere in Canada

As of 4:30 a.m. PT Friday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 488,638, with 76,310 of those cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 13,916.

A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 13,799.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Loss of taste or smell.
  • Headache.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they’re mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or o​​​​​​ther extreme symptoms should call 911.

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean.
  • Keep your distance from people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government’s website.

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Weekly COVID-19 trends in Ottawa showing signs of improvement – CTV Edmonton



Several weekly COVID-19 trends in Ottawa are showing signs of improvement following a third straight day of Ottawa Public Health reporting fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 each day.

Ottawa Public Health is reporting 67 more people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19 and two more people have died.

OPH reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 in the city on Tuesday and 85 on Monday and also reported two new deaths each day.

Ontario health officials reported 2,655 new cases of COVID-19 reported provincewide on Wednesday. Ontario also reported 89 new deaths and 3,714 resolved cases on Wednesday.

According to Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, there have been 12,494 total lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa since the pandemic began and 409 residents have died.

The weekly trends of new cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days has dropped below 80, and the estimated reproduction rate–the number of additional people each person with the virus infects–has also plummeted. The testing positivity rate is below 4 per cent for the first time since early January.

However, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 complications is now above 40.


A province-wide lockdown went into effect on Dec. 26, 2020. Ottawa Public Health moved Ottawa into its red zone in early January.

A provincial stay-at-home order has been in effect since Jan. 14, 2021.

Ottawa Public Health data:

  • COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (previous seven days): 72.9 cases
  • Positivity rate in Ottawa: 3.5 per cent (Jan. 13 – Jan. 19)
  • Reproduction number: 0.72 (seven day average)

Reproduction values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading and each case infects more than one contact. If it is less than 1, it means spread is slowing. 


  • Doses administered in Ottawa (first and second shots): 21,951
  • Doses received in Ottawa: 25,350

Ottawa Public Health says the city received 2,925 doses of COVID-19 vaccines on Jan. 18.


The number of people in Ottawa with known active cases of COVID-19 has dropped for the fourth day in a row. It now stands at 1,057, down from 1,137 on Tuesday. The number of active cases peaked at 1,286 on Saturday.

OPH says 145 more cases of COVID-19 in the city have resolved, bringing Ottawa’s total number of resolved cases to 11,028.

The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.


There are now 42 people in Ottawa hospitals with COVID-19 complications, the highest figure so far in 2021. Eight people are in the intensive care unit.

Of the people in hospital, one is 10 to 19 years old (this person is in the ICU), one is in their 30s (this person is in the ICU), one is in their 40s, seven are in their 50s (two are in the ICU), eight are in their 60s (two are in the ICU), seven are in their 70s (two are in the ICU), 10 are in their 80s, and seven are 90 or older. 


Ontario health officials say 54,307 COVID-19 tests were performed across Ontario on Tuesday and there are 48,963 tests still under investigation.

Local testing information from the Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce is due this afternoon.


Here is a breakdown of all known COVID-19 cases in Ottawa by age category:

  • 0-9 years old: 2 new cases (890 total cases)
  • 10-19 years-old: 4 new cases (1,576 total cases)
  • 20-29 years-old: 18 new cases (2,656 total cases)
  • 30-39 years-old: 14 new cases (1,730 total cases)
  • 40-49 years-old: 10 new cases (1,637 total cases)
  • 50-59 years-old: 11 new cases (1,480 total cases)
  • 60-69-years-old: 4 new cases (901 total cases)
  • 70-79 years-old: 2 new cases (564 total cases)
  • 80-89 years-old: 2 new cases (634 total cases)
  • 90+ years old: 0 new cases (423 total cases)
  • Unknown: 0 new cases (3 cases total)


  • Eastern Ontario Health Unit: 16 new cases
  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health: 2 new cases
  • Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Public Health: 2 new cases
  • Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit: 2 new cases
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit: 0 new cases
  • Outaouais Region: 21 new cases


Ottawa Public Health is reporting COVID-19 outbreaks at 38 institutions in Ottawa, including long-term care homes, retirement homes, daycares, hospitals and schools.

Outbreaks at the Alta Vista Manor and Redwoods retirement homes have ended. An outbreak at a local group home has also ended.

New outbreaks were declared at a Wee Watch home childcare location in Nepean, the Stirling Park retirement home and the Ravines Indpendent Living home. 

There are six active community outbreaks. An outbreak at a multi-unit dwelling has ended.

Three are linked to health workplaces, one is linked to an office workplace, one is linked to a distribution centre, and one is linked to a services workplace

The schools and childcare spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Andrew Fleck Children’s Services – Home Child Care – 29101 
  2. Greenboro Children’s Centre
  3. Montessori by Brightpath
  4. Ruddy Family Y Child Care
  5. Services à l’enfance Grandir Ensemble – La Maisonée – 28627
  6. Wee Watch Nepean home childcare – 29084 (NEW)

The long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and other spaces currently experiencing outbreaks are:

  1. Besserer Place
  2. Centre D’Accueil Champlain
  3. Colonel By Retirement Home
  4. Extendicare Laurier Manor
  5. Extendicare Medex
  6. Extendicare New Orchard Lodge
  7. Extendicare West End Villa
  8. Garry J. Armstrong long-term care home
  9. Grace Manor Long-term Care Home
  10. Granite Ridge long-term care home
  11. Group Home – 28608
  12. Group Home – 28740
  13. Group Home – 29045
  14. Group Home – 29049
  15. Group Home – 29052
  16. Hillel Lodge
  17. Madonna Care Community
  18. Montfort Long-term Care Centre 
  19. Oakpark Retirement Community
  20. Park Place
  21. Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre 
  22. Peter D. Clark long-term care home 
  23. Shelter – 28365
  24. Sisters of Charity Couvent Mont Saint-Joseph
  25. St. Patrick’s Home
  26. Stirling Park Retirement Community (NEW)
  27. Supported Independent Living – 28110
  28. Supported Independent Living – 29100 
  29. The Ravines Independent Living (NEW)
  30. Valley Stream Retirement Residence
  31. Villa Marconi
  32. Villagia in the Glebe Retirement Residence

A single laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in a resident or staff member of a long-term care home, retirement home or shelter triggers an outbreak response, according to Ottawa Public Health. In childcare settings, a single confirmed, symptomatic case in a staff member, home daycare provider, or child triggers an outbreak.

Under provincial guidelines, a COVID-19 outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school (including transportation and before or after school care).  

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Manitoba officials to give COVID-19 update at 12:30 p.m. –



Health officials in Manitoba are set to give the latest news on COVID-19 in the province on Wednesday afternoon.

CBC News will live stream the update here at 12:30 p.m. Manitobans will hear from Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting deputy chief provincial public health officer, and Dr. Joss Reimer, a medical officer of health for Manitoba Health and a member of the province’s COVID-19 vaccine implementation task force.

The news conference comes one day after the province floated possible changes to public health orders that will expire on Friday.

Those possible tweaks, which are being considered for all regions but the hard-hit north, include allowing some small gatherings and scrapping restrictions on what can be sold in stores.

Manitoba also is reassessing how many vaccine appointments can be booked after the already reduced Pfizer-BioNTech shipments the province expected to get over the next few weeks were cut in half.

The slowdown comes after Pfizer temporarily paused some production lines as it aims to expand manufacturing capacity in the long term.

Help is on the way for Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, after federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair approved a request for assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces for the community as it deals with an outbreak.

Cases in Manitoba’s Northern Health Region were down slightly on Tuesday; the area saw 500 new cases last week.

On Monday, the Manitoba Metis Federation opened a COVID-19 testing site for Métis people in and around Winnipeg.

The organization partnered with a local bioinformation services firm after it was unable to get information from the province on how many Métis people in Manitoba have tested positive for COVID-19, president David Chartrand said.

Meanwhile, federal Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal wrote to Premier Brian Pallister, asking that the federation to be included in the province’s vaccine task force and distribution plans. Vandal is also the member of Parliament for Winnipeg’s St. Boniface-St. Vital riding.

Manitoba has reported 229 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15 more coronavirus-linked deaths since Monday.

The province’s latest fatalities include a tally of 11 on Tuesday, the first time that number was in the double digits in nearly two weeks.

Those numbers are a marked improvement from two months ago, when daily case counts hovered around the low 400s and on one day peaked at 546 new cases.

Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate, a rolling average of the COVID-19 tests that come back positive, has also been trending downward, though fewer people are being tested for the illness.

The decreasing numbers are why Manitoba is now in a position to consider loosening some of its pandemic rules, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin said on Tuesday.

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New variants of novel coronavirus detected worldwide, worrying public health experts – CTV News



More variants of the novel coronavirus are being detected worldwide, ramping up fears in Canada around the increased transmission some of these variants could bring.

They’re known as “variants of concern” according to the World Health Organization, and since the first variant emerged in the U.K., it and other variants have spread to numerous countries. The U.K. variant alone has been detected in 60 countries. A new variant emerged this week in a German ski town in Bavaria, making up 35 newly-infected cases in the hospital, according to local media reports.

Officials said the variant was different than others making their way across the globe.

In virus-stricken California, where doctors are already dealing with overwhelmed hospitals as a result of the highly transmissible U.K. variant, another variant has also been ramping up.

It’s called “452R” and isn’t technically new — it was first detected in Denmark a year ago and in California since May. It’s not thought to be more deadly, but it could be more transmissible than the original virus, like most of the variants that have been discovered.

“Something that’s stickier like this new variant potentially is can cause us to have setbacks in all of the hard work that we’ve done so far,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor with the University of California San Fransisco School of Medicine.

Two of the variants causing a lot of concern are from Brazil and from South Africa.

Scientists from the lab that discovered the South Africa variant (known as the 501Y.V2 variant) explained that the variant is more efficient at targeting healthy cells because of key mutations in its structure.

“It has to get in and it has to get out before the cell dies, because the virus has no life of its own,” Alex Sigal, with the African Health Research Institute, explained to CNN.

Studying how these variants work will be a hugely important part of the COVID-19 response, WHO stressed in a recent press release. The organization held an emergency meeting last week to address the topic of the variants, affirming the importance of global collaboration on research.

In the meeting, WHO vowed to make the sequencing of different variants a priority by improving capacity for that type of research worldwide.

Scientists in Canada are also on the hunt to get answers about these variants and others like them.

Graham Tipples, medical scientific director of the provincial Public Health Lab in Alberta, told CTV News that variants outside of those scientists have already identified will certainly “continue to arise,” and that we’ll only know through research if they pose a unique threat or not.

“We need to understand whether any of them have significant altered characteristics that might affect immunization, that might affect diagnostics, that might affect causing more severe disease,” he said.

He added that scientists needed to keep an eye on the specific structure of the variants for testing as well.

“The targets that we have for our diagnostic test may be affected by a particular mutation, so we have to be aware of how the virus changes so that our tests don’t come up negative, because of a mutation.”

Some doctors are so concerned about the potential spread of these new variants in Canada that they’ve launched a petition asking governments to restrict travel to stop variants from arriving here.

The petition declares that “the #CanadianShield starts at the border” and notes that the B.1.1.7 variant – one of several terms for the U.K. variant – is estimated to be 30-60 per cent more transmissible than the current strain circulating in Canada.

The petition calls on the federal government to restrict international travel by more clearly defining essential travel and enforcing the criteria.

Scientists say we need to remain vigilant when it comes to these variants.

“There could be ones that may be more deadly down the road, and so we want to make sure we try to reduce the amount of virus spreading because the more we allow it to spread, the more chance of these variants to appear,” Jeff Kwong, a professor of public health and family medicine at the University of Toronto, told CTV News.

He pointed out that the U.K. variant has already led to huge outbreaks in the U.K. Only a few cases of this variant have been identified in Canada so far, but experts say if it is allowed to spread, it could become the dominant strain.

“We need to make sure we don’t allow for more cases to come into Canada, because once it catches fire here then we’re in big trouble,” Kwong said.

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