- The province also reported the first two cases of the new UK variant of the virus, the first cases in Canada.
- Ottawa reported 59 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, but the data is from Thursday, Christmas Eve, and does not include Christmas Day.
- Ontario reported 4,301 new cases of the virus over a two-day period.
- While some small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, independent bookstores have been among the few economic success stories.
- Some not-for-profit long-term care homes say they are facing financial uncertainty.
What’s the latest?
It’s the second day of Ontario’s provincewide 28-day lockdown. Ottawa reported 59 new cases of the virus Saturday, but the numbers were only recorded as of Christmas Eve and did not include data from Friday.
Ontario has recorded the first cases of the new strain of COVID-19 from the United Kingdom. The cases were identified in a couple from Durham Region, east of Toronto, with no known travel history, exposure, or high-risk contacts.
Independent bookstores in Ottawa have been thriving during the pandemic, thanks to people choosing to shop local, even hiring people when some stores had to lay off staff.
Some not-for-profit long-term care homes in Ottawa say they are running deficits because of their inability to fundraise this year.
How many cases are there?
Ottawa Public Health reported 59 new cases of the virus on Saturday and no new deaths, but the numbers did not include data collected Friday. Currently, 9,569 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 372 known active cases, 8,807 resolved cases and 390 deaths linked to COVID-19.
Ontario has had more than 2,000 cases a day, 12 days in a row, with the majority of cases reported Saturday stemming from the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Windsor-Essex.
Public health officials have reported more than 16,800 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 15,100 resolved cases.
Ninety-two people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario and 101 people have died in western Quebec.
What can I do?
With Ontario’s lockdown measures now in effect, the Ontario government says people need to stop gathering and moving across the province to avoid even more COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths — including in areas with low case counts.
People are asked to only leave home when they need to and if they leave the province, to isolate for 14 days upon returning.
No indoor public events or indoor social gatherings will be allowed, except with members of the same household or one other home for people who live alone.
Outdoor gatherings can’t have more than 10 people and should be distanced and masked.
WATCH | Provincewide lockdown comes into effect in Ontario
In-person shopping will be limited to essential businesses. Restaurants and non-essential businesses can offer curbside pickup and delivery.
Schools won’t immediately return with in-person classes, except for post-secondary classes that can’t be held virtually. Child care centres will be open, but day camps will not.
The province is offering support to Ottawa’s small businesses and central residents.
Across southern and eastern Ontario the plan is for rules to be in place for four weeks, though that could be either shortened or lengthened depending on the data.
Ottawa’s mayor and medical officer of health say Ottawa should have a two-week lockdown.
In western Quebec, now considered a red zone by that province, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it’s essential, including for Christmas. There is an exception for people living alone.
Being in the red means no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.
Quebec will shut down non-essential businesses today until at least Jan. 11 and has extended holiday school closures until Jan. 11.
Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout Quebec.
Distancing and isolating
The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.
People can be contagious without symptoms.
This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don’t live with — even with a mask on.
Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.
WATCH | Growing fears holiday gatherings will lead to January COVID-19 surge
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who’ve been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.
Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible and get friends and family to help with errands.
Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.
Canada and several European countries have temporarily halted flights from the U.K. in response to a new coronavirus strain.
Symptoms and vaccines
If you have severe symptoms, call 911.
Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by Health Canada.
While details are scarce, it’s expected the general public will be able to get vaccinated between April and September 2021.
Where to get tested
Many clinics have different hours around Christmas and New Year’s Day, with more information in the links below.
In eastern Ontario:
Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.
Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you’ve been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. That no longer includes international travellers.
People without symptoms, but who are part of the province’s targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.
WATCH | A doctor’s account from an Alberta ICU during Christmas
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Casselman, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Rockland and Winchester.
People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton, where online booking is preferred.
The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test clinic visiting smaller communities or people with problems getting to a site.
Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.
In western Quebec:
Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.
Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.
They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.
There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.
Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis:
Akwesasne had most of its known COVID-19 cases in November, with the virus still spreading in that community. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel, and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.
Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.
Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who’s been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259.
Anyone in Tyendinaga who’s interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.
Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.
For more information
Rio Tinto smelter workers go on strike in Kitimat, B.C. – Business News – Castanet.net
Approximately 900 Rio Tinto workers at the company’s aluminum smelting facilities in Kitimat, B.C. have gone on strike.
The walkout began today at one minute after midnight. Unifor Local 2301, which represents the workers, had issued a 72-hour strike notice after nearly seven weeks of negotiations.
Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President, says the strike comes down to what he calls “Rio Tinto’s greed and lack of respect” for the union members working at the Kitimat smelting facilities.
The union says it has proposed the first changes to workers’ retirement income and benefit levels in more than a decade, including moving younger workers to defined benefit from defined contribution pension plans.
It also says negotiations have focused on a backlog of more than 300 grievances resulting from the company’s use of contractors and its refusal to hire full-time workers.
Bargaining had continued up until the strike deadline, and the company had earlier said that it was “committed to working with the union to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.”
30 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death reported in Manitoba on Sunday – CBC.ca
There are 30 new COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and one more person has died from the illness, the province’s online coronavirus dashboard says.
Manitoba’s five-day test positivity rate is now 3.2 per cent, the dashboard says, down slightly from 3.3 on Saturday.
The province is no longer issuing COVID-19 news releases on weekends, which means updates on Saturdays and Sundays come from Manitoba’s online dashboards.
Those data portals offer less information than what’s typically included in a news release. For example, they do not provide any information on the age or health region of people who died from the illness.
Those and other details are expected to be revealed in the province’s next news release on Monday.
There are still 103 Manitobans hospitalized after getting COVID-19 and the number of people in intensive care rose by one to 26, the dashboard says.
Manitoba has now reported 1,172 deaths linked to COVID-19. The province’s seven-day new case average sank to just under 44.
On Saturday, the province did 1,465 more tests for the illness, the dashboard says, bringing the total number of swabs completed since the beginning of the pandemic to 865,786.
As of Sunday, Manitoba has fully vaccinated 66 per cent of its eligible population against COVID-19 while 78.6 per cent have at least one dose, the province’s online vaccine dashboard says.
That brings the province slightly closer to its final reopening plan goal of having 80 per cent with at least one dose and at least 75 per cent with both by Sept 6.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 57,446 people in Manitoba have tested positive for COVID-19. The dashboard says 55,719 of them are considered recovered, while 555 are still deemed active cases.
Ontario reports 172 new COVID-19 cases and 2 more deaths; 7-day average remains unchanged – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Ontario reported fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths on Sunday, as the seven-day rolling average remains unchanged from yesterday.
Provincial health officials logged 172 new infections today, up from 170 on Saturday but down from 177 a week ago.
The province reported 192 cases on Friday, 185 on Thursday and 135 on Wednesday.
The seven-day rolling average now stands at 159, unchanged from Saturday but up slightly from a week ago when it was 153.
The province’s virus-related death toll is 9,313.
Another 144 people recovered from the virus yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.
Ontario labs processed 13,902 tests in the past 24 hours, down from 19,131 the previous day.
The drop in testing contributed to a slight day-over-day rise in the positivity rate to 1.1. per cent, compared to 0.8 per cent on Saturday, according to the Ministry of Health.
Another 152 lab-confirmed cases of variants of concern were identified in Ontario in the past 24 hours.
In the Greater Toronto Area, 48 cases of COVID-19 were logged in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, nine in York Region, 11 in Durham and seven in Halton.
There are currently 127 people in intensive care units across the province due to the virus and 81 of those patients are breathing with the help of a ventilator.
To date, there have been more 549,300 lab-confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 538,565 recoveries since January 2020.
Over 8.5 million people are fully vaccinated against the virus after receiving two doses of approved vaccines.
More than 18.9 million doses of vaccine have been administered in Ontario since mid-December, with 103,812 shots into arms yesterday alone.
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.
Region of Waterloo reports first daily single-digit COVID-19 case increase since October – CTV Toronto
Biden Faces Fresh Challenges on Covid-19, Economy – The Wall Street Journal
Rio Tinto smelter workers go on strike in Kitimat, B.C. – Business News – Castanet.net
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