TORONTO — A dramatic tripling of daily new cases of COVID-19 in the past month, mostly among young people, has prompted the prime minister to declare the arrival of the second wave of the pandemic and that Canadians likely won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving.
“In our four biggest provinces, the second wave isn’t just starting, it’s already underway,” Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening in a rare television address to the nation.
“We’re on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring.”
Trudeau said Canadians can’t do anything to change the numbers now, or even tomorrow.
“But what we can change is where we are in October, and into the winter,” he said.
“It’s all too likely we won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving, but we still have a shot at Christmas.”
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the country had seen an average of more than 1,100 new cases of the novel coronavirus a day this past week compared with about 380 a day in mid-August.
“Canada is at a crossroads with the COVID-19 epidemic trajectory,” Tam said before Trudeau’s address. “Unless public health and individual protective measures are strengthened and we work together to slow the spread of the virus, the situation is on track for a big resurgence in a number of provinces.”
While the new cases were primarily among young adults, more than 400 schools in Quebec and another 153 in Ontario reported at least one case of the illness. The figures from the group COVID Ecoles Quebec and the Ontario government came as authorities seek ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 among younger people.
Data from Ontario show cases among those in their 20s have risen sharply in the past month, with one expert attributing the increase in part to the reopening of schools and universities.
In an effort to tackle the problem, several provinces, cities and universities have warned of stiff fines for violating anti-COVID restrictions. However, Quebec said it would not allow police to enter homes without a warrant to break up gatherings that violate the measures.
The worrisome upward trend in new cases came as the federal Liberal government laid out its plan to take on the second wave.
“To prevent small clusters from becoming major outbreaks, communities may need to enact short-term closure orders,” the government said in its throne speech.
Stringent lockdowns in the spring caused unprecedented economic disruption, prompting the government to spend tens of billions of dollars on supports as unemployment skyrocketed.
The throne speech promised, among other things, an extension of the federal wage-subsidy program until next summer, more aid for businesses and help to boost testing capacity. People in various cities have waited for hours or even days for virus testing. Safety concerns led a hospital in Kitchener, Ont., to close its drive-thru testing centre as people arrived in the wee hours.
In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada, while the cumulative case count has been edging toward the 150,000 mark.
Quebec, with more than 69,000 cases, accounts for about 48 per cent of the total cases but 63 per cent of the deaths. Ontario’s more than 48,000 reported cases account for 33 per cent nationally, and 31 per cent of fatalities
On Wednesday, Quebec reported 471 new cases. Another four reported deaths from the novel coronavirus brought the province’s total fatalities to 5,809.
Ontario, which has shown a steady increase in new cases since mid-August, after months of declines, reported 335 new cases Wednesday and another three deaths. Almost 70 per cent of new infections were in people under the age of 40.
Concern is also mounting as more long-term care homes in Ontario, brutally hit by the virus earlier in the year, report outbreaks. Almost 70 per cent of fatalities have been among those aged 80 and older and another 27 per cent were 60 to 79 years of age.
While older people and those with underlying health conditions are more susceptible to severe illnesses from SARS-CoV-2, younger people can spread the disease — often before showing any symptoms.
“When there’s so much in the community, it can escalate into the populations with more vulnerability,” Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health in Ottawa, one of the harder hit cities, said.
Ontario data indicates new cases among people in their 20s have reached similar levels to those seen among people in their 80s in mid-April. Along with school reopenings, Dr. Brian Ward, a professor of medicine at McGill University, cited bars and parties as key factors, along with a “general sense of invulnerability” among younger people.
“COVID fatigue also clearly plays a role,” Ward said.
Winnipeg, for example, accounted for 30 of Manitoba’s 42 new cases reported Wednesday, with possible exposures at restaurants, bars and a pub trivia night, the province said.
Trudeau sympathized with Canadians feeling the stress of a second wave, but urged people to be strong.
“‘Can’t’ will not define us,” he said.
“We can bend the curve. We can build a stronger future. We can define the change.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.
Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
272 new cases of COVID-19 reported in B.C., with zero new in Island Health – CHEK
British Columbia’s health officials have revealed that there have been 272 new cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours, with zero of those cases linked to the Island Health region.
The total number of active cases in British Columbia has increased to 2,390 – a rise of 46 from October 29 – while 6,003 residents remain under active public health monitoring.
On Friday, there was one additional death related to the virus, meaning the provincial total over the course of the pandemic is 263.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says that there are currently 78 individuals hospitalized from COVID-19 in B.C. – a decrease of eight since Thursday – with 25 people in intensive care (increasing by one from Thursday).
As of Friday, the total number of cases in British Columbia over the course of the pandemic has been 14,381.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 4,664 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 8,219 in the Fraser Health region, 256 in the Island Health region, 741 in the Interior Health region, 412 in the Northern Health region and 89 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a written statement that there have been three new health-care facility outbreaks as of Friday as well. Outbreaks have been reported at Hawthorne Seniors Care Community, CareLife Fleetwood and Queen’s Park Hospital unit 3C NMSK 2.
While three new outbreaks were reported on Friday, another three came to an end. The outbreaks at Fort Langley Seniors Community, The Village and Sunset Manor and Good Samaritan Victoria Heights have been declared over. In total, 24 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.
Active cases within the Island Health region have decreased to 8.
Of those active cases, three are in the South Vancouver Island area, three are in the Central Vancouver Island region, while two are located on the northern parts of Vancouver Island.
Southern Vancouver Island includes the Greater Victoria region, Southern Gulf Islands and the Port Renfrew area.
Central Vancouver Island includes the Cowichan Valley, Duncan, Nanaimo, Parksville, Port Alberni and Tofino areas.
Northern Vancouver Island goes from the Comox Valley to Port Hardy but also includes surrounding areas like Alert Bay and Sointula.
With Halloween coming up this weekend, Health officials also issued a reminder to British Columbians to stay safe and keep gatherings small.
“As we all enjoy Halloween tomorrow, make it about the treats and not the tricks. Respect homes that are choosing not to participate this year and give everyone the space to stay safe, both indoors and outdoors,” reads a joint statement from Dix and Dr. Henry.
“There are many ways to make fun memories this fall. This weekend is a great opportunity to be outside, enjoying the fall foliage and Halloween decorations.”
According to Dr. Henry and Minister Dix, surveillance will be increased this weekend as authorities monitor for large gatherings.
“Now is not the time for parties or large gatherings in our homes. Instead, let’s spend time with others in a safe way, outside or in venues that have COVID-19 safety plans in place,” reads the joint statement.
Earlier this week, Dr. Henry announced new limitations for the number of people that could visit our homes, restricting gatherings to immediate household members and a “safe six.”
The BC Centre for Disease Control has also released a set of guidelines aimed at helping British Columbians stay safe this year on Halloween.
The BC CDC is advising British Columbians to try to incorporate a non-medical mask or face covering into costumes. With this in mind, officials are suggesting that costume masks should not be worn over non-medical masks or face coverings as that may make it difficult to breathe.
Health officials are asking for anyone trick-or-treating to stay in their own neighbourhoods this year and avoid busy areas or indoors (in places like malls).
It is also being recommended that homeowners find creative ways to hand out treats while keeping physical distance and limiting contact. For any homeowner feeling ill, the BC CDC asks them to turn off their porch lights and stay home.
“Let’s make this weekend a safe and fun experience by keeping our groups small and by practising our COVID-19 sense,” concludes the written statement.
More COVID-19 information
If there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in a school, public health contacts affected school community members directly. Regional health authorities also post school notifications on their websites, providing the date and type of notification (outbreak, cluster or exposure) for impacted schools.
The Island Health school site can be found here.
Island Health’s COVID-19 data breaks down North, Central and South Island case counts and lists the number of days since any new lab-diagnosed cases. You can find the data here along with any public exposures.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is more than 45.4 million. More than 1.18 million deaths have been recorded.
Fraser Health outbreaks push active COVID-19 infections in B.C. to all-time high of 2390 – Alaska Highway News
B.C. has never had more people actively battling COVID-19 infections, as new government data showed a total of 2,390 people suffering with the virus that has spurred a global pandemic.
That’s 46 more people suffering with the illness than was the case yesterday and it comes as 272 people were newly identified as infected in the past 24 hours. With 10,420 tests conducted, the day’s positive-test rate was 2.6%.
The hotspot for new infections remains the 1.8-million-resident Fraser Health region, which includes much of the eastern and southern Lower Mainland, including 20 communities, such as Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Delta, Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack, but not Richmond or Vancouver.
Only about two-thirds of the new cases are from Fraser Health today, however. That’s down from the average in the past week, which had seen about three-quarters of all new cases located in the Fraser Health region.
Here is the breakdown of all 14,381 detected COVID-19 cases in B.C., by health region, with new cases identified overnight in brackets:
• 4,664 in Vancouver Coastal Health (76);
• 8,219 in Fraser Health (183);
• 256 in Island Health (no change);
• 741 in Interior Health (seven);
• 412 in Northern Health (six); and
• 89 people who reside outside Canada (no change).
The number of COVID-19 patients in hospital fell by six to 78, with 25 of those people having infections serious enough to be in intensive care units.
The vast majority of those infected are self-isolating at home. Health officials are keeping tabs on a record 6,003 people because those individuals have come into contact with others who are known to be carrying the virus.
The vast majority of COVID-19 patients recover: 11,670, or more than 81%.
One new death was recorded overnight, pushing the provincial death toll from the disease to 263. That leaves 58 patients unaccounted for, and health officials have told BIV that it is likely that they left the province without alerting authorities.
“There has been one new community outbreak, at Suncor Firebag Oil Sands,” provincial health officer Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a joint statement. “There continue to be exposure events around the province.”
One hospital in Fraser Health, Surrey Memorial Hospital, has had an outbreak for weeks. That health authority earlier this week declared that the outbreak at Delta Hospital is over.
There are three new outbreaks at seniors’ homes and healthcare facilities:
• Hawthorne Seniors Care Community in Port Coquitlam;
• CareLife Fleetwood in Surrey; and
• Queen’s Park Hospital: Unit 3C NMSK 2.
Three such outbreaks have been declared over:
• Fort Langley Seniors Community in Fort Langley;
• Sunset Manor in Chilliwack;
• The Village in Langley.
Fraser Health yesterday declared that the outbreak at Good Samaritan Victoria Heights, in New Westminster, is over, and the province confirmed that news today.
Other seniors’ long-term care and assisted living facilities in B.C. that have active outbreaks, include:
• Gateway Assisted Living for Seniors in Surrey;
• Mayfair Terrace Retirement Residence in Port Coquitlam;
• Louis Breyer Home and Hospital in Vancouver;
• Revera Lakeview long-term care home in Vancouver;
• Evergreen Baptist Care Society in White Rock;
• Queens Park Care Centre in New Westminster;
• Three Links Care Centre in Vancouver;
• Royal Arch Masonic Home in Vancouver;
• Haro Park Centre long-term care facility in Vancouver;
• Banfield Pavilion 4 West in Vancouver;
• Peace Portal Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Rosemary Heights Seniors Village in Surrey;
• Zion Park Manor in Surrey;
• Laurel Place in Surrey;
• Amenida Seniors Community in Surrey;
• Baillie House in Maple Ridge;
• Fellburn Care Centre long-term care facility in Burnaby;
• St. Michael’s Centre long-term care facilityin Burnaby;
• Fair Haven Homes Burnaby Lodge in Burnaby; and
• Agassiz Seniors Community in Agassiz.
“As we all enjoy Halloween tomorrow, make it about the treats and not the tricks,” Henry and Dix said.
“Respect homes that are choosing not to participate this year and give everyone the space to stay safe, both indoors and outdoors.”
British Columbia reports 272 new cases of COVID-19 – Vancouver Is Awesome
VICTORIA — The B.C. government says it will increase surveillance this weekend as an order limiting the number of people who can visit a home is in effect because of COVID-19.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced this week that gatherings are now limited to people in an immediate household, plus their so-called “safe six”‘ guests.
In a joint statement, Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix are reminding people to make the Halloween weekend safe for everyone by maintaining safe physical distances from one another.
They say this is also not the time for large gatherings in homes as the number of cases of COVID-19 spikes.
The province reported another 272 cases of COVID-19 on Friday and one additional death, bringing the total number of people who have died to 263.
There are 2,390 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 6,003 people are under public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.
The Canadian Press
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