Canada

COVID-19: Ontario records 3,295 new cases on first day of stay-at-home order

It is the seventh time in eight days the province has topped 3,000 cases a day

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  • Province vaccinates more than 100,000 for second straight day
  • Ottawa Public Health reports 156 new cases and no new deaths on Thursday.

Ontario reported 3,295 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday as a provincewide stay-at-home came into effect.

It is the seventh time in eight days the province has topped 3,000 cases a day, with the highest number of new cases coming in Toronto with 933, Peel with 649 and York with 386 and Durham with 165.

Ottawa added 160 new cases, according to figures tweeted Thursday morning by Health Minister Christine Elliott. The province’s data often differs from the number reported later in the day by Ottawa Public Health, which pulls its data at a different time of day.

All Ontario came under Premier Doug Ford’s emergency order — the third since the pandemic began — at 12:01 a.m. The order shuttered non-essential stores, and urges people to stay home except to hop at grocery stores, pharmacies or to attend medical appointments. On Thursday, the province issued a stay-at-home warning on the province’s mobile networks.

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“This third wave is different that anything we’ve faced so far,” Ford said as he announced the emergency order Wednesday.

Ontario has now recorded 374,112 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, of which 35,553 are active. Another 338,559 cases have been resolved.

There were 19 deaths reported Thursday, raising the province’s COVID-19 death toll to 7,494.

There are 1,417 people in hospital with the disease and 525 patients in intensive care, a jump of 21 from the day before, with 331 of them on ventilators.

In health units in the Ottawa area: Eastern Ontario health, which includes Hawkesbury and Cornwall, reported 38 new cases for a total of 3,496; Kingston area reported 17 new cases for a total of 987; Leeds, Grenville and Lanark reported 16 more for a total of 1,337 and Renfrew County added seven cases for a total of 462.

For the second straight day, Ontario administered more than 100,000 vaccine doses.

In Kingston, a team of 25 health care workers set up a drive-thru clinic at Queen’s University’s football stadium on Wednesday night, ready to administer up to 300 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine beginning today. If there was enough supply, the site could deliver 10,000 shots a day, said Dr. Elaine Ma, a Kingston primary care physician who helped to organize the clinic.

“We don’t want vaccine in fridges or freezers. We want it in arms. That is the step that we will take to get our lives back to pre-pandemic ways,” Ma said.

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Among variants of concern, the province reported 1,317 new confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, for a total of 9,632 cases, three new cases of the B.1.351 (South African) variant, for 75 cases, and 11 new cases of the P.1 (Brazil) variant for a total of 131 confirmed cases.

In announcing the emergency order, the premier said ICU admissions in Ontario are climbing faster than even the worst-case scenarios predicted by epidemiological models.

Elliott said the province has not yet finalized the protocols to deal with who gets life-saving treatment should intensive care units get overrun with COVID-19 patients.

She said the province has not made any changes to indemnify doctors who may soon be put in the position of deciding who to give critical care to.

In January, hospitals received a document laying out guidelines on how to deal with critical care triage, if there aren’t enough ICU beds.

Under those guidelines, patients are ranked on their likelihood to survive a year after the onset of critical illness.

Human rights advocates have criticized the process, saying it is inherently discriminatory, especially toward people with disabilities and seniors.

“There are some emergency protocols out there, however, we have not finalized any of that yet,” Elliott said.

At the moment, patients are being transferred from ICUs that are over capacity to far-flung destinations across the province.

Ontario’s vaccination program has ramped up this week with the arrival of more than 2.2 million doses from the federal government. Ontario has now administered more than 2.8 million doses as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, Elliott tweeted. The province completed 63,800 COVID-19 tests on Wednesday.

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The province plans to start vaccinating people aged 18 and older living in areas with high COVID-19 case numbers, including teachers and essential workers.

Mobile teams will deliver vaccines in congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based centres and spaces occupied by large employers in areas hit hard by the virus, Ford said.

Regions will be selected based on patterns of transmission, severe illness and mortality from COVID-19.

Ontario has now recorded 374,112 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Latest COVID-19 news in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health reported 156 new cases and no new deaths on Thursday.

There have been 18,788 confirmed cases in the city, with 1,948 active cases.

The death toll remains 470.

There are 69 patients in hospital, with 20 of them in ICU.

Among key indicators: The seven-day COVID rate, per 100,000 population is 138; Per cent testing positivity rate is 8.8, and the seven-day reproductivity number is 1.05. The R(t) number measures the rate by which an infected person can infect others. Above one indicates the virus is spreading, below one indicates the virus is retreating.

There were two new outbreaks reported in healthcare and congregate living facilities, for a total of 30 outbreaks. Three new outbreaks were reported in schools and childcare, for a total of 10, while there were also three new community outbreaks, for a total of 10.

OPH reports that people under the age of 30 now account for 46 per cent of the active cases in the city.

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Latest COVID-19 new in Quebec

Quebecers age 55 and up are now able to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at more than two dozen walk-in clinics, including on in Gatineau’s Palais des Congres, that opened Thursday morning.

Currently, the AstraZeneca vaccine is only available to those between the ages of 55 and 79, after the government suspended its use in younger people over concerns about rare but serious blood clots.

People over 55 line up for their COVID-19 vaccine outside the Palais Des Congres Thursday morning. In addition to taking thousands of appointments, there was also a lineup for walk-in vaccinations.
People over 55 line up for their COVID-19 vaccine outside the Palais Des Congres Thursday morning. In addition to taking thousands of appointments, there was also a lineup for walk-in vaccinations. Photo by Julie Oliver /Postmedia

Quebec reported 1,609 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day number of cases since Jan. 23.

There are 566 people in hospital, an increase of 23, and nine more people in ICU, for a total of 132.

In addition, nine new deaths were reported, including one over the previous 24 hours.

Among the other deaths, seven occurred between April 1 and 6, and one occurred before April 1.

The Outaouais saw 165 new cases, for a total of 8,593 since the pandemic began. The death toll remained unchanged at 175.

There were 47,769 additional vaccine doses administered, bringing the total to 1,685,046.

Meanwhile, a Quebec City gym has now been linked to 419 cases of COVID-19 after staff and clients got infected and unknowingly carried the virus to grocery stores, homes, and workplaces, the regional health authority said Wednesday.

A spokesman said that as of Wednesday afternoon, 195 clients and staff of the Mega Fitness Gym, which authorities shut down last week, have tested positive for the virus.

Those primary cases are believed to have spread the virus to some 36 workplaces, including restaurants, grocery stores, offices, retail stores and construction sites, ultimately infecting another 224 people.

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Latest COVID-19 news in Canada

The Canadian Medical Association says constantly changing rules to help curb the spread of COVID-19 are confusing and detrimental to their purpose.

The national advocacy group for Canada’s doctors, says new lockdowns can’t be lifted until there are clear signs the variants are under control.

The pace of vaccinations must also increase, particularly in communities where COVID-19 is spreading the most, the CMA said.

Canada has reported 1,028,041 confirmed cases, with 62,136 active across the country. There have been 23,173 deaths.

There were 7,148 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 163.49 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 45,931 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,562.

There have been 28,455,431 tests completed.

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres

Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre at 300 Coventry Rd., Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointment only: 613-737-8193.

The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Howard Darwin Centennial Arena on Merivale Road: The site will remain open for at least two weeks, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for anyone older than four. Those wanting to be tested must make an appointment by calling 1-877-232-8828, a line scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Ottawa COVID-19 testing data:ottawatestingupdate.ca

Ontario vaccination portal: covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine

Call centre: 1-888-999-6488. The Vaccine Information Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is capable of providing assistance in 300 languages.

Vaccine eligibility in Ottawa: secureforms.ottawapublichealth.ca/vaccines/COVID-19-Vaccine-Screening-Tool

To book a pharmacy vaccine: Eligible adults aged 55 and over (if 60 or older as of the day of vaccination or, if will be 60 or older in 2021) who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy

-With files from The Canadian Press and Postmedia

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