Dr Tam Weighs In On Vaccine Development And Halloween – Full COVID19 Update

Canada’s chief public health officer says health and safety should never be compromised in the race for a COVID19 vaccine. Johnson & Johnson has paused a clinical trial of its COVID19 vaccine after finding an unexplained illness — a normal occurrence in large-scale studies. Dr. Theresa Tam acknowledged yesterday that the delay could mean a longer wait before a vaccine is available to the general public. Tam also has tips for people to get creative this Halloween to maintain physical distancing and other public health measures, while making the most of trick-or-treating. They include avoiding communal candy bowls, and handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick instead.

Mayors and Chairs Request Clarity on Halloween:

With Thanksgiving over, officials in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are now seeking guidance from the province on how to handle the next celebration: Halloween. The mayors and chairs of the 11 largest municipal governments in the region say there needs to be a clear public health message on Halloween by the end of the week. Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said yesterday that specific guidelines would be issued soon for the hardest-hit regions.

Ontario Numbers:

We were warned in advance that yesterday’s COVID19 numbers would seem high and they were. Ontario reported two days worth of data at once, because numbers were not announced on Thanksgiving. In total, there were 1553 new infections. 13 more people are in hospital. 9 more are in the ICU. 2 more are on ventilators. 12 more deaths were reported. Yesterday’s number of new infections far outpaced the number of recovered patients so the number of active cases in the province rose by 261.

Charges Laid in Toronto:

Officials in Toronto say they laid a handful of charges and issued more than two dozen warning letters over the Thanksgiving weekend related to COVID19 restrictions. The province tightened health measures for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa last Friday, including shutting down indoor service in restaurants and indoor fitness activities. The City of Toronto says it issued two charges and 11 warnings for large gatherings, which are capped at 10 indoors and 25 outdoors. Toronto Public Health says it laid two charges and issued 16 warnings to local establishments. Police and bylaw officers issued four charges to a restaurant and bar for not adhering to rules on physical distancing, venue capacity and other issues.

More Charges for an Anti-masker:

An anti-mask activist from Ontario will return to New Brunswick for a court appearance in January. A video posted to Christopher Saccoccia’s Facebook page shows him arguing on a plane with a WestJet flight attendant over what he claims to be a medical note exempting him from wearing a mask. The RCMP have confirmed they arrested a 37-year-old man from Ontario on Friday after they received a call about a disturbance at the Moncton airport. Police in Toronto announced last week that Saccoccia and his wife Jennifer had been charged for failing to comply with federal quarantine rules after they attended a rally shortly after returning to Canada.

Porter Delays it’s Restart:

The airline that flies out of Toronto’s Island airport is keeping its planes grounded until at least mid-December due to COVID19 travel restrictions. Porter Airlines has pushed back its relaunch date several times since it first cancelled all its flights on March 21st. CEO Michael Deluce says flare-ups of the pandemic in certain markets have dampened any expectation that travel restrictions might be lightened. Deluce says he hopes that will change once rapid testing becomes more widespread, including at airports.

Red Cross Involvement in Long Term Care Homes:

NDP leader Andrea Horwath is blasting the lack of details about the deployment of the Canadian Red Cross to select Ontario long-term care homes. The federal government announced on Sunday that it had approved a request from Ontario to send the Red Cross to seven long-term care facilities in Ottawa. No further details were provided and the provincial government says it’s still working to decide which homes will receive the assistance. Horwath says Premier Doug Ford is once again scrambling to contain outbreaks after saying for weeks that long-term care facilities are ready for a second wave of COVID19.

Ford Wants Delivery Companies to Give Restaurants a Break:

Premier Doug Ford says it is time for big food delivery companies like Uber to do their part to help restaurants in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa. Ford says those companies should slash their commission rates to help restaurants in the COVID19 hot spots that have been ordered to end indoor dining for 28 days. He says restaurants in some cases are paying a 30 per cent commission for food deliveries. The head of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association says they just can’t afford that kind of commission right now.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference:

Theatre Owners in Parts of Ontario Are Not Happy:

The head of Canada’s largest movie chain says he’s disappointed by the province’s decision to shutter theatres in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa for 28 days. CEO Ellis Jacob told investors today that Cineplex has had zero cases of COVID19 traced back to its operations since reopening in the summer. Jacob says the company considers the forced closures of 22 of its 68 Ontario theatres to be excessive given its track record. The decision was announced last Friday amid an increase in COVID19 cases in the three regions.

Canadian Numbers:

The second wave of COVID19 has extended its reach across Canada. Cases are surging not only in Quebec and Ontario but in Alberta, BC, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There are now 186,882 cases of the virus in this country. COVID19 has killed 9,654 people in Canada.

Three More Quebec Regions Move to a Red Alert:

Three more Quebec regions are moving into the highest pandemic alert level. Premier Francois Legault says the regions south and northeast of Montreal and the capital region, including Charlevoix, are moving to red alert level. However, COVID19 infection rates in the province appear to stabilizing again. Quebec reported 815 new COVID19 infections yesterday — the smallest daily number of new cases since the end of September.

New Brunswick Outbreak:

Six new cases of COVID19 have popped up in New Brunswick, including one at a special-care home in the hard-hit community of Campbellton. The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, says because the one case involves a vulnerable population, they’re declaring it an outbreak based on the public health risk assessment. She notes that a number of residents there are in shared rooms. The latest outbreak declaration comes as public health officials scramble to contain another outbreak in a special-care home in Moncton.

Here is yesterday’s New Brunswick Update:

Alberta Testing:

Alberta is changing its COVID19 testing procedures to increase efficiency and reduce crowding. The province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, says starting tomorrow, testing at Alberta Health Services assessment centres will be done by appointment only. Alberta detected with 961 cases and four deaths from the COVID19 over the Thanksgiving weekend.

US Getting a New COVID Surge:

Just as predicted, the US is now grappling with a new Covid-19 surge — one that could overwhelm hospitals, kill thousands of Americans a day by January and leave even young survivors with long-term complications.  “We went down to the lowest point lately in early September, around 30,000-35,000 new cases a day. Now we’re back up to (about) 50,000 new cases a day. And it’s going to continue to rise,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

European Restrictions:

European governments are increasing public health restrictions to slow the spread of COVID19. The continent recorded its highest weekly number of new confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic. The World Health Organization says there were more than 700,000 new COVID19 cases reported in Europe last week, a 34 per cent jump compared to last week. Britain, France, Russia and Spain accounted for more than half of new infections seen in the region.

Canadian Survey on Mandatory Vaccines:

A new poll suggests Canadians are turning against the idea of a mandatory COVID19 vaccine — when it becomes available. Only 39 per cent of respondents said such a vaccine should be mandatory, while 54 per cent said it should be voluntary. That’s a marked shift from July when 57 per cent supported mandatory inoculations, and 43 per cent believed they should be voluntary. The survey was conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies.

Debating a Basic Minimum Income in Canada:

A leading Canadian expert on government-funded basic incomes says much of the financial fallout from COVID19 could have been averted by a basic income program. Instead of governments frantically setting up emergency aid, Evelyn Forget says a basic income program would have automatically provided help to hard-hit Canadians. Basic income is essentially a no-strings attached benefit governments provide to citizens that sets a financial floor for individuals and families.

Dustin Johnson Tests Positive:

The top-ranked golfer in the world has tested positive for COVID19.  Dustin Johnson, who currently holds the number one position in the World Golf Rankings, has withdrawn from this week’s PGA Tour event, the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, citing the diagnosis.  “Obviously, I am very disappointed,” said Johnson, who holds 23 PGA Tour wins for his career.  “I was really looking forward to competing this week but will do everything I can to return as quickly as possible.”  According to the PGA Tour, Johnson was experiencing symptoms late Sunday evening, and failed to improve by yesterday.  He subsequently took a coronavirus test which came back positive.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

19 new COVID19 infections were announced yesterday by Region of Waterloo Public Health, bringing the Regional total over 1,900. There are 127 active cases at the moment with three people being treated in area hospitals. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported 28 new cases yesterday from the Thanksgiving long weekend. The number of active cases has shot up to 50 but there are still zero people being treated in hospital for COVID19.

Waterloo Region Infections:

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board is reporting two more COVID19 cases in one of its schools. The latest are elementary students who attend St. Margaret of Scotland in Cambridge.  The school says everyone in the affected students’ classroom have been told to stay home, and self-isolate. A new COVID19 case has been confirmed at Waterloo Collegiate Institute. The latest is a student who was last in the building on Thursday, October 8. Contact tracing has already taken place. Meanwhile, The health department has declared a COVID19 outbreak in two floors of the Clara Conrad Hall residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. Some students live in Clara Conrad Hall, another lives at Waterloo College Hall residence. Another three live off-campus in their own housing. All are now self-isolating, and Public Health said all the cases are linked to off-campus study groups.

Guelph Schools:

Families with children in Guelph schools can request a switch between remote and in-person classes starting today. The form is available through the Upper Grand District School Board’s website until October 21st. Elementary school students have the options of synchronous and asynchronous remote learning, as well as in-person school, while high school students can choose between in-person and remote. The switch will take place on November 30th for elementary students and November 16th for high school students.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot



Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan