Health Canada Should Receive The Pfizer Vaccine Documents Today – Full COVID19 Update

Canada is inching closer to have its first “approved vaccine” against COVID19. Senior officials with Health Canada say final documents from the American drugmaker Pfizer are expected sometime today. The paperwork would spell out just which production lots of the vaccine will be shipped, and when they can be expected to arrive. Health Canada’s chief medical adviser says once she has the information, she will be able to tell Canadians the news they have been longing to hear. Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo says while initial supplies of vaccines will limit vaccinations to three million people, there will eventually be a COVID19 vaccine for every Canadian.

Here is yesterday’s federal update:

Today We Meet the Ontario COVID19 Vaccine Task Force:

Today Ontario will unveil the other members of the COVID19 vaccine task force being headed by retired General Rick Hillier. Health Minister Christine Elliott says it will include a bioethicist who will help decide who should receive first access to the vaccine. Other members will include medical, information technology and logistics experts. Premier Ford says the team will be ready to distribute the vaccine when it arrives.

Here is yesterday’s news conference from Premier Ford:

O’Toole Calls on the Liberals to Give Canadians True Facts About the Vaccine:

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says a petition before the House of Commons raising doubts about the safety of vaccines speaks to the need for more information about the government’s COVID19 vaccine distribution plan. The petition — backed by thousands — suggests the experimental drugs are being rushed to market without appropriate safeguards. It also says the program amounts to “human experimentation.” O’Toole says information is just as important a tool during the pandemic as rapid tests and vaccines, and releasing details on the rollout will help educate Canadians on the research and approvals of vaccines.

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario announced 1,824 new COVID19 cases yesterday, along with 1,541 resolved cases. There were also 14 more deaths, 10 more people hospitalized, 12 more admitted to the ICU and 1 more person put on a ventilator.  Locally, 592 of the new cases were in Peel, 396 were in Toronto and 187 were in York Region. 52,900 tests were completed.

Canadian Banks Continue to Bring in the Money:

Is anyone profiting during the pandemic? The big Canadian banks seem to be. The banks reported their fourth-quarter results over the past week, with all beating analyst expectations. However, only the Royal Bank, TD Bank Group and BMO posted higher profits than a year ago. The heads of the Big Six banks are predicting the unemployment rate will remain higher than it was before the pandemic, and economic growth will be hard-earned in 2021. But they also say they are seeing consumer spending return to pre-pandemic levels, resilience in some housing markets and improved auto sales.

Ontario Courts May Keep Operating in a Virtual Environment Even After COVID:

Attorney General Doug Downey says the COVID19 pandemic has forced the evolution of Ontario’s courts. Downey told a Toronto business audience that court proceedings have shifted online due to pandemic restrictions. He says that allowed about 20,000 people to watch the judge hand down the sentence in a high-profile criminal case live on streaming platforms. Downey says his ministry plans to lean into that modernization of the justice system after the pandemic comes to an end. Remote attendance at court, digital signatures and sharing and issuing court documents electronically are all things that were not allowed previously.

AirBNB Making a Rule Change for New Years Eve:

Airbnb has announced a new restriction on renters to curb New Year’s Eve parties in Canada this year that would violate COVID19 restrictions. It says that in addition to its ongoing ban on parties, guests will now need a history of positive reviews on its app to reserve an entire home for New Year’s Eve. The policy also extends to the US, Mexico, Australia, the UK, France and Spain. The announcement comes after police in Mississauga issued thousands of dollars in fines to 60 people at a party at a short-term rental unit last weekend.

MLSE Opens Up the Kitchen Again:

Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s giant kitchen in Toronto is open again. They are reintroducing the “Bringing Toronto Back to its Feet” initiative this week. The goal is to distribute more than 130,000 meals in early December to front-line workers. Scotiabank Arena will again be used to assemble the meals, which can be stored and frozen.

Manitoba Premier Calls Out the COVID Anti-COVID Crowd:

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says people who don’t think COVID19 is real are idiots. Pallister says he knows he is unpopular in some quarters because of the restrictions his government has imposed on public gatherings and businesses. But he says the rules are needed to save lives, and everyone needs to work together to reduce the spread of the virus. Manitoba reported 367 new COVID19 cases and 12 additional deaths yesterday. The province continues to have a high rate of people testing positive 13 per cent, on average, over the last five days.

Here are yesterday’s passionate remarks from Manitoba’s Premier:

Quebec Reverses Course and Says No Gatherings at Christmas:

The Quebec government is cancelling its plan to allow gatherings over four days at Christmas. Premier Francois Legault announced yesterday that the province will no longer permit multi-household gatherings of up to 10 people between Dec. 24 and 27, as had been planned. Legault first announced the Christmas plan on Nov. 19, saying people could get together as long as they quarantined for a week before and a week after the holiday period. But with COVID19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths on the rise and a health system deemed fragile due to a lack of staffing, Legault says it’s not realistic to think the numbers will go down sufficiently by Christmas.

Quebec Numbers:

Yesterday the Quebec government reported 1,470 new cases of COVID19 and 30 additional deaths linked to the pandemic.  Hospitalizations declined by three to 737, while the number of people in intensive care remained unchanged at 99. There have been a total of 146,532 cases and 7,155 deaths in the province since the pandemic began.

Alberta Produces a Record Number of Infections:

Alberta’s leading physician says the province has broken its record high of new daily COVID19 cases. Doctor Deena Hinshaw is reporting 1,854 new infections. She says the cases are occurring in rural areas that didn’t see widespread transmission in the spring and summer. Alberta currently has the highest per capita rate of cases in the country.

Here is yesterday’s Alberta update:

PEI Numbers:

Public health officials in Prince Edward Island announced one additional positive case of COVID19 in the province Thursday. The individual is a man in his 20s, a rotational worker who recently travelled to P.E.I. from outside of the Atlantic region and has been in self-isolation since arriving. P.E.I. currently has five active cases of COVID19, and there have been 73 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic.

Saskatchewan Diverting Staff to Help Out:

Saskatchewan is announcing 259 new cases of COVID19 and one additional death. Health officials say the person who died was in their 80s. Most of the new infections are located in and around Regina and Saskatoon. There are 104 people in hospital, with 24 people receiving intensive care. The seven-day average of new daily cases sits at 269.

Health officials in Saskatchewan are diverting hundreds more staff to fight COVID19 as daily cases are forecast to exceed 500 in two weeks. The Saskatchewan Health Authority expects the number of people in hospital and receiving intensive care could soon double. Officials are planning for the surge by redeploying 600 health-care staff, which means other health services will be temporarily suspended.

Here is yesterday’s Saskatchewan news conference:

New Brunswick Numbers:

Public health officials in New Brunswick reported six new cases of COVID19 in the province Thursday. There is one new case in the Moncton region, three new cases in the Saint John region and two in the Fredericton area. There are now 111 active cases in the province. New Brunswick has had a total of 520 cases and seven deaths since the pandemic began.

Nova Scotia Numbers:

Nova Scotia is announced 11 new cases of COVID19 yesterday. The number of active cases in the province now stands at 119, that’s down from the 127 cases reported on Wednesday. Nine of the new cases are in the central health zone, which includes Halifax, while the other two cases are in the northern zone. The province has had a total of 1,342 cases, while 1,159 are resolved and there have been 65 deaths.

Office Holiday Parties:

Office holiday parties across Canada will look quite a bit different this year. Many companies in Ontario say they are resorting to virtual parties, gifts sent by mail and donations to charity to mark the holiday season and keep COVID19 cases down. But over at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Nova Scotia, Melissa Velden says some in-person parties will continue with new COVID19 policies. Velden says they have booked three corporate holiday parties, and the guests will have to wear masks when not eating and wash their hands when entering the building.

Biden Wants Americans to Wear a Mask for 100 Days:

Joe Biden said he will ask Americans to mask up for 100 days as soon as he takes the oath of office and said he asked Dr. Anthony Fauci to be his chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic.   “On the first day I’m inaugurated I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask – just 100 days to mask. Not forever,” Biden told CNN’s Jake Tapper.  “And I think we’ll see a significant reduction” in COVID cases when that happens, he said.

American Vaccines Will Rollout Quick:

The US hopes to be able to immunize 20 million people against COVID19 this month — and 100 million by the end of February, according to a leader of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.  If vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna soon get emergency approval — as expected — 20 million of the most vulnerable Americans could get shots by the end of the year, Moncef Slaoui, the operation’s scientific adviser, said Wednesday.  Another 30 million could get shots in January and then 50 million in February — possibly even more if other leading vaccine candidates get approved by then, too, said Slaoui.

California Restrictions:

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new stay-at-home order in parts of the state where hospitals below 15 percent available ICU capacity.    The new order divides the state into five regions – none of which currently meet the threshold for the new restrictions.   However Newsom said four out of five regions – Greater Sacramento, Northern California, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California – are on track to hit that threshold within a few days and the fifth – the Bay Area – is expected to meet it by the middle of the month.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Waterloo Region Public Health added 71 new COVID19 cases to the dashboard yesterday. The number of active cases sits at 566, which is an all-time high. There are 30 people hospitalized with COVID19. 9 are in intensive care.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 19 new cases yesterday. 11 were in Wellington, 1 was in Dufferin and the rest were in Guelph. There are 144 active cases with 7 people hospitalized.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • The Ministry of the Attorney General has confirmed two recent COVID19 cases at the Waterloo Region Courthouse. The two were last in the building on November 20th and 27th, respectively. Neither of them had symptoms while at the courthouse.
  • Another student has tested positive at Wellesley Public School. No exposures at the school were identified.
  • A staff member at St. Gregory Catholic Elementary School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • A staff member at Monsignor Doyle CSS in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • Three students at Chicopee Hills Public School in Kitchener have tested positive.
  • One student at Grand View Public School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • A student at Linwood Public School has tested positive.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan