Lockdown Announcements Are Coming Down Today – Full COVID19 Update

Today Premier Ford is expected to make an announcement related to stricter COVID19 control measures. The Premier has been hinting for several days that the provincial hotspots like Toronto, Peel Region and York Region could move to the Grey portion of Ontario’s colour-coded system of public health restrictions. Grey is the most severe stage and it includes full lockdown measures, such as the closure of many non-essential businesses. Several other Regions could see their situation change as well. Waterloo Region, Niagara and London-Middlesex are currently very close to the threshold for Red Level restrictions which severely limit the number of people allowed inside at restaurants and fitness facilities.

Here is yesterday’s news conference:

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday Ontario announced 1,210 new cases of COVID19 along with 28 new deaths. 9 less people were in hospital over the period. Despite less people in hospital, there were 19 more people in the ICU and 10 more on a ventilator. 361 of the new cases were in Peel, 346 in Toronto and 143 in York Region. There were 1,376 more resolved cases after over 41,800 tests were completed.

New Federal Modeling Data Will be Released Today:

Prime Minister Trudeau will amplify his plea for Canadians to stay home as much as possible after alarming new projections for the spread of COVID19 in Canada are released today. The updated projections are expected to forecast a dramatic rise in cases over the next few weeks to as much as 60,000 new cases a day by the end of the year if Canadians don’t strictly limit their contact with people outside their households. Trudeau is to hold a news conference after the latest modelling is unveiled by chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam this morning. To underscore the importance of minimizing contacts, Trudeau will conduct the news conference outside his home, Rideau Cottage _ the site of his daily briefings during the first wave of the deadly pandemic last spring. He ended that practice over the summer when the pandemic went into a bit of a lull and, throughout the fall until now, he has joined Tam and select ministers at news conferences on Parliament Hill once or twice a week. Tam has already warned that Canada is on track to hit more than 10,000 cases per day by early December if Canadians maintain their current rate of contacts outside their household.

ICU Capacity is now in Question:

The Ontario Hospital Association says the province has hit a critical point in the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic. There are 150 people in intensive care due to the virus, a figure medical experts have warned would force hospitals to cancel surgeries. The news came as the province reported a daily increase of 1,210 new cases of COVID19 yesterday. 28 additional deaths from the illness were also reported. Premier Ford is promising action to protect hospital capacity.

Thousands of Surgeries were Cancelled Earlier this Year:

Nearly half of all surgeries were cancelled across the country during the first four months of COVID19 compared with the same period last year. Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information suggests hospitals braced for a flood of patients based on the experience of China and Italy. About 20 per cent fewer life-saving and urgent cancer and cardiac surgeries were done as jurisdictions scrambled to meet the needs of the most high-priority patients. The agency says the data is aimed at helping provinces and territories model surgical needs during the second wave of the pandemic.

Northern Ontario Infections Growing:

A medical officer in northwestern Ontario says a recent surge in COVID19 cases is a wake-up call for the region. Dr. Kit Young Hoon is urging residents in the Kenora area to take precautions by avoiding unnecessary travel or not socializing with other households indoors. The Northwestern Health Unit says the Kenora region’s positivity rate for COVID19 is now six times higher than it was in the summer. In the past 17 days, the health unit says 10 positive cases have been reported and three people are currently hospitalized.

Quebec Has Solved the Potential Holiday Gathering Problem:

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he is proposing a “moral contract” with Quebecers for the holiday season. He’s asking Quebecers to isolate for one week before Christmas and one week after. He says if they can do that, gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted between December 24th and 27th. Legault also says partial lockdown measures covering most of the province will be extended for the second time, until at least January 11th. Quebec reported 1,207 new cases of COVID19 and 34 more deaths yesterday.

BC Imposing Tough New Restrictions:

British Columbia is bringing in stricter restrictions because of a surge of COVID19 cases. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says social gatherings need to be curtailed and the new limits will be in place across the province until Dec. 7. Masks are also being made mandatory in public spaces and at retail businesses. Restrictions on social gatherings were put in place for those living in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver areas on Nov. 7, but Henry says the measures didn’t decrease the number of cases and the health-care system is under pressure. She says all worship services and community and social events will be suspended, along with high-intensity group fitness, such as interval training, hot yoga and spin classes. Baptisms, weddings and funerals are exempt but are limited to 10 people.

Alberta Numbers:

Alberta is reporting 1,105 new cases of COVID19. It’s the highest daily case count in the province yet. Officials say eight more people have also died from the illness. There are 284 people in hospital, and of those, 61 are in intensive care.

Manitoba Imposing More Restrictions:

The Manitoba government says it is further tightening its COVID19 restrictions on social gatherings and shopping. Starting today, people will no longer be allowed to have visitors in their home unless they are providing supports such as child care, tutoring and health services. Another exemption will allow anyone who lives alone to have one person over for social purposes. The government is also forcing stores to only sell essential items inside and close off sections that offer non-essential goods such as consumer electronics. Non-essential goods will still be able to be sold online or made available for curbside pickup. Manitoba reported 475 new COVID19 cases yesterday and eight deaths. The province continues to see the highest per capita infection rate in Canada. The average test-positivity rate over the last five days is 14 per cent.

Here is yesterday’s Manitoba update:

Pfizer Will Apply for Emergency Approval of their Vaccine Today:

The first application for emergency Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a coronavirus vaccine in the US will be filed today by Pfizer’s partner BioNTech, announced Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar during a rare White House coronavirus task force briefing yesterday.  Final data, released Wednesday, showed the vaccine was 95 percent effective in trials – even better than the 90 percent prevention rate from earlier data.   Dr. Anthony Fauci, returning to the White House for the first time in months, hailed both Pfizer’s and Modern’s shots “extraordinarily impressive” ahead of the announcement that Pfizer would seek FDA authorization.

Joe Biden Rules Out Nationwide Lockdown Over COVID:

President-elect Joe Biden said he would not seek to order a nation-wide shutdown even as coronavirus infections spread nationwide and deaths hit 250,000.   “Everybody asks that question every single time,” Biden said, flashing some annoyance when asked if he would order businesses around the country to close as the pandemic raged.  He referenced his own earlier comments on the subject, and said: “The answer was I would follow the science. I am not going to shut down the economy, period.”  To underline the point, he said: “I say it again. No national shutdown. No national shutdown.”  “There’s no circumstance which I can see that would require total national shutdown. I think that would be counterproductive,” he said.

California Issues a Curfew:

California is imposing a nighttime curfew as its COVID19 cases soar but it will lean heavily on voluntary compliance. Starting tomorrow, the stay-at-home order for 41 counties bars nonessential travel and closes nonessential businesses from 10pm to 5am. The curfew covers 94 per cent of the state’s nearly 40 million residents. But sheriffs and some lawmakers in at least four counties say they won’t enforce the curfew.

Mexico Reaches 100,000 Deaths:

Mexico has passed the 100,000 mark in COVID19 deaths. It’s only the fourth country behind the United States, Brazil and India to do so. The grim milestone comes less than a week after the country said it had topped one million registered coronavirus cases, though officials agree the number is probably much higher.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

The curve seems to be flattening a bit in Waterloo Region. Yesterday Public Health announced just 26 new cases. That’s the second consecutive day with a drop in case numbers. Unfortunately, the hospitalization numbers went up by 3. There are now 21 people being treated in the area’s hospitals with 349 active cases on the go. Yesterday Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported 22 new cases, bringing their total active cases to 126 with 3 people hospitalized. Broken down, there were 9 cases in Guelph and Wellington along with just 2 in Dufferin County.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • Two students at Stewart Avenue Public School have tested positive for COVID19.They were last in the classroom on November 9. These are the first cases at that school.
  • A staff member at John Sweeney Catholic Elementary School in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • A student at the University of Waterloo has tested positive. It is the school’s ninth case. All high risk contacts have been notified.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan