New Travel Restrictions Introduced:
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is expanding the COVID-19 travel ban and ordering new border testing rules as Canada tries to keep the new Omicron variant from spreading. Duclos is adding Malawi, Egypt and Nigeria to the banned travellers country list, and stepping up testing for air travellers who fly into Canada from anywhere but the United States. Duclos says all air travellers entering Canada will now need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and isolate until they get their results, even if they are fully vaccinated against the virus. At least six cases of the new variant are now confirmed in Canada — so far all in people who had recently travelled from Nigeria. Duclos says we still don’t know very much about the threat this new variant poses.
Omicron Is Now in BC and Alberta:
British Columbia has identified its first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the affected person recently returned from Nigeria. Henry says 204 people who recently returned from parts of southern African with outbreaks of the variant are undergoing testing while in quarantine. The Omicron variant has also been found in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.
Ontario Has Hit 10,000 COVID-19 Deaths:
Ontario marked a grim milestone yesterday with three more deaths from COVID-19. That brings the total number of COVID deaths in the province to 10,000. The virus has claimed the lives of Ontarians from all age groups and walks of life, but has hit older residents the hardest, with about 5,900 people aged 80 and over dying due to the virus. The median age of death has dropped from 85 years old during the pandemic’s first wave to 74 years old in the fourth wave.
Today, we have reached a very sad milestone as our province marks the deaths of 10,000 Ontarians from COVID-19.
Our love and deepest sympathies are with all those grieving someone they lost, and with our health care heroes coping with these tragic, heart-breaking deaths. #onpoli
— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) November 30, 2021
The Ontario Health-Care System Could Struggle in a 5th Wave:
Ontario’s pandemic advisers say it will be difficult for the health-care system to respond to a surge in critically ill COVID-19 patients. The researchers conclude that staffing shortages, worker burnout and the resumption of treatment for other health conditions may strain the system in the event of a patient spike. Their report also raises the issue that the flu may play a bigger role in intensive care units this year compared to last when it was virtually non-existent due to lockdowns. There are currently 153 people with COVID-19 in ICU’s across the province.
More Than 100 Toronto Police Officers Suspend Over Vax Status:
Toronto Police say more than 100 police officers have been placed on unpaid leave for being unvaccinated against COVID-19 or for not disclosing their vaccination status. Yesterday was the deadline for uniformed and civilian members of the force to disclose their COVID-19 vaccination status. The force says those members will be allowed to return to work when they are fully vaccinated and have disclosed that fact. Toronto police say 117 uniformed members and 88 civilian members are being placed on unpaid leave.
Update: Toronto Police Service Mandatory Vaccination Requirement https://t.co/kchcldG10m
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) November 30, 2021
Assault at a Children’s Vax Clinic:
North Bay police say they are investigating reports of people being accosted at a children’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic by protesters. They say officers were at the clinic on Sunday and are reviewing the actions of individuals and interviewing victims. Police say they will increase their presence at vaccination clinics going forward. They say they respect individuals’ rights to protest peacefully, but will take action if people’s safety is at risk.
Toronto Already Achieving Big Vaccination Numbers:
Toronto officials say more than 10 per cent of kids five to 11 years old in the city have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That means more than 21,000 doses have been administered to children in Toronto in the first week vaccines were made available to that age group in Canada. The city says nearly 59,000 vaccine appointments have been made for kids between five and 11 at city-run clinics between November 25th and December 24th. Children must be turning five by the end of this year to get an appointment through the provincial hotline or booking system.
There are appointments available for #TorontoKidsVaccineDay!
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 30, 2021
Travel Advisory Issued In Parts of Ontario:
A public health unit in northwestern Ontario is recommending that area residents avoid travel to high-risk areas after seeing a spate of cases in people who had recently been to the US. The Northwestern Health Unit, which serves the Rainy River district and part of the Kenora district, says that since border restrictions eased, it has seen a number of cases in people who had travelled to Minnesota. It says that state currently has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in North America. The requirements for re-entry into Canada after short trips to the U-S are changing today, to allow fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents to return without providing a negative PCR test result.
Toronto City Hall Preparing to Reopen:
Toronto says its city hall will reopen to the public in January, along with civic centres and Metro Hall. The city says that starting January 4th, people will be able to access the lobby, washrooms, library and counter services on the first floor of city all and attend scheduled meetings with councillors. It says fully vaccinated staff who have been working remotely will also be returning to the office in person that day, for at least three days a week. The city says about 25 per cent of its office staff were working from home during the pandemic, and many started coming back to the office this fall.
Worker Burnout is Real:
A new report suggests most Canadian workers have experienced burnout during the pandemic. Human resources software company Ceridian says 84 per cent of respondents reported feeling burned out over the last two years, and at least 20 per cent sought new jobs as a result. About a third of more than 1,300 workers surveyed described their level of burnout as high or extreme due to increased workloads, insufficient compensation and mental health challenges. Thirty-nine per cent said they’d consider leaving their current employer if the right opportunity came along.
US Consumer Confidence Drops To a Nine-Month Low:
US consumer confidence fell to a nine-month low in November, held back by rising worries about inflation and lingering concerns about the coronavirus. The Conference Board reports that its consumer confidence index dropped to a reading of 109.5, down from 111.6 in October. It was the lowest reading since the index stood at 95.2 in February.
Jail Time For A COVID Fraudster:
A Houston man has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison after he was accused of using federal COVID-19 relief funding on a Lamborghini, a Rolex watch and trips to strip clubs. Lee Price III was sentenced Monday to 110 months in prison. Price pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors accused Price of fraudulently using more than $1.6 million in funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, which gave low-interest loans to small businesses struggling during the pandemic.
Ontario has reached a grim benchmark in the COVID-19 pandemic, with 10,000 deaths recorded due to the virus. Three of those were reported yesterday, along with 687 new infections. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 329 of the new cases are in people not fully vaccinated against the virus. She says 50 cases are in people whose vaccination status is unknown.
Individuals who are not fully vaccinated represent 23.6% of Ontario’s total population & amount to 439 of Ontario's 788 new reported cases. 34 cases are in individuals with an unknown vaccination status.
Today’s numbers will be available at 10:30 a.m. at https://t.co/ypmgZbVRvn.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) November 29, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health says there were 21 new cases yesterday and no new deaths. Hospitalizations climbed to 11. Active cases have dropped to 231.
In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Public Health confirmed 6 new cases yesterday. There are 75 active cases with 3 people hospitalized.
Please note: Our COVID-19 Assessment Centre is closed until further notice as we work to resolve suspicious email activity. pic.twitter.com/zqFFyEmgap
— Headwaters Health Care Centre (@HeadwatersHCC) November 30, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube