Poll Finds Majority of Canadians Plan To Get Vaccinated – Full COVID19 Update

A new poll finds more and more Canadians are planning to get vaccinated for COVID 19 following the encouraging initial results from Pfizer’s vaccine trial. Still, 22 per cent say they do not intend to get the shot when it becomes available in the spring. While worrying, pollster Christian Bourque says, it does not necessarily indicate a growth in anti-vaccine sentiments. Instead, he says only nine per cent of respondents said they think vaccines are dangerous and should not be taken or given.

Seasonal Flu Numbers are Way Down:

At this point during last year’s flu season, Canada had already recorded 711 positive cases of influenza. So far this year, there have only been 17 cases reported. Doctor Gerald Evans of Queen’s University in Ontario says most of the credit goes to the public health measures taken to slow COVID19, including handwashing, social distancing and mask-wearing. The infectious disease specialist says Canada is also pushing the flu vaccine harder than ever this year, and Canadians are listening.

Retail Council of Canada Says it’s Members are Not Happy:

The Retail Council of Canada says retailers are frustrated by the piecemeal closures ordered by various governments amid a second wave of COVID19. The head of the industry group says the lack of clear, harmonized rules — even within the same province — is leaving shoppers unsure about what’s open or closed. Diane Brisebois says retailers have invested heavily in creating safe environments and now they’re being forced to close. Brisebois say even those that are allowed to remain open are losing income and facing mounting bills because they have to operate at reduced capacity.

Ford Wants New Testing for LTC:

Premier Ford is promising to ramp up COVID19 surveillance testing in long-term care homes amid several large outbreaks at the facilities. Ford also says those test results must be available within 24 to 48 hours to help prevent the spread of the virus. He says residents and staff can’t afford to wait days for test results at this time. Ford spoke a day after Ontario recorded 29 deaths due to COVID19; 20 of them in nursing homes.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

Ontario Has a New Agency That Sources PPE:

Ontario has set up a new centralized procurement agency to secure critical supplies for frontline health care workers during the COVID19 pandemic. Premier Ford says Supply Ontario will enable a whole-of-government approach to purchasing personal protective equipment and other supplies for the entire public sector. Ford says the new agency will save taxpayer dollars by buying in bulk and make it easier for Ontario businesses to sell their products and services to the government. The province is also launching a program allowing small business to apply for a grant of up to $1,000 dollars to pay for such things as masks and barriers.

Ontario Numbers:

The province continues to put up big COVID19 numbers. Yesterday there were 1,487 new cases in Ontario along with 10 new deaths. 21 more people were hospitalized during the 24-hour period, including 7 more people that were admitted to the ICU and 3 more people who are now being treated with ventilators.  There were 992 more recovered patients. New cases in the provincial hotspots were particularly high. Toronto had 508 new cases. There were 392 in Peel Region and 170 in York Region.

Optimism About the New COVID Vaccine:

The steady climb of COVID19 infections across the country has pushed Canada’s case count past the 300,000 mark. Still, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu is expressing optimism over the news of another promising COVID19 vaccine candidate from drug maker Moderna. Hajdu also cautioned Canadians to temper their expectations, noting that there are many dark months to go before any vaccine gets approved and rolled-out across Canada. In the interim, she is asking everyone to continue following public health measures — like washing your hands and wearing a mask.

GTHA Mayors Calling for More Support for Workers:

A group of Ontario mayors in COVID19 hot spots say more support is needed for workers who don’t have sick pay benefits. The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area mayors and chairs say an urgent discussion is needed so workers can seek testing for COVID19 without fear of losing income. The mayors say all governments and the private sector should take part in the conversation. Toronto Mayor John Tory says such supports would be more effective coming from the province, but he says municipalities can take action if required.

COVID Testing Centre Damaged:

A COVID19 testing centre in Brampton had to close for the day yesterday after high winds damaged the outdoor facility at South Fletcher’s Sportsplex. All appointments scheduled at the centre were cancelled and the William Osler Health Centre says patients were being contacted directly to help them rebook. It’s just one consequence of a storm that wreaked havoc across Ontario.

Another House Party in London Has Lead to Charges:

Three teenagers have been charged under the Reopening Ontario Act after hosting a house party in London, Ontario, this past weekend. Police say they were called to a house party on Friday and saw more than 100 people in the home, none of them wearing any masks. Officers say they charged one 18-year-old man and two 19-year-old men with two charges each under the act designed to slow the spread of COVID19. On Halloween a large house party also lead to charges against a homeowner.

Alberta Numbers:

Alberta is recording the province’s deadliest day of the pandemic. The province’s chief medical health officer says there are 860 new COVID19 cases. Twenty new deaths are reported. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the worsening numbers are concerning. But she’s telling Albertans not to lose hope. There are 264 COVID19 patients in Alberta hospitals, including 57 in the ICU.

Manitoba Doctor Says People Need to Stay Home:

Manitoba’s top doctor has a stern warning that people need to stay home as hospital capacity is pushed to the limit by COVID19. Dr. Brent Roussin says health-care providers are being overwhelmed. Ten more deaths and 392 new cases of the virus were announced by the province yesterday. There are now 234 people in hospital in Manitoba with 42 people in intensive care.

Nunavut Imposes New Restrictions:

Nunavut’s chief public health officer has ordered a two-week shutdown starting Wednesday. Michael Patterson says the recent jump in COVID19 cases in Arviat, in western Nunavut, means the territory could see further spread if measures aren’t put in place now. All schools and businesses in the territory must close until December 2nd and gatherings in households are restricted.

Quebecers Waiting for an Answer About Christmas:

Quebec Premier Francois Legault says health authorities are closely monitoring the COVID19 situation in the province. But he has yet to advise how Quebecers will celebrate the Christmas holidays. Legault says things changed dramatically over the past week and the average daily number of infections has gone up, but the health-care system is coping. Legault says public health officials are examining a variety of scenarios to allow Quebecers to gather for the holidays.

Calls for a Shutdown in Saskatchewan:

The president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses is calling for a short shutdown of non-essential businesses so the health-care system can properly manage the influx of COVID19 cases. Tracy Zambory says the recent rule change to make masks mandatory in communities of five-thousand people and bring in an alcohol curfew for bars and businesses isn’t enough. Zambory says nurses working in intensive care units and hospitals in Saskatoon are exhausted. Premier Scott Moe says he will make an announcement today.

Presidential Transition Could Cause Issues in the Battle Against COVID19:

US president-elect Joe Biden is warning of dire consequences if US President Donald Trump and his administration continue to refuse to co-ordinate with his transition team. Biden is pointing to the stonewalling on the coronavirus pandemic and blocked briefings on national security, policy issues and vaccine plans. The Monday comments are the toughest Biden has issued to date on Trump’s failure to acknowledge his election loss and co-operate with the incoming administration for a peaceful transfer of power.

JetBlue Planning to Raise Airline Passenger Capacity:

JetBlue will limit passenger capacity on flights this holiday season in the fight against COVID19, but will ultimately stop blocking seats in January 2021.  Joanna Geraghty, president and COO of the budget airline, announced the news in a letter to employees last week.  She cited research from Harvard and the Department of Defense, among others, in arguing that the risk of coronavirus exposure while flying was low, and voiced confidence in the carrier’s filtration systems.

Disney World to Start Allowing More Guests:

Disney World has raised guest capacity to 35%, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed, citing consumer demand and an improved understanding of best operating practices amid COVID19 as the catalysts.  During a recent earnings call, Chapek confirmed that Disney World has bumped up daily capacity from 25% to 35%.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Region of Waterloo Public Health announced another 53 new COVID19 cases yesterday and a new death. The death was a woman in her 90’s. That brings the Regional death toll to 122. The number of people being treated in hospital has dropped from 12 to 11. There are now 357 active cases in the Region.

In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, the situation has changed rapidly and Wellington was the main source of new infections. The Region reported 63 new cases from the weekend. That includes 30 cases in Wellington, 3 in Dufferin and 19 in Guelph. There are now 128 active cases in the Region with 4 people hospitalized.

Serious Warning for Waterloo Region:

This is about as serious as it gets. Yesterday Waterloo Region’s Medical Officer of Health said the Region will likely get moved to the Red Zone fairly quickly, on her advice. Dr. Wang told council that a full blown lockdown may be imminent if the numbers don’t start trending in the right direction very quickly. Rates of COVID19 are now accelerating faster in Waterloo Region than in Halton and Hamilton, which are already in the Red zone. Local rates have more than tripled in the last two weeks and the Region is now one of the fastest surging areas in Ontario.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • A student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute has tested positive for COVID19. That student was last at the school on Tuesday, November 10. That’s the third case at the school.
  • A positive case has been confirmed in a staff member at St. Mark Catholic Elementary School in Kitchener. It’s the school’s first COVID case.
  • A student has tested positive for COVID19 at the French high school in Cambridge. It’s the school’s first case and no other details were released.
  • A student at Westvale Public School in Waterloo has tested positive for COVID19. They were last in the building on Nov 6.

University of Waterloo Makes Changes to their Schedule:

The University of Waterloo is giving some students an extended break over the holidays. The Winter term has been pushed back until January 11, 2021. Some activities such as co-op will still begin on January 4, 2021. The school has also created a 4-day weekend in March by canceling classes on March 15 and 16.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Centre for Disease Control

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan