Federal health officials warn Canada could soon face never-before-seen COVID-19 infection rates. Chief public health officer Doctor Theresa Tam says infection rates are exploding, with unvaccinated Canadians making up the vast majority of new hospitalizations. Infections from the Delta variant of COVID-19 have skyrocketed in some parts of the country, including Alberta, where a health emergency was declared. Tam warns infections could overwhelm hospitals and says political leaders should learn from what’s happening in Alberta and act quickly when a spike in cases is detected. About seven-million people still aren’t fully vaccinated as the highly contagious and more severe Delta variant spreads.
Obesity Crisis Forming:
A new study ties the COVID-19 pandemic to what is being called an alarming increase in obesity in US children and teenagers. Childhood obesity has been increasing for decades, but the new work suggests an acceleration last year — especially in those who already were obese when the pandemic started. The results signal a profound increase in weight gain for kids that are substantial and alarming, according to one of the study’s authors. The pandemic appears to be worsening the nation’s long-standing obesity epidemic, and obesity can put people at risk for more severe illness after coronavirus infection.
The Vaccines Now Have Names:
Health Canada has announced new names for the Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines based on a request from the drug companies. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be known as Comirnaty, which is a mash-up of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity. The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.
(1/4) Health Canada has authorized brand name changes for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.
— Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) September 16, 2021
Making Decisions on Booster Shots:
An independent FDA advisory committee is meeting today to discuss Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. The committee will examine safety and efficacy data surrounding the booster shot, hear testimony from members of the FDA and CDC, and question representatives from Pfizer. It will end the day with a vote on whether to recommend the FDA issue approval for the booster.
The Toronto International Film Festival says an audience member has tested positive for COVID-19. The TIFF organization says its customer relations team was informed of the positive COVID result but the festival offered no details on how many or which screenings were involved. The organization says the case is considered low risk due to all the COVID protocols in place. Several festival-goers posted screenshots on Twitter of emails they’ve received from the TIFF organization, which suggest affected audience members may want to get tested. Affected screenings include Dune, The Humans and Bergman Island at Scotiabank Theatre.
Saskatchewan Implementing a Vaccine Passport System:
Saskatchewan is bringing in a proof of vaccination program in an attempt to increase the number of people immunized against COVID-19. Premier Scott Moe says the policy is expected to come into effect on October 1st and will apply to businesses, establishments and event venues, but exclude civil services. People will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Moe is also reinstating a provincewide mask mandate for all indoor public places, which he says could be lifted by late October.
As a gov, we have been patient with those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated. But the time for patience is over.
Today, our gov will be announcing additional steps we are taking to protect our health capacity, while also ensuring that Sask can continue to move forward.
— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) September 16, 2021
Online learning will continue at eight post-secondary schools in Alberta as swamped hospitals threaten to buckle the province’s health-care system. There are now strict limits on social gatherings, and the province is also ordering two-metre physical distancing in all indoor spaces. Premier Jason Kenney implemented the restrictions immediately to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but there will be some exemptions for institutions and businesses that sign up for a vaccine passport program.
Alberta’s government has declared a public health emergency and will bring in new vaccine requirements and public health measures to:
🔹 Increase health system capacity
🔹 Reduce viral transmission
🔹 Get more people vaccinated
— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) September 16, 2021
Ontario Public Health says the province had 864 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, along with 3 more deaths. There are currently 191 patients in intensive care due to the virus, including 120 people on ventilators. Health Minister Christine Elliott says a majority of the infected people aren’t vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status.
In Ontario, 21,283,180 vaccine doses have been administered. 84.7% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 78.5% have two doses.
348 people are hospitalized with #COVID19. 319 are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 29 are fully vaccinated.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) September 16, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Public Health of Waterloo Region confirmed 34 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. There were no new deaths. Active cases were up slightly to 204. There are still 8 people hospitalized.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced 38 new cases yesterday. 33 were in Guelph, 1 was in Wellington and 2 were in Dufferin. There are now 137 active cases. That is a jump of 30. 6 people are hospitalized.
Close contact is the main source of transmission in Waterloo Region. You can limit close contact by choosing to socialize outdoors.
🍁Enjoy the September weather
🚵♂️Go for a bike ride
🏞Take a walk on a local trail
🍽Dine out at a local patio pic.twitter.com/gF5L7r3a64
— Region of Waterloo Public Health (@ROWPublicHealth) September 16, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot