The First COVID Shots Are Now in Canada – Full COVID19 Update

Canada’s first batch of COVID19 vaccines landed in Montreal last night, and the Ontario government says it expects to start administering doses sometime this week. The province has not publicly confirmed when the first shots will be given — but it has said they’ll go to health-care workers on the front lines. Even more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to cross the border later today — though the initial batch is just 30,000 for the whole country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the arrival of the first shipments of the COVID19 vaccine in this country is good news. But he says the fight against the virus isn’t over, and Canadians must step up their vigilance. The Pfizer vaccines are bound for 14 distribution sites across the country. There are distribution sites in all 10 provinces, but none in the territories because of the challenges with storing the vaccines.  Quebec says the first doses could be administered in the province as early as today.

More Regions Enter New Levels Of Restriction Today:

Major changes were announced by the province on Friday that will put virtually the entire Greater Toronto Area into lockdown. Health Minister Christine Elliott has announced that on the advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, in consultation with the local medical officers, Windsor-Essex and York Region will enter the Grey zone of the Reopening Ontario framework. The move will cancel indoor dining, call on employees to work from home wherever possible and close many “non-essential” businesses and services. In the GTA, the only two Regions that have managed to avoid lockdown are Durham and Halton. That has residents fearing those from Grey zone areas will venture to their area to shop in the final full week before Christmas.

Several other Regions are also on the move. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Middlesex-London and Simcoe-Muskoka will now enter the Red zone. That level of restriction puts a cap on how many people can be inside an establishment for indoor dining, restricts alcohol serving hours and restricts capacity in places of worship and various other settings.

Alberta Hit a New Record for Deaths:

Alberta reported a record-breaking 22 new deaths from COVID19 yesterday. That came on the first day of new province-wide measures meant to slow the spread of the virus. The deaths occurred between the first of the month and yesterday with the province explaining there can be delays in deaths being reported. Many were connected with outbreaks at care homes, but there was also a man in his 40s who died on Thursday.

US Vaccine Distribution is Underway:

The first of many COVID19 vaccine doses are making their way to distribution sites across the United States. This comes as the country’s deaths from the pandemic approaches 300,000. The rollout of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ushers in the biggest immunization effort in US history. The first of two shots are expected to be given in the coming week to health-care workers and nursing home residents.

Trump to Reverse Policy on Vaccinating Politicians First:

US President Donald Trump says he’s reversing an administration directive to vaccinate top government officials against COVID19. It comes as public distribution of the shot is limited to front-line health workers and people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Trump made the announcement in a tweet last night. That came hours after his administration confirmed that senior U-S officials, including some White House aides and Vice President Mike Pence, would be offered vaccines as soon as this week.

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday the province announced 1,677 new COVID19 cases. There were also 16 more deaths. Locally, there were 456 new cases in Toronto, 356 in Peel and 143 in York Region. 1,678 more cases were marked as resolved. Heading into this week, there are 42 less people in hospital, 16 more people in the ICU, and 1 less on a ventilator. 58,200 tests were completed in the 24-hour period.

The Snowbird Are Staying Home:

Canadian snowbirds are staying away from the US in large flocks. Upwards of 70 per cent of the roughly 500,000 people who would typically migrate south at the end of the year opted instead to stay put in 2020. Some of the travellers who are going to Florida say they are satisfied that people in their southern retreat are taking health precautions seriously.

Germany Getting Tough on Restrictions Again:

Germany is closing most stores and schools, and further limiting social contacts in an effort to curb COVID19 infections. Chancellor Angela Merkel says she and the governors of Germany’s 16 states have agreed to step up the country’s lockdown measures from December 16th to January 10th. She says existing restrictions imposed in November failed to significantly reduce the number of new infections.

The Brazilian Vaccination Plan:

Only about a quarter of Brazil’s population will be able to receive a vaccination under the government’s COVID19 immunization plan The document submitted by President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration under a court order by a Supreme Court justice does not indicate a start date. Brazil’s health regulator has not yet approved the use of any vaccine. The first of four phases for vaccinating those groups include health-care workers, people older than 80 and Indigenous peoples.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health added 73 new COVID19 cases to the dashboard. There were 58 cases on Saturday and 93 cases on Friday. The number of active cases has increased to 453. There are 37 cases currently hospitalized with 13 in the ICU. There were two new deaths this weekend, increasing the local toll to 134.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit doesn’t report numbers on the weekend. Friday they announced 43 new cases. 72% of those were in Guelph. There are now 14 people hospitalized with 251 active cases.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • A Wilfred Laurier student who lives in residence at Clara Conrad Hall has tested positive and is now self isolating.
  • One student at Hillcrest Public School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • Three students at Clemens Mill Public School in Cambridge have tested positive.
  • Two students at Franklin Public School in Kitchener have tested positive.
  • One student and one staff member at Cedar Creek Public School in Ayr have tested positive.
  • One student at Silverheights Public School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • One student at John Sweeney Catholic School in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • One student at Floradale Public School in Elmira has tested positive.
  • One student at Galt Collegiate Institute in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • One student at Ryerson Public School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • One student at Eastwood Collegiate Institute in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • One student at Chicopee Hills Public School in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • One student at Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • One student at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Elementary School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • One student at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge has tested positive.

New Restrictions for Businesses in Waterloo Region:

New restrictions for businesses in Waterloo Region went into effect at midnight. They call for all employers to: Conduct active screening of employees and/or essential visitors, Prepare and implement a COVID19 safety plan, Ensure physical distancing throughout the workplace, including employee-only areas, Ensure use of face coverings, and Optimize indoor air ventilation. Waterloo Region remains in the Red zone of the province’s COVID19 response plan.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Prime Minister Trudeau via Twitter

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan