The First COVID19 Shot Has Been Given in the UK – Full Update

The United Kingdom has begun its COVID19 vaccination program with grandmother Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, being the first person to get the shot. Keenan received the injection at University Hospital Coventry at 6:31am local time. She says she feels “so privileged to be the first person vaccinated against COVID19.” Health officials are asking the public for patience because only those who are most at risk from COVID19 will be vaccinated in the early stages.

Trudeau Says the Vaccine Will be Safe for Canadians:

Any vaccine to be approved by Health Canada will be safe for Canadians — that is the word from the prime minister. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council winter summit Justin Trudeau said Canada would not be giving “emergency use approval.” Instead, he said they are sticking to the full, regular process. Still, a decision on the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is expected in the coming days. Trudeau said that if a thumbs-up comes by the end of the week, Canadians will begin getting vaccinated next week.

Here is yesterday’s Federal update:

A Small Number of Vaccines Will Arrive in Canada Next Week:

The federal government says the provinces will begin receiving COVID19 vaccines from Pfizer as early as next week. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says millions more doses from Pfizer and other vaccine makers will come in the new year. That does not sit well with Conservative critic Candice Bergen. In the Commons she scolded the Liberals saying an initial 250,000 doses will not be enough. Anand said earlier that’s just for starters and millions more doses will be coming. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the Liberals still have not given people enough information about the rollout so they can plan for the future.

Ontario Vaccines:

The head of Ontario’s COVID19 vaccine task force says the province will receive 2.4-million doses during the first three months of the new year. Retired General Rick Hiller says the vaccine will first go to priority groups and won’t be more broadly available to the public until April. Hillier says it will take between six-to-nine months to distribute the vaccine across the province. Premier Ford says the priority groups include vulnerable seniors, their caregivers, health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities.

Ontario Vaccine Priorities:

Ontario will give priority to vulnerable seniors, their caregivers and health-care workers when a COVID19 vaccine arrives. Premier Doug Ford says adults in Indigenous communities, retirement home residents and chronic home health-care recipients will also be priority groups. The government says it is still a long way from being able to offer the vaccine to the broader public.

Trudeau Says Don’t Give Up and Don’t Catch COVID Waiting for a Vaccine:

Prime Minister Trudeau says just because COVID19 cases are spiking in some parts of the country it doesn’t mean Canadians should give up in despair. But he also says even though there is good news on the vaccine front, now is not the time for Canadians to let their guard down. Trudeau noted hospitalizations continue to climb in many provinces, so people must still try to keep those numbers down to manageable levels.

Three Infections on the Raptors:

The Toronto Raptors say three members have tested positive for COVID19. They did not give any names. The team said in a release that the positive results came during the NBA-mandated testing period prior to training camp. The three are self-isolating away from the rest of the team. The Raptors opened training camp last week in Tampa, Florida.

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario hit another record high yesterday in its daily total of new COVID19 cases. The province announced 1,925 new cases and 26 new deaths related to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 601 new cases in Toronto, 512 in Peel Region and 167 in York Region.

Charges Laid in Windsor:

The City of Windsor says its bylaw officers have laid 22 charges on businesses and residents allegedly not in compliance with the Reopening Ontario Act. Windsor is currently in the red zone of Ontario’s pandemic response framework, under the strictest measures short of a lockdown. The city says the charges laid throughout last week include 16 charges for no safety plan. It says businesses must prepare a safety plan describing measures taken to reduce the transmission risk of COVID19.

Nunavut Numbers:

Nunavut confirmed three new cases of COVID19 yesterday. It says the infections are in Arviat, bringing that community’s active case total to 49. Located along the west coast of Hudson Bay, Arviat has been the worst hit by the pandemic since the territory recorded its first case in November. The community remains under lockdown measures.

Quebec Numbers:

Quebec announced 1,577 new cases of COVID19 yesterday and 22 additional deaths linked to the virus. Health officials say provincewide hospitalizations increased by 40 for a total of 818. Of those, 105 people are in intensive care, an increase of three compared to the day before. Quebec has now reported 153,176 COVID19 cases and 7,277 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Nova Scotia Numbers:

Nova Scotia reported eight new cases of COVID19 yesterday and now has 90 active cases. Health officials say four of the new cases are in the Halifax area, including a case reported at Ian Forsyth Elementary School in Dartmouth. The other three cases are close contacts of previously reported cases. Two other cases are reported in the western zone, including one at Berwick and District School and one related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, while the remaining two cases are in the eastern zone. One of the eastern zone cases is travel-related while the other is under investigation.

PEI Numbers:

Yesterday Public Health officials in New Brunswick reported two new cases of COVID19. The cases involve one person in their 40s in the Fredericton region and a person in their 70s in the Edmundston area. Both cases are self-isolating and under investigation. There are currently 81 active cases in the province and there have been 536 cases since the pandemic began.

Saskatchewan Numbers:

Health officials in Saskatchewan announced another 274 new infections of COVID19 yesterday. The province’s seven-day average for new daily cases sits at 264. The Ministry of Health says a person in their 60s who tested positive for the virus died, bumping the provincial death toll up to 60. There are 143 patients in hospital with COVID19, eight more than the day before. Of those in hospital, 26 people are receiving intensive care.

Saskatchewan Moving to Online Learning Before the Christmas Break:

One of the largest school divisions in Saskatchewan is moving to remote learning as classrooms deal with a spike in COVID19 infections. Regina Public Schools says students will take classes from home next week, the final week before schools break for the holidays. It says students will continue learning remotely when the break ends on Jan. 4, and the plan is to have them to return to classrooms Jan. 11. The division say the change impacts all of its schools and students in all grades. Teachers, in the meantime, will continue working in schools. The division says staffing levels are strained and it’s sending students home as a proactive measure.

Manitoba Numbers:

Manitoba confirmed 325 new COVID19 cases and 12 additional deaths yesterday. Chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says the health-care system continues to face a heavy workload and people must stay home as much as possible. Roussin is also urging snowbirds and other winter travellers to cancel all non-essential travel this season.

Over 100,000 US Restaurants Closed in America:

One in six restaurants, a startling 110,000, has had to close across America due to the COVID19 pandemic, new data from the National Restaurant Association has revealed.   According to a survey of 6,000 restaurants, 17 percent have closed since March.   The restaurants on average had been open for 16 years and employed 32 people. It means that on a national scale, more than 3 million people have lost their jobs.

New York Bar Owner Hit a Cop While Trying to Flee Coronavirus Charges:

The co-owner of a New York City bar accused of defying coronavirus restrictions is coming under fire after being charged with running over a sheriff’s deputy with his car. Governor Andrew Cuomo calls Danny Presti a “coward” while Mayor Bill de Blasio says he should face “very, very serious consequences.” Presti was arraigned on third-degree assault and other charges.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health reported 60 new COVID19 infections. Thanks to number of recovered patients, the number of active cases dropped below 500 again, to 497. Hospitalizations are down from 30 to 26 people. But, one more patient was admitted to the ICU for a current total of 11 in intensive care.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health unit announced 100 new COVID19 infections yesterday. That is the weekend total, as the unit doesn’t report numbers on Saturdays or Sundays. There are 11 people hospitalized and 216 active cases in the Region. Broken down, there were 17 cases in Wellington, 11 in Dufferin County and 56 in Guelph.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • Another COVID19 case at the University of Waterloo has been confirmed. That person is now self isolating and no close contacts were identified.
  • Grand River Hospital has declared another COVID19 outbreak in its medicine unit. Four staff and two patient cases were identified through contact tracing in 5 Centre. The first outbreak in 5S was declared on November 26.
  • One student at Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • A student at A.R. Kaufman Public School in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • Four students at Linwood Public School has tested positive.
  • A student at Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge has tested positive.
  • One student at Baden Public School has tested positive.
  • One student at Franklin Public School in Kitchenerhas tested positive.
  • A staff member at St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener has tested positive.

 Grand River Hospital’s Testing Centre is Closed Today So They Can Move:

Grand River Hospital’s new (winter-friendly) drive-thru COVID19 testing clinic opens today at 8:30am in downtown Kitchener. The new assessment centre is at the old Charles Street bus terminal.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: NHS England and NHS Improvement


Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan