The Government is Considering It’s Options to Preserve Hospital Capacity – Full COVID19 Update

Health Minister Christine Elliott says the province is discussing capacity challenges with the Ontario Hospital Association amid a second wave of COVID19. The OHA says options being discussed include setting up field hospitals, using hotel rooms for patients and taking over space in long-term care homes. But the OHA is continuing to push the government to shut down non-essential businesses in COVID19 hotspots. Elliot says the province hasn’t ruled out taking additional action, including targeted shutdowns.

Ontario Numbers:

Ontario announced a record daily total of 797 new COVID19 cases and four more deaths yesterday. It was the third time this month that cases have hit 700 or more — with the majority continuing to be in the Greater Toronto region and Ottawa. The death toll in Ontario since the pandemic began now stands at 2,992. The number of people hospitalized has climbed to 206 — more than double the number reported on September 26th.

Reforms Recommended for Long-Term Care Homes:

Ontario’s patient ombudsman is recommending a number of reforms to the long-term care system as the province deals with a resurgence of COVID19. Cathy Fooks says it’s clear that what happened in the early days of the pandemic must not be repeated. Her office is recommending an overhaul of visitation policies, better communications, and enhanced protections for whistleblowers. It’s also suggesting all health-care providers have back-stops and contingency plans to deal with an outbreak.

Dr Tam Says the Second Wave is Regional:

Canada’s top doctor says the second wave of COVID19 has arrived in a series of regional epidemics. Doctor Theresa Tam says these will require a tailored response. She says it will also require every person to stay vigilant and ready to adapt to changes. There has been an average of 2,052 new cases per day over the past week. The majority of those cases are in Ontario and Quebec with both provinces reporting surging infections.

Ontario and Quebec Leading The Surge:

Ontario and Quebec continue to post surging numbers of COVID19 cases as we head into a long weekend where friends and family traditionally get together. Quebec reported 1,078 new cases yesterday and Ontario reported 797 new cases — the most in a single day since the pandemic started. Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the second wave of COVID19 is showing up as a series of regional epidemics, with Ontario and Quebec accounting for 80 per cent of recent new cases. In New Brunswick, 19 people have tested positive in an outbreak at Moncton’s Notre-Dame Manor special-care home.

Here is yesterday’s Ontario health update:

Health Canada Not Planning a Speedy Vaccine Approval:

Health Canada says there won’t be any speedy approval of a COVID19 vaccine. The agency’s chief medical adviser says it’s a process that will take months, not weeks. The federal government has signed deals to get access to millions of doses of six of the most promising vaccines in development. However, all will need to complete clinical trials and be approved as safe by Health Canada before they can be used. AstraZeneca is so far the only one of the six vaccine makers to submit a COVID19 vaccine for approval.

Live Theatre Returning Already?

Audiences are set to be welcomed back to the Princess of Wales Theatre in downtown Toronto next month. It will be the first performance since the COVID19 pandemic shut down indoor stage productions in March. But rather than the traditional thrill of live performance, Mirvish Productions says theatre-goers will sit on stage and get sanitized headphones for a “socially distanced sound installation.” The theatre company says it’s preparing to premiere “Blindness,” based on Jose Saramago’s contagion-themed novel.

The Province and Feds are Investing Big Money into Ford in Oakville:

The Ontario and federal governments are investing nearly $600-million dollars to help retool Ford’s Oakville assembly plant into a global hub for electric vehicle and battery production. The two governments are each providing $295-million dollars in what they say is an important step in building the next generation of Canada’s auto industry. Prime Minister Trudeau calls the agreement a win-win for the auto sector and the environment. It’s part of nearly $2-billion dollars in funding announced last month between Ford and Unifor to preserve most of the 3,400 jobs at the Oakville plant.

Here is yesterday’s announcement:

New Research Points to Remdesivir Being an Effective Treatment:

A study of more than one-thousand patients hospitalized with COVID19 pneumonia and treated with the anti-viral medication remdesivir finds they recovered faster. Researchers funded by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases tried to determine the impact of remdesivir on the time patients were well enough to be discharged from the hospital. Patients who received remdesivir had a median recovery time of 10 days, compared with 15 days for patients who received a placebo.

Trump Connection to Drug Maker:

The CEO of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the company that has seen its shares rise after Donald Trump was treated with its experimental antibody drug treatment, is a New York billionaire who is a member of one of the president’s golf clubs.  Shares of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals were up 2 percent yesterday after Trump credited the company’s experimental antibody drug treatment with aiding his COVID19 recovery.  Stocks in the biotech company, which is based in Tarrytown just outside New York City, have been rising since it was first revealed last week that Trump was being treated with the REGN-COV2 drug in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus.

Canada Post Wants us to Shop Early:

There’s been a sharp jump in parcel deliveries since the pandemic started and Canada Post is expecting that to continue into the holiday season. So it is asking everyone to start shopping for Christmas early to make sure their gifts are delivered on time. Canada Post says it is scaling up its operations, but warns a traditional holiday parcel surge could overwhelm its capacity to make timely deliveries.

The Federal Government to Address System Racism in Healthcare:

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the federal government has heard the urgent call to address systemic racism in Canada’s health care system. Miller says he is planning an emergency meeting with federal officials and First Nations leaders to immediate next steps regarding the discrimination faced by Indigenous people. It comes as Miller warns of a huge spike in COVID19 cases in Indigenous communities.

COVID19 and Domestic Abuse:

Advocates say the COVID19 pandemic has made things worse for women and gender-diverse people in abusive relationships. Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef says that’s why Ottawa is allocating another $50-million-dollars in additional funding for organizations supporting women across the country. She says the federal government has partnered with about 1,500 organizations working with women and children across the country.

BC Wants Businesses to Work on Compliance:

British Columbia’s provincial health officer is urging businesses to ensure they are in compliance with health and safety standards to protect employees from COVID19. Doctor Bonnie Henry says public health teams would provide guidance if a worker contracts the illness but it’s up to businesses to make it easy for anyone who is unwell to stay away. Henry says employees should be screened daily, tracked for where they’re working and who they’re with, and meet virtually as much as possible.

Alberta’s Numbers Are Climbing:

Alberta’s leading physician is expressing concern after the province recorded it’s biggest one day outbreak of COVID19 cases. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there were 364 new cases and 276 were in Edmonton. She says the province might have to modify its messaging to those not adhering to health guidelines. People in Edmonton are being asked to limit gatherings to a maximum of 15 and to wear masks indoors in work settings.

New Brunswick Makes Masks Mandatory:

New Brunswick has announced a series of measures aimed at controlling a second wave of COVID19 as the number of active cases increases in the province. Wearing masks is now mandatory in all indoor public places. Day trips that had been allowed for two Quebec border communities are now prohibited.

US Democrats Will Try Again to Remove Trump from Office:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is questioning US President Donald Trump’s fitness to service in his role. Pelosi has announced legislation that would create a commission to allow Congress to intervene under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and to remove the president from executive duties. Pelosi says Trump needs to disclose more about his health after his COVID19 diagnosis.

Trump Ready to Campaign Again:

President Donald Trump is eager to get back on the campaign trail. He insists he is ready to resume campaign rallies and feels perfect one week after his COVID19 diagnosis. The pandemic has killed more than 210,000 Americans. Trump’s doctor says the president has completed his course of therapy for the virus. Navy Commander Sean Conley says the president will be able to safely return to public engagements on Saturday.

US COVID Infections:

Wisconsin is now the latest COVID19 hot spot in the United States with the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths surging to record highs in the last month.  Governor Tony Evers on Wednesday activated a 530-bed field hospital just outside Milwaukee as the ongoing surge in COVID19 infections threatens to overwhelm hospitals.  Cases in the Midwestern state have been spiking since the beginning of September and have consistently surged to record daily highs since then.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Region of Waterloo Public Health announced 13 new coronavirus cases yesterday along with another hospitalization. There are now 124 active cases in the Region with three receiving treatment in hospital. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph added 5 more cases to their dashboard yesterday. They now have 40 active cases with zero people in hospital.

Waterloo Region School Infections:

There’s another school infection in the Region. A positive COVID19 case has been confirmed in a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute. The student was last in the school on October 2. Public health are tracking down all high-risk contacts. They will need to self-isolate until October 16.

Waterloo Region School Learning Modes:

The Waterloo Region District School Board says that about three-thousand elementary students are changing their form of learning for the school year and that is going to leave the schools with a lot less students. Most are changing from in-person learning to online learning. The deadline to switch was September 25. The board will move 119 educators to the online school to meet the increased demand.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Photographer unidentified



Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan