The Second Wave Is Putting Intense Pressure On Ontario Hospitals – Full COVID19 Update

An organization representing Ontario’s hospitals says the ongoing surge in COVID19 cases is making it hard to carry on with other procedures. The Ontario Hospital Association says there are significant capacity issues, particularly in intensive care units. Health experts have warned that having more than 150 COVID19 patients in intensive care could cause surgeries to be cancelled. The province has already passed that threshold and the latest COVID19 projections show it’s on track to see 200 people in ICUs sometime this month.

Dr Tam Warns About Who Won’t Get Vaccinated Right Away:

Canada’s top doctor says the list of those who will be the first to get a COVID19 vaccine is being refined because the initial six-million doses won’t be enough to cover everyone. Speaking to medical professionals at the 2020 Canadian Immunization Conference yesterday, Doctor Theresa Tam says she is also worried about the impact anti-vaccination rhetoric will have on Canada’s vaccination effort. Canada’s chief public health officer is appealing to medical experts to use credible evidence to convince Canadians that a vaccine won’t be approved if it is not safe.

The Liberals are Making the Fiscal Update a Confidence Vote:

The Liberal government is making the passage of a bill enacting spending measures proposed in this week’s fall economic statement a confidence vote. That means Canadians could be heading to the polls if the legislation determining the fate of billions of dollars in new pandemic-related aid does not garner the necessary support. Monday’s spending update outlined just over $25-billion dollars in new spending to top up and expand existing programs and create new, targeted support for hard-hit industries.

Conservatives to Introduction a Motion Forcing the Government to Disclose Vaccine Information:

The Conservatives are demanding the Trudeau government share its plan for a nationwide COVID19 vaccine rollout, and today they’ll introduce a motion to get the specifics. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says the Pfizer vaccine needs specialized freezers — but notes that Canada doesn’t have the national freezer capacity. The NDP, meantime, is calling on the government to create a Crown corporation dedicated to producing vaccines and critical medications domestically.

NDP Calls for a New Crown Corporation Dealing with Vaccines:

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Canada needs a Crown corporation dedicated to producing vaccines and critical medications. The Liberal government has come under fire after revealing last week that approved COVID19 vaccines likely won’t come to Canada until the first quarter of 2021. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that’s because the first doses will go to the countries where they are manufactured, such as the UK, Germany and the US. Singh says Canada can’t rely on other countries during a health emergency.

Ontario Numbers:

Yesterday the province reported 1,723 cases CIVID19 cases along with 35 new deaths. 11 more people are hospitalized, 2 less people are in the ICU and 6 less people are on a ventilator. 1,686 more cases are now now recovered. Testing is back at normal levels after a 2-day dip. Locally, there were 500 new cases in Peel, 410 in Toronto and 196 in York Region.

Premier Ford news Conference:

Yesterday Premier Ford talked about the closure of non essential businesses in locked down areas. Here are his remarks:

A Virtual ER Opens in Toronto:

A Toronto hospital is offering a “virtual emergency room” so patients can see a doctor without risking exposure to COVID19. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre says the service is available for anyone over the age of 16 with a valid Ontario health card. Appointments are available Monday to Friday, from 2pm to 9pm, with the online booking system opening at noon every weekday.

Windsor is on The Verge of a Lockdown:

The Ontario government says reinforcements have been sent to Windsor-Essex as the region teeters on the verge of a lockdown. Health Minister Christine Elliott says two dozen contact tracers are set to provide relief to the overworked team at the Windsor-Essex Public Health Unit. The region entered the red level of the province’s tiered, colour-coded COVID19 response framework on Monday — just two weeks after advancing from the green level to yellow, and then to orange. There are 17 active outbreaks in the region says the region’s medical officer of health.

New Brunswick Numbers:

New Brunswick health officials say six new cases of COVID19 have popped up in the province. They say two cases were reported in the Bathurst region, while the Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Edmundston regions each tallied a single case. The updated numbers mean the province now has 119 active cases. In total, there have been 514 cases and seven deaths since the pandemic began.

Nova Scotia Numbers:

COVID19 cases continue their climb in Nova Scotia. Health officials say 17 new cases were reported yesterday — with 16 in the Halifax area. The other single case is in the northern health zone and is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada. One bit of good news — no one has been hospitalized for their infection.

Nova Scotia Offering New Supports for First Responders:

A new website launched in Nova Scotia yesterday offers first responders specialized resources to help them manage workplace trauma. The site (FirstRespondersMentalHealthNS.com) provides support for recovery from traumatic psychological injury, including links to online counselling. It also contains links for family members living with a person with post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s modelled on a similar site in BC.

The Pandemic Has Lead to an Increase in Calls to Crisis Lines:

COVID19’s impact on health and well-being is stretching far beyond the illness it produces. Distress Centre Calgary, a 24-hour crisis line, says it has seen a startling rise in suicide-related calls, chats and texts. The centre says there were 48-hundred interactions last month, up 66 per cent from the year prior. Crisis team leader, Hannah Storrs, says suicide-related calls, once occasional, are now coming in back-to-back.

The COVID19 Situation in America is Getting Critical:

The COVID19 pandemic is threatening to overwhelm the American healthcare system, with the number of hospitalized patients more than doubling over the past month to a record high of nearly 100,000. That’s prompting governors to offer high salaries in a desperate attempt to woo doctors and nurses out of retirement and ease staffing shortages. Officials are also recruiting new graduates who have yet to earn their licenses.

Americans Can Get Vaccinated Before Christmas:

The first shipments of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine will be delivered on December 15, according to an Operation Warp Speed document.  The document, provided to governors ahead of a call with the Vice President Monday, also estimated the first shipment of Moderna’s vaccine will be delivered on December 22.  Those distribution dates are contingent upon a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration to authorize each vaccine for emergency use.  Pfizer submitted an application to the FDA on November 20, and Moderna submitted an application on November 30.

NBA Players Testing Positive:

The NBA says 48 players have tested positive for COVID19 since testing resumed last week. The league and National Basketball Players Association said 546 players were tested between Nov. 24-30 in the initial phase of testing after returning to team markets. That means about nine per cent of the tests were positive. The NBA has told teams that some positive tests were to be expected.

Many Europeans Working from Home So a New Law Has Been Passed:

About one-third of employees across the European Union are now working from home, mainly due to the COVID19 pandemic. EU lawmakers have voted in favour of making the ability to disconnect from work, the internet and email, a fundamental right. They note the pressure to always be reachable by employers at any time has resulted in many workers suffering from depression, burnout and fatigue, among other ailments.

Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:

Yesterday Waterloo Region Public Health announced the biggest single day number of new infections to date. There were 88 new COVID19 cases reported and another death. That brings the local death toll to 126. The number of hospitalizations shot up to 33 and the number in the ICU increased to 11. There are now 560 active cases in the Region. Tomorrow Premier Ford is expected to make an announcement about new restrictions. It’s expected he will move the Region into the Grey Zone, which means a lockdown and the closure of hundreds of businesses.

The Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit announced a high number of new cases yesterday. There were 22 more added to the dashboard. 8 were in Guelph and 7 were in Dufferin. The number of active cases is now up to 143 with 5 people hospitalized.

Waterloo Region Infections:

  • There are five new COVID19 cases the Waterloo campus of Wilfred Laurier University. Four are students and one is a staff member and none of the students live in residence. All of them are self-isolating.
  • A student at Wellesley Public School has tested positive for COVID19. The student was last in the building last Wednesday.
  • 2 more students have tested positive at Clemens Mill Public School in Cambridge. This is the third infection since last week.
  • A staff member at Abraham Erb Public School in Waterloo has tested positive.
  • A staff member at Smithson Public School in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • One student at Grand River Collegiate Institute in Kitchener is positive.
  • A staff member at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School in Waterloo has tested positive.
  • A student at Forest Heights Collegiate Institute in Kitchener has tested positive.
  • A student at Hespeler Public School in Cambridge has tested positive.

Waterloo Region Mennonites Get a New Section 22 Order:

Due to what Public Health calls a “rapid increase of cases across Waterloo Region’s Mennonite communities”, a new section 22 order has been imposed that limits Mennonite churches and affiliated schools to a maximum of 10 people inside or 25 people outside. So far there have been over 200 COVID19 infections reported across North Wellesley and North Woolwich. Public Health claims some members of the Mennonite community were not cooperating sufficiently with the existing orders to self-isolate when sick, not go to work when sick and to identify high-risk contacts for Public Health when they call. The new order is in effect immediately to help slow the spread.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: Cambridge Memorial Hospital

 

Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan