Prime Minister Trudeau says Canada will have to wait for a COVID vaccine because the very first ones that roll out are likely to be given to citizens of the country they are made in. Trudeau notes Canada does not have vaccine-production facilities. The United States, the United Kingdom and Germany do. In the Commons yesterday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole accused Trudeau of fumbling the ball in not getting vaccines for Canada faster. Procurement Minister Anita Anand says there is a plan in the works to distribute vaccines.
Here is the Prime Minister’s News Conference from Yesterday:
Dr Tam is Concerned About Community Spread:
The COVID19 infection rate continues to climb across the country, as Canada’s chief public health officer warns of outbreaks in areas where there were no cases during the pandemic’s first wave. Ontario and Quebec reported a combined 2,133 new cases and 59 virus-related deaths yesterday. Nunavut recorded an additional 10 cases, while Manitoba has announced 471 new cases and 12 additional deaths. In Atlantic Canada, another two patients were confirmed in Newfoundland and Labrador, and six in New Brunswick.
2/2 That’s why #publichealth is implementing measures to interrupt spread. And, It’s safest for all of us to limit outings to essentials & keep in-person activities to our existing households.#PhysicalDistancing, #Avoid3Cs, #MaskOn😷https://t.co/w27G7rHASE
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) November 24, 2020
Today The Province Is Expected To Lay Out The Plan For The Holidays:
The Ontario government is expected to spell out its guidelines today for celebrating the upcoming winter holidays as the COVID19 pandemic continues. Toronto and Peel Region are currently under the grey or lockdown level in the province’s tiered COVID19 alert system, with those restrictions to stay in place at least until the week of Christmas. Public health measures under the lockdown level include a ban on indoor gatherings except with those in the same household, as well as closing down restaurants for all but takeout and delivery. The province’s top doctor said earlier this week it seemed unlikely the situation would improve in those regions enough over 28 days to warrant moving them to the red alert level, which is one level lower.
Ontario Finally Has Rapid Tests and they are Already Being Rolled Out:
The government says it has begun deploying new COVID19 rapid tests in some parts of the province. Premier Ford says rapid tests have been sent to 36 long-term care homes and 27 retirement homes. They are also being used in two hospitals with 20 additional hospitals preparing to launch rapid testing. Ford says the tests are a game changer in the fight against COVID19.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:
Ontario’s health minister says yesterday’s report of new COVID19 cases was affected by a technical issue. Christine Elliott says the report was an underestimate because Monday’s numbers were overestimated. The province announced 1,009 more COVID19 cases, after a report of 1,589 on Monday. Fourteen additional deaths from the virus were also reported yesterday and the number of hospitalizations also increased. Only slightly more than 27,000 tests were conducted.
More Anger Over Airlines Refusing to Provide Refunds:
Consumer rights advocates are criticizing the latest statement on airline refunds from the country’s transport regulator. The Canadian Transportation Agency updated its statement on airline vouchers last week, saying the law “does not require airlines to include refund provisions” in their contracts with passengers. But Gabor Lukacs, founder of the Air Passenger Rights group, says the statement goes against federal regulations, provincial legislation and legal precedent. Thousands of air passengers have voiced anger and frustration at airlines that cancelled flights because of the COVID19 pandemic but then refused to provide refunds.
CDC Plans To Shorten Recommended Coronavirus Quarantine Period From 14 Days To Between 7 And 10 Days:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is planning to shorten the recommended period of time Americans should quarantine for after potentially being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Currently, the federal agency recommends that anyone who may have come into contact with a COVID19 patients quarantine for 14 days. However, officials are in the midst of finalizing new guidelines to reduce that period to between seven and 10 days, according to The Wall Street Journal. Experts hope the updated recommendations encourage more people to observe the quarantine period rather than try to bypass it.
NFL Expands Mask Mandate By Requiring Players To Cover Their Faces On The Sidelines:
The NFL has expanded its mandate for mask usage on the sideline to include players and is threatening discipline for those who violate the league’s updated COVID19 protocols. The league told teams in a memo on Monday that players who are not substituting or preparing to enter the field of play and are not wearing their helmets will be required to wear a mask or a double-layered gaiter on the sideline, starting this week. Play-callers now must wear a mask even if they have a face shield. Postgame interactions between players and staff will be limited. Also, players and team personnel must wear masks and may briefly greet opponents after games. “Players who fail to wear masks on the sidelines will be subject to discipline,” the league said in its memo.
Outbreak at a Windsor School:
A COVID19 outbreak at a Windsor elementary school now involves 29 students and nine staff. Frank W. Begley Elementary has been closed since Nov. 17 and students and staff were asked to isolate for 14 days. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit says the entire school population is at high-risk for exposure to COVID19. The health unit says it is working closely with the school and the Greater Essex County District School Board to manage the outbreak and limit the spread of infection.
The Mayor of Windsor Apologizes For Breaking the Rules:
The mayor of Windsor says he will donate to a local charity after admitting to breaking COVID19 rules while dining out. Mayor Drew Dilkens says he dined at a restaurant with seven others last week and called it an unfortunate error. Restrictions in place at the time limited indoor dining to six people. Dilkins apologized to city council, saying he will donate $750 dollars, the amount of a typical fine for the infraction, to a charity.
Outbreak Declared at Nipissing University:
A COVID19 outbreak has been declared among the athletic community at Nipissing University after six people tested positive for the virus. North Bay Parry Sound District Health says the individuals interacted with others at the university gym and in the community. The unit says those who’ve tested positive do not live on campus and the outbreak does not impact other university buildings. People who have attended social gatherings with those affected at the northern Ontario university are advised to monitor for symptoms.
Quebec Lays Out a Few Rules for Christmas:
The Quebec government has set out rules for Christmas gatherings amid the pandemic. It says people will only be able to attend two holiday events during a four-day window next month. Premier Francois Legault’s government initially announced it would permit gatherings of a maximum of 10 people over four days between December 24th and 27th. Legault is also advising against travelling anywhere.
Controversial Fines Handed Down in Manitoba:
Premier Brian Pallister says his government has fined a hotel owner over $1,200 dollars for breaking COVID19 restrictions. The Corona Hotel is in western Manitoba. Pallister says the rural hotel had its bar open recently and people were playing pool. But owner Bob Fuglsang, says it was only he and five relatives in the room and that his young grandson was playing with balls on the pool table.
Alberta Imposes New Restrictions:
As the fight to contain skyrocketing COVID19 cases continues in Alberta, the province has rolled out a series of new restrictions. Included among the new measures is a ban on social gatherings at home, as well as a mandatory mask order for indoor workplaces in Edmonton, Calgary and their neighbouring communities. Starting Friday, businesses will remain open at reduced capacity or by appointment only. Mike Parker, union head for paramedics and other health professionals, described the measures as inadequate and suggested Premier Jason Kenney tried to find the middle ground and failed.
Here is Premier Jason Kenney’s news conference from yesterday:
Saskatchewan Opposition Calls for a Taskforce:
Saskatchewan’s Opposition NDP demands Premier Scott Moe convene a multi-sector task force to deal with the province’s rising spread of COVID19. Leader Ryan Meili says in a letter that the Saskatchewan Party government’s approach isn’t working. Health officials are reporting 175 new daily cases of COVID19, with 105 people in hospital. Moe himself is in isolation because he came into contact with an infected person recently.
Newer and Younger Cases Popping Up in New Brunswick:
Five new cases of COVID19 have been recorded in New Brunswick, and health officials say four of them involve people under the age of 30. Doctor Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says just over half of the province’s 93 active cases involve people 30-years-old or younger. There are also a staggering number of people — about a thousand — currently self-isolating. She says the province’s caseload is expected to continue climbing.
The Nunavut Lockdown:
As Nunavut heads into its second week of a territory-wide lockdown to stop the spread of COVID19, some community groups are already seeing the effects of its restrictions. Wade Thorhaug, executive director of the Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in Iqaluit, says he’s concerned people who need shelter no longer have a place to stay. He notes that a lot of people in the community are housing insecure and don’t necessarily have a place to safely spend the lockdown. Nunavut has 142 active cases of COVID19.
Cases Climbing in BC:
COVID19 cases continue to climb in BC, with officials tallying 941 new infections. The Fraser Health Authority yesterday announced that 55 patients and 40 staff at Burnaby General Hospital had tested positive, and most patient admissions to the hospital would be suspended. The latest peak in numbers comes as health officials ordered dance studios, yoga studios and other indoor physical activity spaces to suspend operations as new guidance is developed.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Yesterday Public Health of Waterloo Region confirmed 57 new COVID19 cases. That brings the number of active cases to 385. The hospitalization number also increased sharply yesterday. There are now 24 cases in the Region’s hospitals, including 10 in the ICU.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health added 12 new cases to their dashboard yesterday and 2 more hospitalizations, for a total of 3. There are now 141 active cases. Once again, Wellington lead the public health unit for new infections.
Waterloo Region Infections:
- A student at Jean Steckle Public School has tested positive for COVID19. They were last in the school last Thursday. It’s the first case at that school.
- A student has tested positive at Preston High School. There were no exposure risks at the school.
- A staff member at St. Bernadette Catholic Elementary School in Kitchener has tested positive.
- A staff member at Alpine Public School in Kitchener tested positive for COVID19.
- A student at Clemens Mill Public School in Cambridge has tested positive.
- A student at Preston Public Elementary School in Cambridge has been confirmed with COVID19.
- A staff member at Woodland Park Public School in Cambridge tested positive.
- A case has been identified at St. Michael Catholic Elementary School in Cambridge. It’s not clear if it is a staff member or student.
- A student at Janet Metcalfe Public School in Kitchener has tested positive. They were last in the building Nov. 20. That is the school’s second case this year.
- A student at KCI in Kitchener has tested positive. The student was last in the building Nov. 20.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot