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Canada COVID-19: Ontario reports more than 4,000 new cases; Ottawa hospitalizations, ICU cases at record levels

21:55  09 april  2021
21:55  09 april  2021 Source:   ottawacitizen.com

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  • Ottawa hospitals preparing to postpone non-urgent surgeries as COVID-19 cases continue to rise
  • School closure to in-person learning following spring break is more likely than not, Dr. Vera Etches says
  • Ottawa sees 242 new cases, one new death

Ontario reported 4,249 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, a high not seen since the peak of the second wave in early January.

This total includes 1,218 infections in Toronto, 762 in Peel, 532 in York Region, and 247 in Durham. The seven-day average now sits at 3,256 cases reported daily, provincewide.

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There have been 378,339 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario since the pandemic began.

There were also 18 more deaths reported, bringing the death toll to 7,512.

When it comes to active cases, Peel is currently the hardest hit, with 419 per 100,000 people. That’s followed by Toronto (353), York (247), Middlesex-London (243), Ottawa (231), and Durham (226).

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Ontario has risen by 75, to a total of 1,492. Of those, 552 are in ICU (up 27 in the last day) and 359 are on ventilators (up 28). Ontario has never seen this many COVID-19 patients in ICU beds.

In other health units in the Ottawa area: Eastern Ontario, which includes Cornwall, had 64 new cases, Kingston had 18 new cases, Leeds, Grenville reported an increase of 1,359 and Renfrew County and District had 12 new cases.

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Meanwhile, more than 105,000 vaccine doses were administered in the last day. The total number of doses administered in the province is nearing three million, while more than 328,000 people are fully vaccinated.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford got the jab Wednesday morning (AstraZeneca, at an Etobicoke pharmacy.) He urged everyone who’s eligible to do the same – the provincial booking line is 1-888-943-3900, for those who can’t or prefer not to use the online system.

“We have come so far, but we need to continue to stay the course,” said Ford, in a post-vaccination statement. “Over the next several weeks, please stay home unless you need essentials or you can’t work from home, and continue following the public health guidelines. By working together we can keep everyone safe.”

Latest COVID-19 news in Ottawa

Ottawa-area hospitals are preparing to postpone non-urgent surgeries as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

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Pediatric surgeries will continue as planned, the hospitals said in a release. CHEO is not included in the planning.

“Of course, patients throughout the region will continue to receive urgent and emergency surgeries and care,” the hospitals said.

Hospitals are evaluating exactly how this will be implemented in their respective hospitals.

“Staff will notify patients impacted by this as soon as possible, and ensure that they have all the information they need regarding their care.”

Meanwhile, a school closure to in-person learning following the spring break is more likely than not, Dr. Vera Etches said Friday.

It’s a decision with serious implications for children and families, she acknowledged.

“My heart is heavy because I know how important schools are to the health of the community.”

The overall number of school outbreaks has remained fairly stable, it’s still a minority of schools affected by people testing positive, and the situation with COVID transmission in schools is not out of control, she said,

But the context has changed this week – the level of COVID-19 in the community has continued to grow to unprecedented levels. And the new provincial stay-at-home order closes the places – like malls – where children and youth might have gathered if not in school, she said.

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“We need to do everything we can to turn this curve,” said Etches. Her team will continue to review the situation, and confirm a decision about school closures by Wednesday at the latest.

Etches also said she will be issuing a letter of instruction to all employers, businesses, organizations permitted to be open, with additional measures they must take to reduce the spread of COVID-19, starting Saturday at 5 a.m.

These will include increased reporting requirements when people test positive in connection to a workplace, and requirements to actively monitor and manage capacity limits as well as physical distancing and masking in line-ups outside. Details will be posted on the OPH website.

Ottawa Public Health reported 242 new cases of COVID-19 Friday and one additional COVID-19 death, bringing the total number of local lives lost to the disease to 471 and the number of cases to 19,030 since the pandemic began.

There are now 71 Ottawans hospitalized with COVID-19, with 24 in ICU, both record highs.

Five new outbreaks were reported at Ottawa schools/child care centres Friday, bringing the total number of ongoing outbreaks in this category to 15.

Between April 6 and April 8, four elementary schools, two secondary schools and one child care facility have seen outbreaks of the virus declared.

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Two new community outbreaks were also reported Friday.

There were no new reported outbreaks in the healthcare, congregate living categories, where there are 18 ongoing outbreaks.

In other news, Ottawa residents aged 50 and older whose postal codes starts with K1T, K1V, and K2V are now eligible to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments through the provincial system – but the city has cautioned there isn’t enough supply for everyone in this group to snag a slot right away.

In a news release Friday, the city told residents that appointments at community vaccination clinics are expected to quickly book up until April 30. But as the province passes more vaccines to Ottawa and updates its booking system, appointments for after that date will become available.

You can sign up for a city email list to get notified when bookings re-open, or follow the city or Ottawa Public Health social media channels.

Meanwhile, the city said it’s continuing to plan pop-up clinics for a longer list of locally-identified high-priority neighbourhoods. According to the city, mobile and pop-up clinics are in the works for residents and essential workers in these neighbourhoods as well as adult home health care recipients. More info will be available soon, they say.

Non-frontline health care workers in Ottawa, including those working remotely or who don’t require PPE at work, can now add their names to a waiting list for COVID-19 vaccination – but that doesn’t mean they should, according to local officials.

“To help protect those in our community who are most at risk, we ask health care workers who are able to work remotely to consider waiting until they are eligible based on age, postal code or other factors, so that those in the most impacted communities in Ottawa can be vaccinated sooner,” said the city in a Friday press release.

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“Those who must work on-site or whose role is to provide critical COVID-19 health care are encouraged to pre-register.”

So-called “pre-registration” remains open to those health-care workers in provincially-designated “highest,” “very high” and “high” priority categories for vaccination, in addition to its expansion to those classified as “moderate priority” (i.e. non-frontline).

Health-care workers who complete the pre-registration form are sequenced according to risk and priority, according to OPH. They will be emailed or called with booking info when a vaccination appointment becomes available – which could take weeks, depending on sequencing.

Ottawa’s social services department reported Friday that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19 at the city’s Dr. E. Couture child care centre.

The employee tested positive April 8, and their last day of work was April 6.

In consultation with Ottawa Public Health, the Couture preschool program will be closing for at least 14 days.

The toddler program can remain open at this time, officials said.

There has been no COVID-19 transmission within the Centre identified thus far.

Latest COVID-19 news from Quebec

Quebec reported 1,683 new cases of COVID-19 and eight more deaths on Friday.

It’s the second consecutive day with more than 1,600 cases. The seven-day rolling average has reached 1,345. It has not been that high since late January.

There were 120 new cases in the Outaouais, for a total of 8,713. Three more deaths were reported, bringing the toll to 178

Ontario extends stay-home order to six weeks and bans most outdoor gatherings

  Ontario extends stay-home order to six weeks and bans most outdoor gatherings Ontario Premier Doug Ford has extended the stay-at-home order by two weeks and has imposed further restrictions on outdoor activities and retail in the hopes of flattening of the COVID-19 surge in the province. The announcement follows COVID-19 modelling released by the province science advisors Friday, which showed that the province could approach up 20,000 causes a day if strong measures aren’t imposed. Ontario’s science advisers say a six-week stay-at-home order and a vaccination rate of at least 100,000 doses a day is the only way to curb the COVID-19 third wave surge.

Quebec reported three more people in hospital, for a total of 569 and 134 in ICU, up two.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 323,094 cases and 10,726 deaths linked to COVID-19. A total of 300,471 people who have contracted the disease have since recovered.

Quebec set a single day-record for COVID-19 vaccinations Thursday with 69,148 doses administered, including more than 16,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca shots.

There have been 1,754,749 doses administered.

Authorities said Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses were administered to those 55 and older on Thursday, the first day the province operated special walk-in clinics offering the vaccine.

Late Thursday, Quebec announced the first 13 companies that will operate clinics in their workplaces; each site will vaccinate up to 25,000 people between May and August.

The companies include National Bank, Bell, and Groupe CH, owner of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team, and should be operational by May 1.

Latest COVID-19 news nationally

Canada’s chief public health officer said the race between vaccines and variants is at “a critical point.”

According to Dr. Theresa Tam, case counts are following a “strong resurgence trajectory” forecast in modelling, two weeks ago.

“It is clear that we need stronger control to combat variants of concern that are driving rapid epidemic growth in many areas of the country.”

Over the past week, an average of over 6,800 new cases and 30 deaths were reported daily across the country, and the number of people experiencing severe and critical illness continues to rise, said Tam.

On average, more than 2,500 COVID-19 patients were being treated in hospitals each day – up seven per cent compared to the previous week. Of these patients, 860 were in intensive care units. That’s 23 per cent higher than the week prior. The number of new variant cases, meanwhile, has more than doubled over the past week.

“All of these trends tell us that even as vaccines are bringing us closer to end his crisis, we cannot afford to give this virus an inch,” said Tam. “In areas with epidemic growth, the only way to get out of this crisis is the hard way.”

That means staying home as much as possible, said Tam, and consistently maintaining physical distance and masking when going out is necessary.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke directly to young Canadians Friday, as increasing numbers are admitted to hospital with COVID-19:

“There are more contagious and more serious variants out there. Even if you’re younger, you can get sick very, very quickly. Or you can give the virus to someone you love, who can get very sick,” said Trudeau.

“I know you’ve already done so much and sacrificed so much, but we just need you to hang in there a little bit longer.”

Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa:

ottawapublichealth.ca/en/shared-content/assessment-centres

Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre: Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre 300 Coventry Rd.: Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, appointment only.

The Moodie Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Heron Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre: Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Howard Darwin Centennial Arena on Merivale Road: The site will remain open for at least two weeks, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for anyone older than four. Those wanting to be tested must make an appointment by calling 1-877-232-8828, a line scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Ottawa COVID-19 testing data: ottawatestingupdate.ca

Ontario vaccination portal: covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine

Call centre: 1-888-999-6488. The Vaccine Information Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is capable of providing assistance in 300 languages.

Vaccine eligibility in Ottawa: secureforms.ottawapublichealth.ca/vaccines/COVID-19-Vaccine-Screening-Tool

To book a pharmacy vaccine: Eligible adults aged 55 and over (if 60 or older as of the day of vaccination or, if will be 60 or older in 2021) who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy

Related

-With files from the Canadian Press and Postmedia

Ontario extends stay-home order to six weeks and bans most outdoor gatherings .
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has extended the stay-at-home order by two weeks and has imposed further restrictions on outdoor activities and retail in the hopes of flattening of the COVID-19 surge in the province. The announcement follows COVID-19 modelling released by the province science advisors Friday, which showed that the province could approach up 20,000 causes a day if strong measures aren’t imposed. Ontario’s science advisers say a six-week stay-at-home order and a vaccination rate of at least 100,000 doses a day is the only way to curb the COVID-19 third wave surge.

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