#Ontario; #ThirdWaveOfCovid19; #YoungerAdults
Ontario/Canadian-Media: With Ontario reporting 1,745 new cases of COVID-19 cases, one of the highest case counts logged in past 6 weeks, medical experts across Ontario are increasingly concerned that the province has entered the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Image credit: Facebook page
Another 39 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant have been logged by Ontario today.
Another serious concern of these health experts is the anecdotal evidence of recent serious infections among younger adults with increasing vulnerability of the younger population as opposed to previously held notions that the elderly are more vulnerable.
The shift in the direction of the pandemic towards younger adults has been attributed by Ontario's Clinicians and epidemiologists to multiple factors including the timely unavailability of Covid-19 vaccines for vulnerable populations, thereby increasing the vulnerability of the younger adults.
After Premier Doug Ford got reports of younger adults falling ill, Ford said on Thursday, "I've heard some people say it's a race, the virus versus
Seven-day average of new infections now stands at 1,480, up from 1,269 last Friday and 1,063 two weeks ago.
Hospitalizations also rose to 759 on Friday, up from 730 one day earlier and 676 last week. There are now 309 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health, up from 282 last week.
#Ontario; #LongTermHomes; #ViolationOfInfectionControlMeasures; #Covid19Pandemic
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Violation of crucial infection prevention and control measures by Ontario long-term care homes were still being caught by the inspectors even after ten months into the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Ontario Long Term Care Homes. Image credit: www.oltc.ca
Some of these violations included improper screening, failure to take temperatures of visitors, or not ensuring they were wearing masks as they entered or left the premises, staff being unaware of the correct personal protective equipment to wear and lack of hygiene while taking care of residents; and hand sanitizer not being available in all areas of the home.
According to a CBC News data investigation 1 in 12 long-term care facilities in Ontario, between June 2020 and January 2021 were caught breaking COVID-specific government directives, many of these occurred during or after outbreaks.
#Ontario; #Covid19Increase; #Covid19Variants
Ontario/Canadian-Media: For the first time in more than six weeks, Ontario reported another 1,138 cases of COVID-19 infections today compared to last three days infections of 1,117, 10,071 and 10,050 respectively.
Covid19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
The new cases today include 339 in Toronto, 204 in Peel Region, 106 in York Region, and 44 in Thunder Bay.
The seven-day average of new daily cases in Ontario increased for a fifth straight day to 1,099.
Ontario also reported a total of 449 cases involving the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, 54 more than there were in yesterday's update.
Two weeks ago, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of Ontario's science advisory group said projections indicated more contagious variants of COVID-19 were spreading.
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Vaccine rollout details were provided on Feb 19 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and General Rick Hillier (retired), Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force during a news conference.
Doug Ford. Image credit: Twitter handle
Ford urged the federal government partners to accelerate receipt of more vaccines to better protect people to defeat this deadly virus.
"This week we reached an incredible milestone in our fight against the virus with the administration of over half a million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine...This upcoming increase in vaccine supply will allow us to expand our vaccination efforts for Phase One priority groups further as we prepare for Phase Two," said Elliott
An online booking system is being developed to support Phase Two of vaccination roll-out expected to begin in April 2021. And for those who are unable to book an appointment through the online tool, a customer service desk will be made available. All Details will be provided over the coming weeks.
"As we prepare for a broader rollout in Phase Two, we ask Ontarians to stay the course and follow public health guidance to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus to help save lives," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
Commending Ontario's health care workers for their exceptional job of completing the first 500,000 vaccinations said General (Ret'd) Rick Hillier said, "and I want them to know that they are the real heroes of this important work."
During vaccination rollout all Ontarians are advised to stay at home as much as possible and continue following regional public health measures, restrictions, and advice to protect the most vulnerable populations and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
#Ontario; #Covid19Pamdemic; #StateOfEmergency; #StayAtHomeOrder
Ontario/Canadian-Media: New restrictions including provincial stay-at-home order were announced jointly by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in a news conference on Jan 12 .
Image: State of Emergency declared in Ontario. Image credit: Twitter handle of Doug Ford
"Our province is in crisis," Premier Doug Ford said in a news conference this afternoon and added, "The system is on the brink of collapse. It's on the brink of being overwhelmed."
A provincial stay-at-home order would be effective Thursday at 12:01 a.m., said the Ontario government requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes.
Ontario's health-care system is seen to be on the verge of being overwhelmed, the new COVID-19 modeling revealed today.
Other measures enacted are: limiting five people in social gatherings; mandatory face coverings in the indoor areas of businesses or organizations that are open, face covering outdoors not having physical distancing more than two meters; opening of all non-essential retail stores, including hardware stores, alcohol retailers, and those offering curbside pickup or delivery, no earlier than 7 a.m. and close no later than 8 p.m; the restricted hours of operation not applicable to stores that sell food, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and restaurants for takeout or delivery; restriction of non-essential construction including below-grade construction, exempting survey.
"Community transmission is widespread. It's in our hospitals, it's in our long-term care homes, and it's in our workplaces," Health Minister Christine Elliott said today in the news conference and added,
"Schools in hotspots may not resume," Elliott said.
"We're at a dangerous point," said Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, at a morning briefing in Toronto, CBC News reported.
More deaths in Ontario in long-term care are forecasted in the pandemic's second wave compared to the first.
Since Jan 1 there have been 198 deaths of long-term care residents and two staffers.
A new, more easily transmissible variant of the virus first identified in the U.K that could begin spreading rapidly in the province, warned Public health experts.
"We are in a serious situation, so we need more serious measures put in place," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer of health, at the briefing."
The seven-day average of new daily cases fell slightly to 3,523 with a test positivity rate of 7.8 percent.
#Ontario; #Covid19Increase; #TPH; #newModelling; #OntarioConsideringCurfew; #HospitalsOverwhelmed
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario's reporting of 4,249 new cases of COVID-19 today also includes about 450 were attributable to a data upload delay from Toronto Public Health, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in his news conference today promising new modelling coming early next week.
Covid-19 pandemic. Image credit: Pixaby
"We're in a desperate situation, and when you see the modelling, you'll fall out of your chair," Ford said.
Of the new cases, 1,382 were reported in Toronto, 691 in Peel Region, 427 in York Region, 213 in Niagara Region and 184 in Windsor-Essex pushing the new seven-day average to 3,394, also a pandemic high for the province.
While taking multiple questions today about the situation in the province's long-term care homes, where deaths continue to mount Ford said,
"It's heartbreaking. It's frustrating as well, with the long-term care homes."
It was announced on Thursday by Education Minister Stephen Lecce that while elementary students in southern Ontario will not start in-class learning until at least Jan. 25, as test positivity rates for COVID-19 rise for adults and children alike.
With the uncontrollable rise in the Covid 19 infections, Ontarians are considering curfew as one of the tools, said Dr. David Williams, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Pandemic circumstances are moving at "the pace of lightning," Ford had said Wednesday.
Officials in Ottawa are waiting to see what decision Ontario makes.
Ottawa's medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, adding discussions about methods to quickly lower case counts are important, Etches said, though "not necessarily the curfew."
In his news conference this morning, Ford warned hospitals around the province to prepare for a potential influx of patients in coming weeks.
Meanwhile, late Thursday, CBC News obtained a memo from the president and CEO of Ontario Health, Matthew Anderson, telling hospitals -- projected to have more than 500 patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units and more than 1,700 COVID-19 in other beds by Jan. 24 -- to prepare for transferring dozens and potentially hundreds of patients across and even out of regions.
#Ontario; #Covid19RapidSurge; #Deaths; #HospitalsOverburdened
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario has reported a rapid surge of new single-day record of 3,519 COVID-19 cases and 89 deaths, pushing the seven-day average of new daily cases to a new high of 3,141, and a test positivity rate of 6.1 percent, Ontario's health officials said.
Ontario. Image credit: Pixaby
Of the total, 891 new cases are being reported in Toronto, 568 in Peel, 457 in York Region, 208 in Windsor-Essex County, 175 in Waterloo, and 174 in Durham, Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted.
With 89 deaths reported today pushed the official toll to 4,856, with nearly 76 percent of all deaths in the province being residents in long-term care.
Meanwhile, the number of people in hospital with confirmed cases of COVID-19 have also reached new highs of 1,472, and those being treated in intensive are 363, with about 242 patients require the use of a ventilator, the province said.
Discussions on vaccination rollout would be held today by Trudeau and premiers.
But premiers, including Ontario’s Doug Ford, have said the real concern lies with Ottawa’s ability to get vaccines to the provinces in the days and weeks ahead.
#Ontario; #Covid19Vaccination; #LongTermCareHomes
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Amidst pressure to speed up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Ontario government has promised to get all nursing home residents, staff, and essential caregivers in hot zones vaccinated by Jan 21, media reports said.
Nursing homes. Image credit: National Institute of Aging
1,024 residents in total were vaccinated on Monday, 850 on Tuesday and 750 Wednesday, said spokesperson Erica Di Maio in an email, Toronto Star news reported.
All eligible residents in the long-term care and retirement homes supported by East Toronto hospital have got their first shots.
The first round of doses of a two-part vaccine for all eligible residents across 22 homes at Michael Garron Hospital was completed on Wednesday.
The second shot is scheduled for about a month after the first.
The vaccination at St. Clair O’Connor Community Long-Term Care Home, which was hit hard in the first wave and lost eight people, was also completed.
The target date for when residents of long-term care homes outside of Toronto, Peel, York, and Windsor-Essex would be vaccinated depends on supplies from manufacturers, said the province.
#OntarioSlowRateOfVaccination; #SteadyFlowOfVaccines; #IncreasePaceOfVaccination
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Ontario had been severely criticized by its slow vaccination rate, currently among the lowest in the country on a per capita basis, said provincial health authorities and have called for a "greater sense of urgency" in administering doses since it has only used about a third of its vaccine supply.
Covid 19 Vaccination. Image credit: Unsplash
"Now is the time, with the new year upon us, to really accelerate and that's certainly what I'll be talking with the premiers about on Thursday — how the federal government can support and help [with] getting vaccines even more quickly out to Canadians," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, citing a planned first ministers' meeting call.
Meanwhile, a plan had been unveiled by the Ontario government to vaccinate all long-term care residents, workers and essential caregivers in the hard-hit areas of Toronto, Peel, York and Windsor-Essex by January 21.
A pilot project is currently underway in Ottawa, said the officials today, and protocols will be developed this week to explore how the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may be brought into long-term care facilities to accelerate its delivery.
Some Indigenous communities will begin to receive doses of the Moderna Vaccine this week.
A collaboration between Ornge, Ontario's air ambulance service, and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation will see doses distributed to 31 mainly remote communities in the coming weeks.
Health-care workers administering the immunizations will be vaccinated beforehand, officials said.
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said Canada will receive 208,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine each week for the next three weeks, while 171,000 Moderna shots are expected to arrive on January 11.
"We're ready for a sustained tempo of vaccines throughout the month of January," Fortin said. "We're working diligently to ensure a continuous and predictable flow of vaccines."
After administering the first dose of the vaccine, most of the provinces have have stockpiled the second dose to ensure they have enough supply on hand.
But since provinces can count on a specific number of doses arriving each week for the foreseeable future, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer and asked them to start to vaccinate as many people as possible.
"I think provinces are looking to not hold back that second dose because they want to more rapidly immunize the population with that first shot," Tam said.
#Ontario; #SteepRiseInCovid19Continues; #StudentsRetunToOnlineLearning; #ComprehensiveTestingStrategy
Ontario/Canadian-Media: Another 3,270 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Ontario today resulting in the seven-day average of daily cases approaching 3,000 for the first time, media reports said.
Ontario. Image credit: Wikipedia
Ontario's total in new Covid19 cases includes 917 in Toronto, 581 in Peel Region, 389 in York Region, 246 in Windsor-Essex, 131 in Ottawa, 126 in Waterloo Region, and 122 in Durham Region.
219 long-term care homes, more than one-third of Ontario's 626 facilities are currently facing outbreaks of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, as thousands of Ontario elementary and secondary school students are returning today to remote learning, the Official Opposition is calling for widespread testing in schools.
In an open letter to parents released on the weekend, Ontario's Education Minister Stephen Lecce said "schools are not a source of rising community transmission," according to medical experts. He said a province-wide lockdown imposed on Dec. 26 has helped to ensure that schools remain safe, CBC News reported.
Being unaware of how many students in publicly funded schools of Ontario are asymptomatic, the NDP's education critic Marit Stiles said in an interview with CBC Toronto that a "comprehensive testing strategy" is needed, CBC News reports said.