Coronavirus | Latest News and Updates
Latest news and updates on the global coronavirus pandemic. Keep up-to-date on numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, analysis of the government's response and other stories from the Canada and around the world.
COVID-19 Around the World
- The Canadian Press
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern): 3:15 p.m. Saskatchewan is reporting 240 new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say another resident has died, a senior who was 80 and older. The Ministry of Health reports 202 people as being in hospital because of the virus, with 32 patients receiving intensive care. So far, the province has given more than 33,000 shots of vaccine. Officials say the pace of shots is starting to slow because the province is running low on doses. The province expects to use its last ones this week. --- 2:05 p.m. New Brunswick is reporting another COVID-related death, bringing the total number of deaths in the province attributed to COVID-19 to 14. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says the newest death involved a resident in their 70s who lived at a long-term care facility in Saint John. She says another recently deceased resident of that facility who was COVID-positive died for reasons unrelated to the novel coronavirus. New Brunswick is reporting another 27 new infections today. --- 2 p.m. Public health units in Ontario are beefing up infection control measures after detecting a more contagious strain of COVID-19 in their regions. Toronto Public Health is asking congregate care, educational and other group settings to review their COVID-19 protocols as the U.K. variant appears in the region. Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Health has found a case of the variant and is advising anyone who recently travelled outside the region to consider taking an asymptomatic COVID-19 test. Simcoe Muskoka District Health has confirmed at least seven cases of the variant and it’s increasing testing at long-term care homes dealing with outbreaks that are suspected to have cases of the new strain. --- 1:40 p.m. Manitoba is reporting 113 new COVID-19 cases and five deaths. More than half the cases are in the province's north. The provincial government says it may have to postpone some second-dose vaccine appointments soon, as a result of the disruptions to the supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. --- 1:05 p.m. Nunavut is reporting two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the territory's active case count to 17. All of the new cases are in Arviat, a community of about 2,800 people and the centre of Nunavut's original COVID-19 outbreak. The community, and territory, had been COVID-free since Jan. 2. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says it's still unclear if the new cases in Arviat are connected to the original outbreak or came from outside the community. There have been 280 cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut since the start of the pandemic. To date, 4,458 people have received first doses of the Moderna vaccine in Nunavut. --- 11:25 a.m. Ontario is pausing COVID-19 vaccinations of long-term care staff and essential caregivers so it can focus on administering shots to all nursing home residents amid a shortage of doses. The province is currently dealing with a delay in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with no shots of that vaccine expected to arrive this week. The government says the shift in vaccination focus means all long-term care residents, high-risk retirement home residents and First Nations elder care residents will get their first dose of vaccine by Feb. 5. That's sooner than the previous goal of Feb. 15, but the earlier plan had included the vaccination of long-term care staff and caregivers. --- 11 a.m. Quebec is reporting 1,203 new cases of COVID-19 and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 12 that occurred in the past 24 hours. Health officials said today hospitalizations dropped by six, to 1,321, and 217 people were in intensive care, a decrease of two. Hospitalizations have decreased by 179 over the past six reporting periods. Quebec has reported 254,836 infections and 9,521 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, with 228,887 cases considered recovered. --- 10:35 a.m. There are 1,958 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Ontario today and 43 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 727 of the new cases are in Toronto, 365 in Peel Region, and 157 in York Region. She says nearly 36,000 tests were completed since Sunday's report. Ontario also reports that 2,448 more cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
- Yahoo Finance
Moderna's CEO says the company is launching new studies of COVID-19 vaccines is future-proofing against virus variants.
Saskatchewan health officials are reporting 240 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, which is below the province's seven-day average and marks the third day in a row below 300 new cases. Meanwhile, Premier Scott Moe and the province's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, are slated to address current public health guidelines on Tuesday — three days before the current rules are set to expire. Tuesday's update will also touch on the province's COVID-19 vaccine delivery plan, according to a note from the government's executive council. 1 new death Health officials recorded one new COVID-related death on Monday, bringing the province's total death toll to 254. The person who died was from the north central region. The new cases announced Monday are from the following regions: Far North West (17), Far North Central (2), Far North East (3), North West (33), North Central (12), North East (36), Saskatoon (49), Central West (5), Central East (30), Regina (42), South Central (2) and South East (6). The seven-day average of daily new cases is 265, or 21.6 new cases per 100,000 people. Thirty-two people are under intensive hospital care. Just under 2,200 tests were processed on Sunday. Vaccine delivery update Health workers administered 304 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, even as the province seemingly faced the end of its current vaccine supply due to Canada not receiving any new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines this week. The province's health ministry said it managed to administer Sunday's doses by "drawing extra doses from vials of vaccine received" — a practice it previously discussed. A breakdown of how many doses have been received in each region is listed on the government's website.
- The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario is pausing COVID-19 vaccinations of long-term care staff and essential caregivers so that it can focus on administering the shots to all nursing home residents amid a shortage of doses. The province announced the change of focus for its vaccination plan on Monday as it deals with delays in deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with no shots expected to arrive this week. Premier Doug Ford said the shift will mean some of the most vulnerable seniors will receive the first dose of the vaccine by Feb. 5, early than initially planned. "If the past week has taught us anything, it's that we can't take vaccine shipments for granted," he said. "I want to be clear, we're using every single vaccine we can to protect our most vulnerable. But delivery delays are now forcing us to be careful and cautious." The province will now prioritize vaccinating long-term care, high-risk retirement, and First Nations elder care residents across Ontario. The government had initially promised to complete the vaccination of all long-term care home residents, staff and caregivers by Feb. 15. Health-care workers who have already received their first dose will still get a second, but the province said that shot may be delayed by up to 42 days depending on supply. Ford said Ontario still hopes that to be able to offer immunizations more widely to people across the province this summer. "As soon as we can start receiving regular shipments of vaccines from the federal government, it will be full steam ahead," he said. "My friends, we are ready." The province said Monday it has administered the first dose of the vaccine in 479 long-term care homes, and 540 retirement homes. The government said it expects 26,325 Pfizer-BioNTech doses next week, which are far fewer than the amount originally expected. The federal government has not provided the province with an update on expected vaccine deliveries on Feb. 8 or 15. A total of 286,110 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province so far. The government also said it will reallocate vaccines to ensure that 14 public health units that have not yet received the shot can begin to immunize residents in long-term care this week. Ontario reported 1,958 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and 43 more deaths linked to the virus. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the government to give the first vaccine shot to all long-term care residents by Friday. "We have to do far more than just wait for the vaccine in long-term care homes,” Horwath said in a statement. Liberal health critic John Fraser said the government's plan will save lives, but chided it for moving slowly on the vaccine rollout. "Let’s be clear though, Ontario didn’t need to be in this position," he said in a statement. "Ontario had enough supply to vaccinate all 72,000 long-term care residents by the end of December 2020. Yet our limited vaccine supply has not been getting to those who need it most." Meanwhile, the mayors and chairpersons of municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area asked the province and federal government to take urgent action Monday to address sick pay benefits. The group said that even with the lockdown measures currently in place, large outbreaks are happening in essential workplaces. They said despite the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit from the Government of Canada and employment protection provisions put in place by the province, people continue to come to work with COVID-19. "The best advice from our public health professionals right now is to address this issue with improved sick pay benefits for those with COVID-19," they said in a statement. Opposition critics, labour groups, and health-care workers have called on the province to provide sick-day benefits to help people self-isolate if they are ill. Ford said last week that the federal sick pay benefit is under the jurisdiction of the federal government and the province does not need to duplicate the program. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
The Bradley Barton manslaughter jury trial came to an abrupt halt on Monday morning, when the proceedings were paused while the accused finds out if he has COVID-19. Barton is accused of killing Cindy Gladue in June 2011. The retrial was ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada and was about to begin a third week of testimony in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench. Defence lawyer Dino Bottos told the court his client began to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms after court ended on Friday. He was tested Monday morning. The jurors were notified early Sunday evening not to report to court until further notice. A positive test result could delay the trial for two weeks or longer. "If he's positive and symptomatic, I know that Alberta Health Services will give him guidance directly on how long the quarantine should last for," Justice Stephen Hillier said. "We've got to anticipate some risk that he may need hospitalization." Bottos told the court that if Barton does test positive, he and all staff at his law firm would undergo testing for COVID-19. "The worst case scenario would require my whole firm — lawyers, students and staff to be tested," Bottos told CBC News. "If that were the case, if one of us tested positive, then that would cause another at least 10-day delay before we could proceed. If Barton's test comes back negative, the trial could resume as early as Thursday morning, according to Bottos and Hillier. Bottos said his client was beginning to feel better on Monday morning as he copes with the dual stress of being on trial and illness. "It is difficult," Bottos said. "He's having to relive and be prepared to retell a story that occurred over nine-and-a-half years ago. He's no longer 42. He's now 52 and that's going to be difficult." The trial is scheduled to last up to seven weeks.
- Yahoo Finance
Stocks turned negative ahead of a busy week that will include a slew of corporate earnings results, economic data, Federal Open Market Committee meeting and debate over the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal.
- The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday reinstated COVID-19 travel restrictions on most non-U.S. travellers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. He also added South Africa to the list. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said South Africa was added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation. “This isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki said. The prohibition Biden is reinstating suspends entry to nearly all foreign nationals who have been in any of the countries on the restricted list at any point during the 14 days before their scheduled travel to the U.S. The new requirements go into effect on Tuesday. Top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called Biden's decision to reinstate the travel restrictions—and add South Africa to the list— “prudent” in a round of television interviews Monday. “We have concern about the mutation that’s in South Africa," Fauci told "CBS This Morning." "We’re looking at it very actively. It is clearly a different and more ominous than the one in the U.K., and I think it’s very prudent to restrict travel of noncitizens.” Biden revered an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday. Trump's move was made in conjunction with a new requirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all international travellers to the U.S. obtain a negative test for COVID-19 within three days of boarding their flight. Last week, Biden expanded on the CDC requirement and directed that federal agencies require international travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the U.S. and obtain another negative test to slow the spread of the virus. Those requirements also go into effect Tuesday. The 26 European countries impacted by reinstatement of the ban are part of the border-free Schengen zone. They include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Biden's team had announced that he would reimpose the travel restrictions, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus. The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant — originating in the United Kingdom — has been detected in several states. Fauci said there is “a very slight, modest diminution” of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against those variants but “there’s enough cushion with the vaccines that we have that we still consider them to be effective against both the UK strain and the South Africa strain.” But he warned that more mutations are possible and said scientists are preparing to adapt the vaccines if necessary. “We really need to make sure that we begin, and we already have, to prepare if it’s necessary to upgrade the vaccines,” Fauci said. “We’re already taking steps in that direction despite the fact that the vaccines we have now do work.” Aamer Madhani And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
- Yahoo News Canada
Ontario Premier Doug Ford continues to call on the federal government to increase restrictions for anyone looking to travel into Canada.
- The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — A group of Canadian scientists and health experts is starting a campaign to debunk misinformation about COVID-19.The scientists involved are using the hashtag #ScienceUpFirst to provide information about the ongoing pandemic using science-based evidence on social media.The campaign is lead by Prof. Timothy Caulfield from the University of Alberta's faculty of law and Sen. Stan Kutcher of Nova Scotia.Caulfield says in a news release that misinformation is a threat to the lives of all Canadians and is proven to be one of the factors fuelling COVID-19 infections.He says misinformation about the pandemic is also dissuading Canadians from getting vaccinated.Caulfield is known for taking Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness brand Goop to task in his book ``Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?'' and a Netflix series ``A User's Guide to Cheating Death.''This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
A provincial COVID-19 enforcement blitz targeting big-box stores has resulted in tickets for nearly one in five businesses inspected in Windsor. According to preliminary figures from the Ministry of Labour, 97 businesses in Windsor were visited by inspectors over the weekend and 21 tickets and 26 orders were issued. The province hasn't named any of the businesses that were sanctioned. The inspectors were looking for compliance on COVID-19 public health measures as the province remains under a state of emergency and stay-at-home order. Labour minister Monte McNaughton said on Friday that inspectors would be visiting grocery chains and big box stores to ensure they were following COVID-19 measures around masking, physical distancing and capacity limits. Big-box and grocery stores are allowed to stay open but at a quarter of their usual capacity. The weekend blitz also took place in Ottawa, Niagara and Durham. Overall, the most common violations were inadequate screening for COVID-19, violations of capacity limits and lack of safety plans, according to the ministry. Health unit participates in blitz According to the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), there were 31 local and provincial officers involved in the enforcement, including four from the health unit. The health unit provided a list of 225 local businesses for officers to prioritize based on previous complaints, warnings and violations. Local health officers laid one charge against a convenience store in Windsor for violating capacity limits, and written notices of violation were sent to 12 other businesses. "Additional charges may be issued if compliance is not observed at the reinspection," said WECHU CEO and chief nursing officer Theresa Marentette. It's unclear whether those infractions are included in the provincial numbers.