Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday October 2, 2020

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Friday, October 2, 2020:

  • There have been 52,248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 538 (or 1.0 per cent) from the previous day. There are 44,422 people recovered from the virus while 2,851 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 3,963,111 of which 82,473 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 160,535. The country has 9,319 deaths from the virus – 235 in British Columbia, 269 in Alberta, 24 in Saskatchewan, 20 in Manitoba, 2,851 in Ontario, 5,850 in Quebec, two in New Brunswick, three in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • There was one new case in Prescott-Russell Thursday to bring the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region to 268 confirmed positive cases. Of those, 52 are active and 204 are resolved. There are two people in hospital, 12 deaths to date and two institutional outbreaks (nursing homes in Limoges and Embrun). Testing increased by 753 to 59,502. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 171 cases (31 active), SD&G 64 cases (16 active) and Cornwall 33 cases (five active).
  • Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says they are starting to see a trend downward after a peak of roughly 30 cases in the past couple of weeks. He says the number of new cases is going downwards and is hoping it continues. Roumeliotis says they are seeing “clusters” of cases caused by “people not socially distanced” and from “parties.”
  • They won’t show up until the provincial data is uploaded at 10:30 a.m. today but Roumeliotis says two more COVID-19 cases in schools have surfaced. They are at two French Catholic elementary schools – Saint-Joseph in Russell and Saint-Victor in Alfred. Previously, there were two cases at a French Catholic elementary school in Russell and one case at a French Catholic high school in Clarence-Rockland.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit region added another case Thursday to bring the total to 389 confirmed cases. There are 16 cases active and 321 have recovered. The breakdown is: Leeds-Grenville East (10 active), Leeds-Grenville West (three active), Lanark County West (two active) and Lanark County East (one active). Fifty-two people have died during the coronavirus crisis.
  • A pop-up drive-through COVID-19 testing center will happen Saturday (Oct. 3) at the Merrickville Community Center on Read Street from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on a first come, first served basis.
  • Personal support workers (PSWs) will be getting a temporary pay raise as the province deals with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. PSWs in publicly funded long-term, home and community care will get a $3 per hour raise while those in public hospitals will get $2 per hour. The raise, which started Thursday, is expected to run through March 31, 2021. The entire investment is $461 million. There are at least 147,000 eligible workers.
  • There has been some changes to the daily symptom screening questions for school and daycare. The government has added two sets of questions in its screening with regard to fever or cough and runny nose or headache. The symptoms of abdominal pain and pink eye have been removed. You can see more on the ramifications of these screening questions here.
  • There were 933 new cases, 16 more hospitalizations and two deaths reported Thursday in Quebec. Nearly a third of the cases were in the City of Montreal. It was the first day of lockdowns around Montreal and the Quebec City capital region.
  • After Ontario’s adoption, Nova Scotia has indicated it will use the federal government’s COVID Alert app. Manitoba starting using the app Thursday morning. Quebec is expected to be on board within a few days.
  • New York and New Jersey have launched their versions of the COVID Alert app to notify users if they have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Phil Murphy announced the new apps Thursday. They are called COVID Alert NY and COVID Alert NJ and work exactly the same as the Canadian app.
  • Nearly 300 staff at an Alberta hospital are isolating as the number of infections at the Foothills Medical Center in Calgary rise. There have been 35 patients, 29 staff and three visitors who have tested positive. Five patients have died.
  • Alberta’s chief medical officer of health has given the go-ahead for Halloween, even with the risk of COVID-19, and says it’s safe if people take precautions. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says her own kids would never forgive her if she cancelled Halloween.
  • The RCMP says officers with beards who were put on desk duty during the pandemic will be allowed to return to the beat, in some cases. Officers will only be sent out on calls if their risk of exposure is low or there are multiple officers attending. The concerns surround masks not fitting properly for bearded members, which is a health and safety issue for the force.
  • An investigation is underway in Labrador surrounding an essential health care worker from Saskatchewan who was given an exemption to come into the province and has since tested positive for COVID-19. They are required to isolate at home for 14 days when they aren’t working but officials say there are reports she may have gone to a couple of stores.

Have a story or news release related to COVID-19? Send it along for possible inclusion in a future digest on Cornwall Newswatch. Email Please put “COVID-19 Digest” in the subject line.