Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Wednesday December 16, 2020

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Wednesday, December 16, 2020:

  • There have been 144,396 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 2,275 (or 1.6 per cent) from the previous day. There are 123,373 people recovered from the virus while 3,992 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 7,059,300 of which 45,770 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 475,214. The country has 13,659 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, 668 in British Columbia, 744 in Alberta, 98 in Saskatchewan, 508 in Manitoba, 3,992 in Ontario, 7,571 in Quebec, eight in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit region added 10 cases on Tuesday to bring the total confirmed cases to 1,134, of which 333 are active (seven less than Monday) and 760 are resolved (17 more than Monday). There were two in Prescott-Russell, five in SD&G and three in Cornwall. The number of deaths is 32 (number was corrected from 31 around 9 p.m. Monday night). Six people are in hospital, including one in ICU. There are 13 active outbreaks (includes nursing and retirement homes, lodging homes, group homes, schools and daycare). Testing increased by 617 to 88,987. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 675 cases (157 active), SD&G 228 cases (101 active), Cornwall 193 cases (73 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 38 cases (two active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added four new cases on Tuesday to bring the regional total to 607 confirmed cases, of which 61 are active (three fewer than Monday) and 493 are recovered (seven more than Monday). The number of deaths to date is 53. There is one active institutional outbreak (child care at St. Edward’s School). The community case breakdown is: Leeds-Grenville East (five active), Leeds-Grenville Central (eight active), Leeds-Grenville West (36 active), Lanark County West (eight active) and Lanark County East (three active).
  • Three more COVID-19 cases at Cornwall and SD&G schools were announced by the Upper Canada District School Board. There is one each at Cornwall’s TR Leger Campus, Morrisburg Public School and Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School. In all cases the schools remain open and schedules are regular. In its afternoon update, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says there are 41 active cases in 20 schools in the region (his announcement was before the school board announcement).
  • EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says he recommended to Ontario Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Williams that the region remain in Orange-Restrict next week despite the number of cases jumping locally. Even though the case count per week is in the Red-Control territory, the virus reproductive rate (R0) and the positivity rate are in the Orange-Restrict zone (R0: 1.5 last week, 1.14 this week; Positivity: 2.2 per cent last week, 2.3 per cent this week). Roumeliotis says he explained to Williams that the cases are largely connecting to an isolated cluster at a boarding school in South Glengarry.
  • Roumeliotis says a standing order is coming this week for big box “multi-department” stores to regulate crowd control as the health unit has received “multiple complaints.” He explained that while a building can have an overall capacity, there are problems with crowding in specific sections in a store. During the recent provincial inspection, over 250 businesses were inspected and two-thirds of them were compliant. For the ones that weren’t, “most were corrected on the spot,” Roumeliotis said.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 168,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected before the end of this month. Delivery would happen two days after Health Canada approval. There’s also 200,000 more doses of the Pfizer shot coming next week.
  • Approximately 1,500 people in Toronto and 1,500 in Ottawa will receive the first COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines this week, Premier Ford said Tuesday. The second dose will be in 21 days.
  • Quebec Premier Francois Legault has announced a “holiday pause” to stop the spread of coronavirus. It will mean essential items will only be sold in stores from Christmas Day to Jan. 11 and office employees will be remote working from Dec. 17 to Jan. 11. Quebec had another 1,741 infections Tuesday and 39 more deaths reported.
  • Alberta and B.C. health officials have been the latest provinces to give the COVID-19 vaccine. A respiratory therapist in Edmonton and an ICU nurse in Calgary were the first to get the needle.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency is setting up a process where people who are working from home because of the pandemic can claim up to $400 in office expenses. Employees will be able to claim it on their personal income taxes as a deduction.

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