Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Saturday December 19, 2020

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

  • There have been 151,257 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 2,290 (or 1.5 per cent) from the previous day. There are 129,417 people recovered from the virus while 4,098 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 7,234,913 of which 81,235 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 495,346. The country has 14,040 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, 724 in British Columbia, 815 in Alberta, 107 in Saskatchewan, 547 in Manitoba, 4,098 in Ontario, 7,671 in Quebec, eight in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit region added seven cases Friday to bring the total confirmed cases to 1,171, of which 292 are active (10 fewer than Thursday) and 847 are resolved (17 more than Thursday). There were five new cases in Cornwall and two in Prescott-Russell. The number of deaths is 32. Eight people are in hospital, three more than Thursday, including two in ICU. There are 11 active outbreaks (includes nursing and retirement homes, lodging homes, group homes, schools and daycare). Testing increased by 672 to 90,476. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 698 cases (147 active), SD&G 232 cases (91 active), Cornwall 202 cases (52 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 39 cases (two active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added 12 new cases on Friday to bring the regional total to 628 confirmed cases, of which 50 are active (two fewer than Thursday) and 525 are recovered (14 more than Thursday). The number of deaths to date is 53. There are no institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Leeds-Grenville East (seven active), Leeds-Grenville Central (six active), Leeds-Grenville West (22 active), Lanark County West (10 active) and Lanark County East (five active).
  • Premier Doug Ford will extend lockdowns in Toronto and Peel that were set to expire on Monday. Ford is expected to provide more details at Monday afternoon’s news conference on new measures.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admits it’s going to be a long, hard winter but people need to buckle down as the COVID-19 vaccines roll out. The federal government is pushing drug makers to accelerate shipments of the shots. Locally, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis is hopeful we will see the vaccine here before the end of the month.
  • Trudeau says people who received Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) who were not supposed to are already paying it back. The PM adds that vulnerable people won’t be targeted by the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the COVID-19 virus seems to have reversed the downward trend of opioid related deaths. Recent figures show opioid deaths are at a record high.
  • The Washington Monument in D.C. has been closed after Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who had visited the monument, tested positive this week. Some monument workers, thought to be close contacts, had to quarantine leading to a staff shortage at the U.S. National Park Service tourist attraction.

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