Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday January 1, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Friday, January 1, 2021:

  • There have been 182,159 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 3,328 (or 1.9 per cent) from the previous day. There are 156,012 people recovered from the virus while 4,530 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 7,922,058 of which 72,283 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total, usually updated at 7 p.m., was not updated as of 10:20 p.m. Dec. 31. The following is a repeat of the most recent numbers: Canada’s coronavirus case total is 572,982. The country has 15,472 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 893 in British Columbia, 1,046 in Alberta, 154 in Saskatchewan, 661 in Manitoba, 4,474 in Ontario, 8,165 in Quebec, eight in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit region added 30 cases Thursday – 13 in Prescott-Russell, five in SD&G and 12 in Cornwall – to bring the regional total to 1,423 confirmed cases, of which 285 are active (26 more than Wednesday) and 1,105 are resolved (four more than Wednesday). The number of deaths is 33. Five people are in hospital. There are 11 active outbreaks (includes nursing and retirement homes, lodging homes, group homes, schools and daycare). Testing increased by 1,082 to 94,719. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 832 cases (151 active), SD&G 284 cases (62 active), Cornwall 267 cases (71 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 40 cases (one active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added no cases Thursday, although one person was hospitalized with the virus. The regional total is 674 confirmed cases, of which 28 are active and 593 are recovered. The number of deaths to date is 53. There are no institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Leeds-Grenville East (eight active), Leeds-Grenville Central (two active), Leeds-Grenville West (five active), Lanark County West (10 active) and Lanark County East (two active).
  • Arriving at Pearson International Airport Thursday morning, Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said his Caribbean trip was a “significant error in judgment, and a dumb mistake.” Phillips apologized for his decision to travel during the holidays while the government was telling people to stay home due to the pandemic. Premier Doug Ford announced later in the day that he had accepted Phillips’ resignation as finance minister. “At a time when the people of Ontario have sacrificed so much, today’s resignation is a demonstration that our government takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard,” he said in a statement.
  • Phillips is not the only politician in hot water for travelling during the pandemic. Saskatchewan Highways Minister Joe Hargrave apologized for going to Palm Springs, calling it an essential trip because he was selling a house there.
  • New York City held a muted celebration for New Year’s Eve at Times Square with no crowd of millions of spectators. New Year’s Eve celebrations were unlike no other as many people held virtual parties while major cities cancelled their normal end of year celebrations.
  • The federal government says people arriving in Canada will need proof of a negative COVID-19 test, starting Jan. 7, 2021. It will apply to people aged five and up. People will still have to undergo a two week quarantine at home.
  • Two Canadian Coast Guard ships are under lockdown in Nova Scotia after a contractor working on the ships tested positive for the virus. So far, 44 crews members have tested negative as of Christmas Eve. A second round of testing was taking place last night.

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