Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday January 8, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Friday, January 8, 2021:

  • There have been 204,145 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 3,519 (or 1.8 per cent) from the previous day. There are 172,571 people recovered from the virus while 4,856 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 8,294,922 of which 66,970 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 635,134. The country has 16,579 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 970 in British Columbia, 1,217 in Alberta, 177 in Saskatchewan, 717 in Manitoba, 4,856 in Ontario, 8,562 in Quebec, nine in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit did not update statistics on Thursday. The regional total is 1,766 with 511 active and 1,219 resolved. There have been 35 deaths to date. Six people are in hospital. There are 15 active institutional outbreaks. Testing was at 95,848. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 962 cases (221 active), SD&G 368 cases (122 active), Cornwall 375 cases (148 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 61 cases (20 active).
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is moving its semi-weekly briefings with reporters to Mondays and Thursdays from Tuesdays and Fridays, starting next week, in order to line up with newspaper deadlines. The health unit is still holding a briefing at 4:15 p.m. today (Friday).
  • The Cornwall Community Hospital says “some elective surgeries will be postponed” if the coronavirus trend continues as the hospital deals with a lack of beds. “The Ontario health system, including our local hospital, is nearing full capacity,” CEO Jeanette Despatie said. There is only one ICU bed available in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area, according to public health metrics from the health indicator tracing site “How’s My Flattening?” The hospital says it’s operating at “surge capacity.”
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added seven cases Thursday, to bring the regional total to 730 confirmed cases. Of those, 45 are active (no change) and 632 are recovered (seven more than the previous day). There have been 53 deaths to date. There are no institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East (four active), Lanark County West (10 active), Leeds-Grenville Central (13 active), Leeds-Grenville East (seven active) and Leeds-Grenville West (10 active).
  • An outbreak was declared Thursday afternoon at a Kemptville retirement home. Kemptville Retirement Living has one positive staff member. The home says it’s working with health authorities. (The previous bullet point says no institutional outbreaks because the outbreak declaration came in after the health unit’s daily synopsis.)
  • The Ontario government is extending online learning for elementary students to Jan. 25 in the southern half of the province. It’s also extending the Northern Ontario shutdown for another two weeks. While taking the precaution, the province says targeted testing on students and staff last month shows “that schools are not a significant source of transmission” of COVID-19. The worry is about students bringing the virus back into the classroom after being on Christmas break while cases skyrocketed.
  • B.C. has extended restrictions, set to expire today, until Feb. 5. Medical Officer of Health Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the extension on the same day there were eight more deaths and 761 new cases in the province. She says the outbreak is trending up again.
  • A day after stepping away from government advisory roles, the CEO of the Niagara hospital system is out. St. Joseph’s Health System parted ways with Tom Stewart a day after Niagara Health said it would no longer be purchasing CEO services from St. Joseph’s. Stewart had travelled to the Dominican Republic over the holidays.
  • Governor General Julie Payette is asking Canadians to follow their sense of duty and abide by the public health measures. In a video message, Payette says we owe it to front-line health care workers and others to make sacrifices.

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