Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday January 15, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Friday, January 15, 2021:

  • There have been 228,310 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 3,326 (or 1.5 per cent) from the previous day. There are 193,814 people recovered from the virus while 5,189 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 8,714,916 of which 66,940 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 688,891. The country has 17,538 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 1,038 in British Columbia, 1,389 in Alberta, 206 in Saskatchewan, 755 in Manitoba, 5,189 in Ontario, 8,878 in Quebec, 12 in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit added 42 cases Thursday to bring the regional total to 2,046 cases. There were 10 in Prescott-Russell, six in SD&G, nine in Cornwall and 17 in Akwesasne. There are 623 active (six fewer than Wednesday) and 1,380 resolved (44 more than Wednesday). The number of deaths to date is 42, four more than Wednesday. The number of people in hospital is 25, three more than Wednesday, and there are five in ICU (no change). There are 13 active institutional outbreaks (no change). Testing increased by 400 to 97,022. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,023 cases (209 active), SD&G 423 cases (132 active), Cornwall 491 cases (227 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 109 cases (55 active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added two newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday to bring the regional total to 755 confirmed cases. There are 21 active (down four) and 680 recovered (up six). The number of deaths to date is 54. There are no people in hospital (down two). There is one institutional outbreak. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 119 cases (three active), Lanark County West 132 cases (six active), Leeds-Grenville Central 79 cases (three active), Leeds-Grenville East 113 cases (five active) and Leeds-Grenville West 112 cases (four active).
  • Local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says it will be vaccine supply and not staffing logistics that will limit the ability to vaccinate long term care homes and their staff. In his update Thursday, Roumeliotis says 490 people had been vaccinated this week. The health unit receives one tray of Pfizer vaccine a week – 195 vials which allows for about 1,100 needles. It’s also expecting Moderna vaccine at some point. Roumeliotis says the procedure has been going “very, very smoothly.”
  • Across the border, St. Lawrence County (which includes Massena, Potsdam and Canton) had three more deaths Thursday to bring the total to 55 since the pandemic began. The county has a total of 3,533 cases to date. It also reached a milestone Thursday, breaking a thousand active cases. Twenty-nine people are in hospital. The county hot spots with active cases are Potsdam (143), Ogdensburg (114), Canton (92) and Massena (92).
  • The provincial government has issued an emergency order to pause residential evictions during the emergency declaration and while the stay-at-home order is in place.
  • Roughly 50 ministry inspectors will fan out across the hot zone areas of Ontario this weekend as part of a blitz to make sure big-box stores are complying with lockdown orders. That includes making sure workers and customers are wearing masks and social distancing.
  • Alberta will relax some of its health restrictions that were in place since December. Personal care services, like hair salons, can now open by appointment only. Social gatherings, once banned, are now a maximum of 10 people. The new restrictions start Monday.
  • Canada will be getting two million doses of COVID-19 vaccines a week this spring. Maj. Gen. Dany Fortin says the province can then ramp up their vaccine rollout plan. Pfizer and Moderna plan to send one million doses weekly starting in April.
  • Quebec vaccination panel will lengthen the time before people get a second dose of the coronavirus vaccine in order to have more residents get that initial dose. The vaccine advisory council says the second dose window is a maximum of 42 days. But Quebec will wait 42 to 90 days to give the booster shot.
  • Health experts are concerned cases of the UK variant are popping up around Canada that could threaten vulnerable populations. The strain is 50-70 per cent more transmissible based on UK studies.
  • The medical health officer for Saskatchewan says the province is at a critical point. If there continues to be 300 or more new COVID-19 cases daily, Dr. Saqib Shahab says he will have to recommend more public health measures.

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