Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Sunday January 24, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Sunday, January 24, 2021:

  • There have been 252,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 2,359 (or 0.9 per cent) from the previous day. There are 222,287 people recovered from the virus while 5,753 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 9,260,044 of which 37,847 have pending results.
  • National numbers were not updated at 7 p.m. Saturday night. The following is a repeat from Friday at 7 p.m.: Canada’s coronavirus case total is 737,407. The country has 18,828 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 1,128 in British Columbia, 1,512 in Alberta, 247 in Saskatchewan, 795 in Manitoba, 5,701 in Ontario, 9,361 in Quebec, 13 in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit stands at 2,333 confirmed cases with 542 active and 1,741 resolved. The number of deaths to date is 50. There are 21 people in hospital, five in ICU. There are 15 active institutional outbreaks. Testing is at 99,946. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,089 cases (154 active), SD&G 497 cases (126 active), Cornwall 608 cases (231 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 139 cases (31 active). (The health unit doesn’t update statistics on weekends)
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit stands at 785 confirmed cases with 20 active and 711 recovered. The number of deaths to date is 54. There is one person in hospital in the ICU. There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 133 cases (eight active), Lanark County West 138 cases (five active), Leeds-Grenville Central 83 cases (three active), Leeds-Grenville East 117 cases (three active) and Leeds-Grenville West 113 cases (zero active). (The health unit doesn’t update statistics on weekends)
  • A Barrie long-term care home is dealing with the UK variant of the coronavirus where 32 residents have died. There are 127 residents and 84 staff who have tested positive. Seven cases are hospitalized.
  • Health Canada has approved the Spartan Bioscience rapid PCR test. The company has already started production of what’s being described as the first truly mobile testing unit that gives results within an hour.
  • A call by Quebec Premier Francois Legault to ban non-essential flights to the country would be a violation of mobility rights under the Charter, legal experts say. Legault believes it was Quebecers vacationing during spring break that brought the virus home allowing it to spread more quickly than elsewhere in Canada during the first wave.
  • A northwestern region in New Brunswick is going into full lockdown today (Sunday) with the closure of all non-essential businesses, schools and public spaces. The province had 17 new cases Friday – 10 of them in the Edmundston region.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out with new guidance for American health care professionals when it comes to the second booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. First, it says there’s flexibility in giving that second dose – namely up to six weeks instead of 21 days. Second, the CDC says in “exceptional circumstances,” if the same brand of vaccine is not available, it’s better to switch brands than to skip the second dose.

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