Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday February 19, 2021

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

  • There have been 289,621 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 1,038 (or 0.4 per cent) from the previous day. There are 272,146 people recovered from the virus while 6,773 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 10,523,414 of which 44,532 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 837,497. The country has 21,498 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 1,321 in British Columbia, 1,805 in Alberta, 362 in Saskatchewan, 878 in Manitoba, 6,773 in Ontario, 10,264 in Quebec, 24 in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 10 cases on Thursday – six in Prescott-Russell, three in SD&G and one in Cornwall – to bring the regional total to 2,674 cases. The number of active cases rose by three to 115 while resolved cases were up seven to 2,493. Sixty-six people have died to date. There are 11 people in hospital, including one in the ICU. There are nine active institutional outbreaks (one fewer than Wednesday). Testing increased by 347 to 107,328. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,179 cases (25 active), SD&G 610 cases (39 active), Cornwall 708 cases (39 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 177 cases (12 active).
  • A second person at Glengarry District High School in Alexandria has tested positive for COVID-19. The previous case was a student. Whether the latest case is a staff member or student won’t be known until it’s updated in provincial data. The Upper Canada District School Board says the health unit determined there “has been no exposure at the school” – meaning no epidemiological link and no reason to declare an outbreak. The school is opening as normal today (Friday).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added no newly confirmed cases on Thursday as the total stands at 849 confirmed cases, of which 11 are active (three fewer than Wednesday) and 784 are recovered (three more than Wednesday). Fifty-four people have died to date. There is one person in hospital in the ICU on a ventilator (down one hospitalization since Wednesday). There is one active institutional outbreak (Lombard Manor, outbreak below declared after 10 a.m. update). The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 147 cases (zero active), Lanark County West 161 cases (six active), Leeds-Grenville Central 95 cases (zero active), Leeds-Grenville East 122 cases (two active) and Leeds-Grenville West 122 cases (two active).
  • There’s been another death from COVID-19 in Saint Regis, the Mohawk Tribe announced Wednesday. That brings the number of deaths to three since the pandemic began. There were another 10 active cases reported Wednesday, bringing the total to 16. Ten people are in isolation or quarantine. The health department will hold its next COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Thursday next week.
  • Health Minister Christine Elliott says they are considering a plea from health officials in Toronto and Peel to not loosen restrictions too soon and to keep the stay-at-home order in place until March 9. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams was looking at the health data Thursday before making a recommendation.
  • The federal government’s updated timeline shows at least 14.5 million Canadians will be vaccinated by the end of June with either the Pfizer or Moderna shots.
  • While Ontario school boards have delayed March break by a month, Akwesasne’s board of education is moving its spring break up a couple of weeks to the first week of March. Online learning continues until April 9 and then students in the hybrid model will be back in class April 12.
  • The provincial government is spending $2.5 million from the Ontario Together Fund to allow a Scarborough company to develop a wearable contract tracing gadget, that looks like a Fitbit, worn on the wrist. Facedrive will produce 150,000 of its TraceSCAN units under the project, which is expected to create 68 new jobs in the tech and hardware specialties. It meant for places like warehouses, airplanes and construction sites where the COVID Alert app won’t work well due to sketchy cell service or cell phones are not allowed.
  • Canada’s deputy chief public health officer says talks are happening on whether it might be advisable to delay the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine in order to give more initial shots to people. Dr. Howard Njoo was reacting to evidence suggesting the first dose of a vaccine may provide almost as much protection as two doses.
  • Refugees arriving in Canada will have their quarantine hotel stay covered by the federal government as well as the mandatory test. Starting Monday, most travellers returning to Canada will have to be holed up in a government approved hotel for three nights at their expense while awaiting their test results.

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