Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Saturday February 20, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Saturday, February 20, 2021:

  • There have been 290,771 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 1,150 (or 0.4 per cent) from the previous day. There are 273,401 people recovered from the virus while 6,820 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 10,588,786 of which 39,970 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 840,586. The country has 21,576 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 1,327 in British Columbia, 1,812 in Alberta, 365 in Saskatchewan, 879 in Manitoba, 6,820 in Ontario, 10,278 in Quebec, 24 in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 27 cases on Friday – three in Prescott-Russell, three in SD&G, two in Cornwall and 19 in Akwesasne – to bring the regional total to 2,701 cases. The number of active cases rose by 15 to 130 while resolved cases were up 11 to 2,504. Sixty-seven people have died to date, one more than Thursday. There are 11 people in hospital, including one in the ICU. There are nine active institutional outbreaks. Testing increased by 429 to 107,757. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,182 cases (24 active), SD&G 613 cases (39 active), Cornwall 710 cases (40 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 196 cases (27 active).
  • With three people at Glengarry District High School in Alexandria now testing positive for COVID-19, an outbreak has been declared. One case was a student but the two latest cases have not been updated in provincial data. The third case has been linked to transmission from at least one of the other two at the school. The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has determined the school doesn’t need to close. It will open regularly on Monday.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added three newly confirmed cases on Friday to bring the regional total to 852 confirmed cases, of which 14 are active (three more than Thursday) and 784 are recovered (no change from Thursday). Fifty-four people have died to date. There are two people in hospital, up one from Thursday. One is in ICU on a ventilator. There are two active institutional outbreaks (Lombard Manor, Carolina Retirement Residence). The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 147 cases (zero active), Lanark County West 163 cases (eight active), Leeds-Grenville Central 95 cases (zero active), Leeds-Grenville East 122 cases (two active) and Leeds-Grenville West 123 cases (three active).
  • Provincial offences officers are expected to visit the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area next week (Cornwall, SD&G, Prescott-Russell, Akwesasne) to carry out inspections and make sure businesses are following the guidelines under the orange-restrict category.
  • As requested by the local medical officers of health in Toronto and Peel, the province is maintaining the the shutdown and stay-at-home order for another two weeks in Toronto, Peel and the North Bay-Parry Sound District, until March 8. The York Region will transition into the colour-coded framework into the red-control category on Monday (Feb. 22).
  • The province says it’s has given over 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines during the first phase of shots. The first phase will now include people 80 years old and older. Gen. Rick Hillier, head of the vaccine task force, says residents will be contacted in the next week or two to book appointments in mid-March.
  • The LGL District Health Unit will be setting up mass vaccination clinics in four locations – Brockville, Kemptville, Smiths Falls and Almonte – next week. The plan after nursing and retirement home vaccinations is to move on to priority populations, including health care workers in those homes and adults 80 years old and older.
  • New modelling data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the current health measures in place will not be enough to stop a resurgence of the virus, with COVID-19 variants at play. There could be a surge of 20,000 new cases a day by the middle of next month. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the number of active cases has dropped 60 per cent in a month to 33,000 across Canada but the virus mutations could wipe out that progress without vigilance around public health measures.
  • The federal government is adding 12 weeks of eligibility to the Canada Recovery Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. That will boost maximum eligibility from 26 to 38 weeks. The programs are for unemployed workers and parents at home with children.
  • The Canada-U.S. border closure to non-essential travel has been extended to at least March 21 – one year since it was first closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. With highly-contagious strains now circulating, in all likelihood there will be more extensions.

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