Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Thursday February 25, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Thursday, February 25, 2021:

  • There have been 296,173 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 1,054 (or 0.4 per cent) from the previous day. There are 279,230 people recovered from the virus while 6,893 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 10,806,152 of which 41,251 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 855,126. The country has 21,807 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, one in Nunavut, 1,338 in British Columbia, 1,866 in Alberta, 379 in Saskatchewan, 887 in Manitoba, 6,893 in Ontario, 10,346 in Quebec, 26 in New Brunswick, five in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 38 cases on Wednesday – six in Prescott-Russell, three in SD&G, six in Cornwall and 23 in Akwesasne – to bring the regional total to 2,759 cases, of which 102 are active (one more than Tuesday) and 2,590 are resolved (37 more than Tuesday). There’s 67 deaths to date. Three people are in hospital (one more than Tuesday) and one in the ICU (one more than Tuesday). There are eight active institutional outbreaks (one fewer than Tuesday). Testing increased by 542 to 109,161. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,198 cases (27 active), SD&G 623 cases (30 active), Cornwall 719 cases (23 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 219 cases (22 active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added two new cases on Wednesday to bring the regional total to 856 confirmed cases, of which nine are active (one more than Tuesday) and 793 are recovered (one more than Tuesday). There are 54 deaths to date. Four people are in hospital (two more than Tuesday), including one in ICU. There are two active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 147 cases (zero active), Lanark County West 164 cases (four active), Leeds-Grenville Central 95 cases (zero active), Leeds-Grenville East 124 cases (two active) and Leeds-Grenville West 123 cases (one active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 602,848 (+17,141); EOHU 5,921 (+417); LGL 2,954 individuals with at least 1 shot (last update Feb. 22).
  • The head of Ontario’s vaccine task force, Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, says the second phase of the vaccination plan will begin next month. Phase 2 will target those 80 years of age and older. An online booking system should launch March 15 with shots given the third week of March to those 80 and older. Pharmacies will also be helping with the Phase 2 rollout. Hillier says the aim is to have those 75 and older getting shots starting April 15 and then 70 or older starting May 1. Sixty-five and older would be June 1.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health announced the fifth death in the province. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says the victim was a man over the age of 70.
  • Facing ongoing criticism about the vaccine rollout, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has released numbers showing about 840,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will be coming the week of March 22 after the initial 400,000 on March 8.
  • St. Lawrence College say it’s spring and summer programs will be delivered through a hybrid of online and in-person classes. Health sciences and applied component programs will be given priority for classes on campus. CEO Glenn Vollebregt says a decision on the fall program will be based on whether “it will be possible to host larger numbers on our campuses.” There’s been no final decision.
  • For the second year in a row, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed the April Raisin River Canoe Race. Last year’s race was replaced with a photo contest where people were able to get a keepsake medal. The rite of spring usually sees canoeists and kayakers brave the freezing water and rapids as they paddle 30 kilometers from St. Andrews West to Williamstown. There are plans to have the race in 2022.
  • A study in the New England Journal of Medicine based on large real-world results, found the Pfizer vaccine is 62 per cent effective against serious illness or death after the first shot and 92 per cent after the second. Preventing death was 72 per cent after the first couple of weeks of getting the first shot.
  • The community of Arviat in Nunavut has declared a state of emergency due to a spike in coronavirus cases. A community curfew is in place. There are 27 active cases in the community – the only ones in the territory. Nunavut has had one death since the pandemic began in March 2020.

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