Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Saturday March 20, 2021

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

  • There have been 325,254 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 1,745 (or 0.5 per cent) from the previous day. There are 304,789 people recovered from the virus while 7,212 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 11,981,432 of which 29,545 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 927,069. The country has 22,617 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, four in Nunavut, 1,421 in British Columbia, 1,957 in Alberta, 414 in Saskatchewan, 919 in Manitoba, 7,212 in Ontario, 10,587 in Quebec, 30 in New Brunswick, six in Newfoundland & Labrador and 66 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 26 cases Friday – 14 in Prescott-Russell, six in SD&G and six in Cornwall – to bring the regional total of 3,062 cases, of which 171 are active (19 more than Thursday) and 2,822 are resolved (seven more than Thursday). There are 69 deaths to date. Twenty-two people are in hospital (one more than Thursday) and six in the ICU (three more than Thursday). There are six active institutional outbreaks (two fewer than Thursday). Testing increased by 507 to 118,050. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,270 cases (42 active), SD&G 702 cases (49 active), Cornwall 838 cases (74 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 252 cases (six active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added eight cases on Friday to bring the regional total to 1,061 confirmed cases, of which 98 are active (one fewer than Thursday) and 909 are recovered (nine more than Thursday). There are 54 deaths to date. One person is in hospital. There is one active institutional outbreak (Perth Community Care). The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 228 cases (22 active), Lanark County West 247 cases (52 active), Leeds-Grenville Central 110 cases (10 active), Leeds-Grenville East 135 cases (six active) and Leeds-Grenville West 133 cases (seven active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 1,420,599 (+61,146, updated daily); EOHU 17,143 (last update March 19, +808 from previous update March 17); LGL 10,251 individuals with at least 1 shot (last update March 15, +3,526 from previous update March 8).
  • The province has announced that those turning or are 75 years old this year or older can book their COVID-19 vaccination starting Monday (March 22). You can book through the Ontario government or local health unit website or on the phone. The province plans to bring another 350 pharmacies on board to give the shots over the next couple of weeks, making a total of 700 locations. Right now, the drug stores are in the Kingston area, Toronto and Windsor-Essex.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit will be moving from the yellow-protect to the red-control level under the Ontario government’s restrictions starting Monday. However, the dining numbers at bars, restaurants and other eateries will take effect today (Saturday) with a maximum of 50 people or 50 per cent capacity. A order by the health unit on additional restrictions for Perth and Smiths Falls remains in effect. The one for Carleton Place, Beckwith and Mississippi Mills has been pulled as of Friday (March 19). The restrictions announced by the province Friday are much tighter than expected when Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paula Stewart told radio station CFJR she anticipated the health unit would probably move the region to orange – this is one step above that.
  • The province is making a change to areas in grey-lockdown, allowing outdoor dining. They will be subject to social distancing rules and a number of other safety measures. Tables will have to be members of the same household with exemptions for people who live alone and caregivers.
  • Canada’s chief public health officer says variants of COVID-19 are threatening the progress before vaccines can bring their full effect. Dr. Theresa Tam shared statistics Friday showing an eight per cent increase in daily infections in the past week. The variants of concern now make up a large portion of COVID-19 cases.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a million Pfizer vaccines will be delivered weekly through the end of May. It’s also finalizing a deal with the U.S. for the 1.5 million doses of AstraZeneca, which is loaning vaccine to Canada and Mexico. That’s because the AstraZeneca vaccine, sitting in fridges, hasn’t been approved in the United States.
  • The British Columbia Supreme Court has dismissed a petition challenging chief medical officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s COVID-19 orders. Henry is thankful for the ruling after the challenge by three churches looking to hold in-person services, which have been banned since late last year.

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