Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Tuesday March 30, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Tuesday, March 30, 2021:

  • There have been 345,234 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 2,094 (or 0.6 per cent) from the previous day. There are 318,932 people recovered from the virus while 7,337 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 12,462,570 of which 17,716 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 971,715. The country has 22,900 deaths from the virus – one in the Yukon, four in Nunavut, 1,455 in British Columbia, 1,983 in Alberta, 433 in Saskatchewan, 934 in Manitoba, 7,337 in Ontario, 10,651 in Quebec, 30 in New Brunswick, six in Newfoundland & Labrador and 66 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 84 cases on Monday from the weekend to bring the regional total to 3,340 confirmed cases. There are 332 active (24 more than Friday) and 2,935 resolved (59 more than Friday). The number of deaths is 73 (one more than Friday). Thirty-two people are in hospital (four more than Friday) and three in the ICU (no change). There are 10 active institutional outbreaks (no change). Testing increased by 616 to 121,642. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,366 cases (116 active), SD&G 811 cases (119 active), Cornwall 905 cases (91 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 258 cases (six active).
  • Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis shared new data not reflected in their daily metrics (above) that there are in fact 35 in hospital and five in the ICU. He says the data came directly from area hospitals and not through the case contact management (CCM) system.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added 40 newly confirmed cases on Monday to bring the regional total to 1,248. Of those, 104 are active (19 fewer than Friday) and 1,090 are recovered (59 more than Friday). There are 54 deaths to date. One person is in hospital (down two from Friday). The one person is in the ICU on a ventilator. There are two active institutional outbreaks (Perth Community Care, Rideau Ferry Country Home). The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 245 cases (eight active), Lanark County West 345 cases (41 active), Leeds-Grenville Central 115 cases (six active), Leeds-Grenville East 187 cases (36 active) and Leeds-Grenville West 147 cases (11 active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 2,031,735 (+50,453, updated daily); EOHU 22,333 (last update March 26, +1,093 from previous update March 25); LGL 18,368 individuals with at least 1 shot (last update March 29, +4,371 from previous update March 22).
  • The LGL District Health Unit is one of 11 health unit areas that opened vaccination to those turned or age 70 years old this year and older. Booking is through the provincial website or by phone. If you don’t have a green photo health card, call the health unit office.
  • Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says “it will be imminently, over the next couple of days” when people 70-plus will be able to get vaccine appointments. He says the province did ask the health unit over the weekend but it passed on the opportunity for now because clinics are fully booked through April 9. “We didn’t want to open it up for 70-plus and not have places,” he said. The EOHU has 20 clinics between now and April 9 and Roumeliotis says they will be adding “a few” plus adding more spots at existing clinics.
  • Only a day into the red-control restrictions, Roumeliotis believes the EOHU area is flirting with a possible grey-lockdown. The region added 84 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend. “I fell off my chair when I saw it,” he said. The doctor added the public health indicators – positivity rate, the reproductive rate and case rates per 100,000 population are “all on the increase, which are not good signs” public health contract tracers are being overwhelmed and hospital ICU capacity is “pretty full (but) not overwhelmed” yet. There are 18 people in Cornwall alone who are hospitalized. Roumeliotis plans to talk with Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams either today or tomorrow about the situation.
  • The EOHU area has had 205 variants of concern as of Monday. The provincial percentage of variants cases is a little less than 60 per cent. The EOHU area is at 67 per cent and “steadily going up,” Roumeliotis said.
  • Roumeliotis says the majority of cases are social gatherings and gatherings “among staff themselves” at work during breaks, who bring the virus home to their household. With two-thirds of recent cases being a highly-transmissible variant, COVID-19 quickly spreads and infects an entire household. “When it’s VOC, the whole house gets infected. It’s quite hard to limit it once it’s in the household.”
  • New cases have shown up in Char-Lan District High School in Williamstown and Eamer’s Corners Public School in Cornwall. At Eamer’s Corners, the school board says the health unit determined the person wasn’t at school when they were infectious. There are two cases at Char-Lan but one was not infectious while at school. Both schools are operating normally.
  • Late Monday afternoon, the Upper Canada school board reported at least one case associated with Tagwi Secondary School in Avonmore. It says the health unit confirmed the person wasn’t at school when they were infectious. The high school is running normally. There are currently 35 active cases in area schools.
  • Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott received her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Monday morning. The shot was given at a Toronto drug store.
  • The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has recommended that those under the age of 55 not get the AstraZeneca vaccine, at least for now. NACI recommends suspending its use due to safety concerns. Canada expects 1.5 million doses from the United States to be delivered sometime today (Tuesday). Health Canada is demanding the company do a detailed study on the risks and benefits of its vaccine across multiple age groups.
  • A three week so-called “circuit breaker” has been implemented in B.C. to stop what Dr. Bonnie Henry called an exponential growth of COVID-19 cases. Indoor dining and fitness centers were suspended at midnight this morning until April 19. The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort has also temporarily closed.
  • The Optimist Club of Cornwall has cancelled its 2021 season of ball hockey. The board of directors says it decided to take a “better safe than sorry” approach. Those already registered will receive a refund. There’s no decision yet on the softball league season.

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