Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday April 30, 2021

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

  • There have been 459,477 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 3,871 cases from the previous day. There have been 413,010 people recovered from the virus while 8,029 have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 14,052,764 of which 31,914 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 1,211,083. The country has 24,169 deaths from the virus – two in the Yukon, four in Nunavut, 1,577 in British Columbia, 2,075 in Alberta, 487 in Saskatchewan, 973 in Manitoba, 8,029 in Ontario, 10,913 in Quebec, 36 in New Brunswick, six in Newfoundland & Labrador and 67 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 24 cases Thursday to bring the regional total to 4,373 confirmed cases. There were 12 in Prescott-Russell, eight in SD&G and four in Cornwall. Of all cases, 292 are active (nine fewer than Wednesday) and 3,980 are resolved (33 more than Wednesday). The number of deaths remains at 101. There are 30 people in hospital, four fewer than Wednesday, with five in the ICU (one fewer than Wednesday). There are eight active institutional outbreaks (no change). Testing increased by 319 to 134,574. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,824 cases (132 active), SD&G 1,037 cases (51 active), Cornwall 1,192 cases (91 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 320 cases (18 active).
  • Fresh data presented at the media briefing Thursday afternoon shows there’s actually 28 people in hospital and seven in the ICU. Those numbers will be reflected in the update later today (Friday). There was also roughly 2,000 more vaccine shots given Thursday at two clinics in Rockland and Cornwall.
  • EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says the rate of infection per capita is going in the right direction and is “encouraging” but still “hovering above (the) red (zone).” The seven day rolling average has dropped since April 15 when it was 154.1 cases per 100,000 to 58.8 per 100,000 yesterday. Cornwall took longer to come down, only dropping since April 19 at 175.9 cases per 100,000 to 79.6 per 100,000 yesterday. The number of cases are “strikingly going downwards,” he said. There’s another three weeks left of the stay-at-home order (order goes to at least May 20).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit area added 13 cases Thursday to bring the regional total to 1,617 confirmed cases, of which 67 are active (seven more than Wednesday) and 1,491 are recovered (six more than Wednesday). The number of deaths to date is 59. Two people are in hospital (one fewer than Wednesday) with one in ICU (no change). There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 355 cases (32 active), Lanark County West 372 cases (eight active), Leeds-Grenville Central 180 cases (eight active), Leeds-Grenville East 312 cases (17 active) and Leeds-Grenville West 178 cases (two active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 5,027,770 (+120,567, last update April 29); EOHU 58,396 (last update April 29, +4,367 from previous update April 27); LGL 39,119 individuals with at least 1 shot (last update April 26, +6,855 from previous update April 19).
  • Half of the available vaccines in Ontario will be going to hot spots in the first two weeks in May to try and fight the virus. That’s above the previous 25 per cent allocation. The province will switch back to a per capita allocation by mid-May.
  • New modelling from the province shows cases are decreasing since the stay-at-home order came into effect but there are still problems with cases involving people moving to and from the workplace. The science advisers say further limits on essential workplaces are needed. There are still pockets of stubborn hot spots in areas of Peel and Toronto. Ninety per cent of the province’s new COVID-19 cases are the more highly contagious variants of concern (VOCs).
  • The next age bracket for booking vaccine appointments opens today (Friday) at 8 a.m. for people 55-years-old, turning 55 this year and older. The province is expected to accelerate age brackets over the next month with people over 18 able to book by the last week of May. (The second phase schedule is 50+ the week of May 3, 40+ the week of May 10, 30+ the week of May 17 and then everyone over 18 years old the week of May 24)
  • Eastern Ontario’s top doctor is confident there will be enough staff to vaccinate through the end of next month as the province opens up more eligible age groups. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis told Cornwall Newswatch Thursday they need 270 people to run all six vaccine clinics for one day. Roumeliotis says the health unit could easily run five to six clinics at the same time every day. The limitation is vaccine. The EOHU expects only 58,000 doses between now at the end of May. There are 59,000 eligible people in the region between the ages of 40 and 59. Earlier in the day, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the 34 public health units had “excess capacity” to ramp up vaccinations.
  • Akwesasne will offer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine for residents and family members who received their first dose elsewhere. A clinic is being held May 12 by the Akwesasne Community Health Program (613-575-2341 extension 3220). The shot will also be offered to teenage residents from 16 to 18.
  • An Akwesasne long term care home in Snye will be easing some visiting restrictions. The facility (Iakhihsohtha Lodge) will be phasing in visitation, starting next Wednesday (May 5) with one essential caregiver allowed to visit during a three-hour window on Wednesday afternoons. The person has to have a COVID-19 test before visiting.
  • The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe has modified its travel restrictions for residents. Those who are fully vaccinated and travel outside the 300 mile radius won’t have to quarantine on their return as long as they are showing no symptoms of COVID-19. The southern territory of Akwesasne had two new cases on Wednesday and has a total of nine active cases.
  • In St. Lawrence County (which includes Massena, Potsdam and Canton), the area added 15 cases Thursday to bring its total to 7,165. The county has averaged about 100 new cases a week over the past three weeks. There are 114 active cases – four more than the previous day – with most of them in Massena (19), Potsdam (12), Ogdensburg (11) and Canton (8). There are five people in hospital and 96 people have died to date. Just over 305,000 people have been tested in St. Lawrence County.
  • Air Transat has reached a $700 million loan deal with the federal government, similar to the Air Canada deal. The airline says $390 million will be used for operations and another $310 million to give refunds to customers whose flights were cancelled due to the pandemic.
  • Canada’s deputy chief public health officer says almost 90 per cent of Canadians over the age of 80 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – better rates than the flu vaccine where seven in 10 were getting a shot.
  • The pace of vaccinations in Quebec have health officials optimistic that case counts will drop more quickly in the next couple of months. There were more than 10,000 new cases and 10 deaths reported Thursday.
  • While the tourism market has been slow to rebound, the CEO of Airbnb says they are seeing an upswing in Canadians renting in rural locations of Canada for spring and summer in places like Atlantic Canada and the Okanagan Falls in British Columbia. Most of the short-term renters tend to be older people who are fully vaccinated.

Have a story or news release related to COVID-19? Send it along for possible inclusion in a future digest on Cornwall Newswatch. Email editor@cornwallnewswatch.com. Please put “COVID-19 Digest” in the subject line.

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