Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Thursday May 20, 2021

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

  • There have been 514,690 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 1,588 cases from the previous day. There have been 482,749 people recovered from the virus while 8,525 have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 14,856,381 of which 26,091 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 1,342,388. The country has 25,066 deaths from the virus – two in the Yukon, four in Nunavut, 1,658 in British Columbia, 2,158 in Alberta, 522 in Saskatchewan, 1,016 in Manitoba, 8,525 in Ontario, 11,058 in Quebec, 43 in New Brunswick, six in Newfoundland & Labrador and 74 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area added 28 cases Wednesday – 10 in Prescott-Russell, 11 in SD&G and seven in Cornwall – to bring the regional total to 4,721 confirmed cases. Of those, 179 are active (four more than Tuesday) and 4,439 are resolved (24 more than Tuesday). The number of deaths is at 103. There are 10 people in hospital (two more than Tuesday) with three in the ICU (no change). There are two active institutional outbreaks (no change). Testing increased 221 to 138,257. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 1,976 cases (70 active), SD&G 1,122 cases (58 active), Cornwall 1,273 cases (48 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 350 cases (three active).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit area added four cases Wednesday to bring the regional total to 1,712 confirmed cases, of which 21 are active (one more than Tuesday) and 1,631 are recovered (three more than Tuesday). There are 60 deaths to date. One person is in hospital. There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 377 cases (four active), Lanark County West 390 cases (four active), Leeds-Grenville Central 199 cases (eight active), Leeds-Grenville East 331 cases (three active) and Leeds-Grenville West 194 cases (two active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 7,431,638 (+145,461, last update May 19); EOHU 90,584 (last update May 19, +1,321 from previous update May 18); LGL 57,836 individuals with at least 1 shot (last update May 17, +5,901 from previous update May 10).
  • Ontario is lifting its pause on non-emergency surgeries and procedures. The directive had been in place since April 20. With new cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions trending downward, the restriction was lifted as of yesterday (Wednesday) and that non-emergency procedures and surgeries can gradually resume.
  • Through the pandemic year of 2020, Via Rail says its ridership dropped 77 per cent and revenue dropped 90 per cent compared to 2019. In its annual report released Wednesday, it’s operating expenses dropped as well by 21 per cent as the passenger train service maintained essential service with limited seating. “Last year, Via Rail faced more challenges that it every had in its 43-year history,” said Francoise Bertrand, chairman of the board of directors.
  • If you think going to the U.S. to get your COVID-19 shot is going to be a quicker option, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says think again. It doesn’t consider getting a vaccine an essential medical service. In other words, no entry.
  • There are a record number of people taking up ICU beds in Manitoba hospitals. Some have been transferred to northwestern Ontario in order to free up beds.
  • Two studies – one in Ontario, the other in B.C. – are looking at the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines among pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • With the exception of one region, Alberta students will be heading back into classrooms after the Victoria Day weekend.
  • A group representing Canada’s major airlines is calling for a clear plan from the federal government about a safe resumption of international travel. The request from the National Airlines Council of Canada comes after the European Union announced an opening to a fully-vaccinated traveller plan among its block of countries.

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