Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Thursday December 16, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Thursday, December 16, 2021:

  • There have been 636,920 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 1,808 cases from the previous day (VAX: 625 unvaccinated, 39 partially vaccinated, 1,046 fully vaccinated, 98 unknown). There have been 614,161 people recovered from the virus while 10,093 have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 20,325,873 of which 28,940 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 1,851,057. The country has 29,994 deaths from the virus – 14 in the Yukon, 12 in the Northwest Territories, four in Nunavut, 2,393 in British Columbia, 3,286 in Alberta, 941 in Saskatchewan, 1,357 in Manitoba, 10,093 in Ontario, 11,622 in Quebec, 144 in New Brunswick, 18 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 110 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit added 23 cases Wednesday – 15 in Prescott-Russell, nine in Cornwall and one removed from SD&G – to bring the regional total to 6,342 confirmed cases, of which 130 are active (nine more than Tuesday) and 6,079 are resolved (14 more than Tuesday). There number of deaths to date is 133. There are two people in hospital (two fewer than Tuesday) and none in the ICU (one fewer than Tuesday). There are three institutional outbreaks (no change from Tuesday). Testing increased 300 to 176,432. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 2,345 cases (51 active), SD&G 1,465 cases (22 active), Cornwall 1,936 cases (40 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 596 cases (17 active)(Akwesasne health department as of Monday, Dec. 13: 598 total cases, nine active, nine deaths to date).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added no new cases Wednesday and the regional total remained at 2,314 cases, of which 149 are active and 2,100 are recovered (no changes from Tuesday). The number of deaths to date is 65. There are three people in hospital and one in the ICU (no changes from Tuesday). There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 467 cases (12 active), Lanark County West 507 cases (22 active), Leeds-Grenville Central 346 cases (53 active), Leeds-Grenville East 444 cases (17 active), Leeds-Grenville West 312 cases (44 active) and Unknown/Out of Region 31 cases (one active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 24,711,702 (+127,613, last update Dec. 15); EOHU 357,114 (last update Dec. 15, +2,734 from previous update Dec. 14); LGL 156,431 individuals living in LGL with first doses, 149,430 with second doses, 16,629 with third doses. (last update Dec. 12, +1,988 first doses, +347 second doses, +4,845 third doses since previous update Dec. 5).
  • All eligible adults in Ontario over the age of 18 will be able to get a third booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday. In what he called a “call to arms,” Premier Doug Ford announced the accelerated booster shots, saying people will be able to get their third dose three months (84 days) after their second dose instead of the current six months (168 days). The government is also rolling out two million rapid testing kits being provided at pop-up locations and Ontario liquor stores.
  • Capacity limits at indoor venues where 1,000 or more people are allowed will be capped at 50 per cent starting Monday (Dec. 18). This includes sports and recreational facilities, theaters and cinemas, meeting and event spaces and festivals.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit area has had six cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 to date. During his media update Wednesday morning, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says none of the cases were hospitalized. While explaining the third dose strategy, Roumeliotis says getting that third dose boosts efficacy against Omicron from 30-50 per cent to 75-80 per cent protection.
  • The federal government is recommending Canadians avoid non-essential international travel due to a spike in COVID-19 cases around the world plus the surge in the Omicron variant. There are no changes to rules for COVID testing coming into Canada – that follows an emergency meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is advising against all mass gatherings over the holidays – even for people fully vaccinated.
  • In addition to not going on international travel, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says he would limit inter-provincial travel. “Personally…inter-provincial travel, again I would limit that,” he said Wednesday. The doctor is doubtful that it will be something enforced.
  • In the southern region of Akwesasne, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe reported another death Tuesday bringing the total to six since the pandemic began. There were six new cases Wednesday and one more person hospitalized, bringing the total in hospital to four, for what is described as “severe symptoms.” There have been a total of 646 cases of which 29 are active. Just over 65 per cent of the territory has been vaccinated.

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