Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Monday December 20, 2021

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

  • There have been 649,943 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 4,177 cases from the previous day (VAX: 905 unvaccinated, 142 partially vaccinated, 2,977 fully vaccinated, 153 unknown). There were 3,301 cases on Saturday and 3,124 cases on Friday. There have been 618,983 people recovered from the virus while 10,113 have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 20,537,791 of which 40,373 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total (as of Friday) is 1,866,907. The country has 30,032 deaths from the virus – 14 in the Yukon, 12 in the Northwest Territories, four in Nunavut, 2,399 in British Columbia, 3,286 in Alberta, 942 in Saskatchewan, 1,360 in Manitoba, 10,107 in Ontario, 11,634 in Quebec, 146 in New Brunswick, 18 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 110 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit added 36 cases Friday – 18 in Prescott-Russell, 10 in SD&G and eight in Cornwall – to bring the regional total to 6,399 confirmed cases, of which 153 are active (10 more than Thursday) and 6,113 are resolved (26 more than Thursday). There number of deaths to date is 133. There are five people in hospital (two more than Thursday) and one in the ICU (one more than Thursday). There are six institutional outbreaks (three more than Thursday). Testing increased 326 to 177,057. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 2,374 cases (67 active), SD&G 1,479 cases (27 active), Cornwall 1,949 cases (41 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 597 cases (18 active)(Akwesasne health department reported four new cases Friday: 604 total cases, eight active, 12 deaths to date).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added 44 cases Friday to bring the regional total to 2,403 cases, of which 152 are active (31 more than Thursday) and 2,186 are recovered (13 more than Thursday). The number of deaths to date is 65. There are three people in hospital (one more than Thursday) and two in the ICU (one more than Thursday). There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 481 cases (16 active), Lanark County West 516 cases (18 active), Leeds-Grenville Central 372 cases (53 active), Leeds-Grenville East 453 cases (18 active), Leeds-Grenville West 342 cases (45 active) and Unknown/Out of Region 32 cases (two active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 25,315,780 (+140,827, last update Dec. 19); EOHU 361,662 (last update Dec. 17, +2,834 from previous update Dec. 16); 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).
  • New restrictions are in place across Ontario. As of yesterday (Dec.19), capacity at indoor public settings has been rolled back to 50 per cent. Places like sports arenas, cinemas and large venues are not allowed to serve food and drink. Only wedding and funeral services are exempt. Indoor gatherings are capped at 10 and outdoor at 25.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has abandoned contact tracing given the number of cases in the latest COVID-19 surge. Close contacts will be sent instructions instead.
  • If you rode in a silver taxi van in Prescott last week you may have been exposed to COVID-19. The regional health unit says anyone who took a ride in A/1 Taxi between Thursday, Dec. 9 and last Wednesday (Dec. 15) should watch for coronavirus symptoms.
  • Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has tested positive for COVID-19. In a tweet, Watson says he’s asymptomatic and feeling okay but will be in isolation for the next eight days, he said Saturday. A member of the mayor’s staff had tested positive for the virus earlier last week and Watson had been self-isolating as a precaution.
  • The federal government has reinstated COVID-19 molecular tests for people travelling across the border back into Canada. This includes even short trips less than 72 hours. The feds also lifted a ban on people travelling from 10 South African countries.
  • If you plan to travel outside Canada despite the warning from the federal government not to do it, travel experts say you should check your travel insurance coverage. Some travellers have ended up buying multiple plans just to make sure they’re covered. Travel experts warn that the travel advisory could void some coverage.
  • The southern portion of Akwesasne is losing one of its two ambulances. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe says a number of industry factors including COVID-19 has led Seaway Valley Ambulance to notify SRMT that it will not continue its contract in 2022 due to a staffing shortage. The service has been under contract since 2016. The tribal area will still be covered by Akwesasne Mohawk Ambulance.
  • B.C. has introduced restrictions as Omicron spreads there. Venues that have 1,000 people or more are capped at 50 per cent capacity. Private indoor gatherings are capped to one household with 10 guests, provided everyone is vaccinated. The restrictions start today (Monday) until the end of January. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry believes B.C. is about a week behind Ontario in the spread of Omicron.
  • An infant has died from COVID-19 at a Montreal hospital. Sainte-Justine children’s hospital says the baby, who was less than two months old and healthy, died Thursday. The child is the first under 10 years old to die from coronavirus in Quebec.
  • The United States is now averaging about 118,000 new cases every day – up 45 per cent in the last month. A projection by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the country could see a total of 845,000 deaths by the first week of January.

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