Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Thursday, December 23, 2021:
- There have been 661,563 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 4,383 cases from the previous day (VAX: 746 unvaccinated, 172 partially vaccinated, 3,243 fully vaccinated, 222 unknown). There have been 623,142 people recovered from the virus while 10,133 have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 20,686,580 of which 58,038 have pending results.
- (Health Canada did not update national statistics at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The following was compiled by Newswatch using official provincial/territorial websites.) Canada’s coronavirus case total is 1,922,189. The country has 30,112 deaths from the virus – 14 in the Yukon, 12 in the Northwest Territories, four in Nunavut, 2,409 in British Columbia, 3,299 in Alberta, 944 in Saskatchewan, 1,368 in Manitoba, 10,133 in Ontario, 11,652 in Quebec, 149 in New Brunswick, 18 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 110 in Nova Scotia.
- The Eastern Ontario Health Unit added 89 cases Wednesday – 32 in Prescott-Russell, 30 in SD&G and 27 in Cornwall – to bring the regional total to 6,641 confirmed cases, of which 287 are active (64 more than Tuesday) and 6,220 are resolved (31 more than Tuesday). The number of deaths to date is 134. There are four people in hospital and one in the ICU (no changes from Tuesday). There are six institutional outbreaks (no change from Tuesday). Testing increased 322 to 178,337. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 2,463 cases (109 active), SD&G 1,559 cases (89 active), Cornwall 2,012 cases (77 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 607 cases (12 active)(Akwesasne health department reported no new cases Tuesday: 609 total cases, 12 active, 12 deaths to date).
- The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added 50 cases Wednesday to bring the regional total to 2,637 cases, of which 219 are active (37 more than Tuesday) and 2,353 are recovered (13 more than Tuesday). The number of deaths to date is 65. There are two people in hospital (one fewer than Tuesday) and one in the ICU and one on a ventilator (no changes since Tuesday). There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 515 cases (33 active), Lanark County West 555 cases (31 active), Leeds-Grenville Central 427 cases (54 active), Leeds-Grenville East 512 cases (53 active), Leeds-Grenville West 382 cases (41 active) and Unknown/Out of Region 39 cases (seven active).
- Vaccines: Ontario 25,860,049 (+230,516, last update Dec. 22); EOHU 372,763 (last update Dec. 22, +3,597 from previous update Dec. 21); LGL 157,816 individuals living in LGL with first doses, 149,722 with second doses, 30,828 with third doses. (last update Dec. 19, +1,385 first doses, +292 second doses, +14,199 third doses since previous update Dec. 12).
- As the Eastern Ontario Health Unit rolls out third doses, the health authority says it still has roughly 1,500 available spots of the 7,000 vaccine appointments over the next week and a half.
- EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis believes Omicron is now the dominant strain in new COVID-19 cases locally. Most of the cases had people experiencing mild symptoms, he says.
- The City of Cornwall has closed all indoor recreational facilities, including the Aquatic Center, the Benson Center and the Civic Complex, to deal with the spread of Omicron. The closures will last until at least Jan. 4. Outdoor facilities are still open.
- The City of Brockville has made changes to its services in response to Omicron. City hall, the Gord Watts Municipal Center and the Brockville Cemetery are accessible by appointment only. The city museum and library are both closed to the public. The library has curbside service and computers will be available. The Brockville Arts Center is also closed and skating at the Brockville Memorial Center is cancelled.
- The Town of Westport has made an emergency declaration. Town hall, the library and the Westport Communications Center are closed until Jan. 4. The library and town hall will still have curbside service.
- Quebec will limit gatherings inside homes to six people, including two family friends, starting Boxing Day. Restaurants, already running at half capacity, will have to close at 10 p.m. and seating will be limited to six per table. Premier Francois Legault announced the measures Wednesday to respond to an exponential increase in cases. There were 6,361 new cases yesterday and roughly 9,000 new cases will be reported later today (Thursday).
- Manitoba will have students wait two days before returning to school after the holidays so it can assess the risk of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Classes ended Wednesday and were supposed to return on Jan. 10. That’s been pushed to Jan. 12.
- The federal government is extending rent and wage aid packages for workers and businesses dealing with future lockdowns. The government is loosening eligibility rules too in order to help those affected by capacity restrictions.
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