Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Wednesday December 29, 2021

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Wednesday, December 29, 2021:

  • There were 8,825 new cases reported in Ontario on Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted. That brings the total to around 715,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the province. Elliott says 491 people are in hospital with 187 in ICU. The seven-day rolling average of ICU patients is 171. There have been just over 26.6 million vaccine doses given with over 144,000 shots on Monday. Public Health Ontario will report statistics from Dec. 25-28 in detail, including deaths and testing numbers, on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total as of Monday (Dec. 27) was 2,026,399 with 30,112 deaths across the country. Health Canada won’t be updating data until 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29.
  • Quebec posted another daily case record on Tuesday with 12,833 new cases, driven by the Omicron variant.
  • The Eastern Ontario Health Unit added 71 cases Tuesday – 26 in Prescott-Russell, 22 in SD&G and 23 in Cornwall – to bring the regional total to 7,391 confirmed cases, of which 902 are active (49 more than Monday) and 6,355 are resolved (22 more than Monday). The number of deaths to date is 134. There are five people in hospital (four more than Monday) and one in the ICU (no change from Monday). There are 14 institutional outbreaks (three more than Monday; five long-term care or group homes, eight schools and one daycare.). Testing increased 314 to 179,680. The breakdown of cases is: Prescott-Russell 2,855 cases (439 active), SD&G 1,749 cases (241 active), Cornwall 2,180 cases (210 active) and Akwesasne (ON/QC) 607 cases (12 active)(Akwesasne health department report as of Dec. 23: 614 total cases, 15 active, 12 deaths to date).
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added 38 cases Tuesday to bring the regional total to 3,128 cases, of which 556 are active (14 more than Friday) and 2,507 are recovered (24 more than Friday). The number of deaths to date is 65. There are four people in hospital (one more than Monday), two in the ICU (no change from Monday) and two a ventilator (no change from Monday). There are no active institutional outbreaks. The community case breakdown is: Lanark County East 590 cases (84 active), Lanark County West 651 cases (105 active), Leeds-Grenville Central 529 cases (123 active), Leeds-Grenville East 640 cases (143 active), Leeds-Grenville West 457 cases (86 active) and Unknown/Out of Region 54 cases (15 active).
  • Vaccines: Ontario 26,343,050 (+229,743, last update Dec. 24); EOHU 382,349 (last update Dec. 28, +1,373 from previous update Dec. 27); 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).
  • The Ontario government is reviewing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on isolation requirements for positive Omicron cases. The CDC recommendations isolation for five days, down from 10, since scientific data shows that people are contagious about 1-2 days prior to symptoms showing and then 2-3 days after those symptoms show up. The five days of isolation should be followed by five days of wearing a mask if they are asymptomatic after the first five days. Ontario Ministry of Health Anna Miller told Newswatch, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore is reviewing the data “against Ontario-specific evidence” and will provide an update later this week. Moore cancelled a news conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
  • Access to Ontario long-term care homes by general visitors will be paused starting Thursday (Dec. 30). However, designated caregivers will be allowed to enter. The government is also pausing all social day absences for all residents. Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips says “the time for action is now” given the community spread of the Omicron variant and the susceptibility of infection for older Ontarians. Phillips says 41 long-term care home are experiencing outbreaks as of Tuesday.
  • Federal Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19. O’Regan tweeted the results from a rapid test and says he will stay in isolation and follow public health guidelines. He’s the second Trudeau cabinet member to come down with the virus after Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly made a similar announcement last week.
  • Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is urging people to reconsider New Year’s Eve plans given the surge of cases. Kenney says the fight against COVID-19 is not over.

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