Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday February 18, 2022

Here are the latest local, regional and national coronavirus headlines (COVID-19) for Friday, February 18, 2022:

  • Public Health Ontario reported 36 deaths on Thursday to bring the total to 12,204. There are 1,342 people in hospital (all hospitals reporting), 356 in ICU (down eight from the previous day) and 229 on a ventilator (down three from the previous day). Although PHO reported 2,327 new cases Thursday, the statistic is likely lower than the number of infections given the limited testing in Ontario. The total case count is 1,080,937.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total (as of 9 a.m. Feb. 17) is 3,217,184. The country has 35,787 deaths from the virus – 20 in the Yukon, 17 in the Northwest Territories, five in Nunavut, 2,777 in British Columbia, 3,804 in Alberta, 1,012 in Saskatchewan, 1,642 in Manitoba, 12,167 in Ontario, 13,790 in Quebec, 296 in New Brunswick, 15 in PEI, 60 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 182 in Nova Scotia.
  • One additional death was reported Thursday in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area bringing the regional total to 190. There are eight people in hospital (three fewer than Wednesday) with two in the ICU (two fewer than Wednesday). There are nine institutional outbreaks (two fewer than Wednesday). Test positivity from limited testing in high-risk populations is 14.5 per cent (down 0.2 from Wednesday). Public Health Ontario says the cumulative case total for the region as of Thursday is 13,337.
  • The Akwesasne health department report as of Friday (Feb. 11): 785 cases, seven active, 12 deaths to date. (The Akwesasne health department is now doing case updates weekly on Fridays)
  • In its Wednesday report, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has nine people in hospital (no change from Monday), seven in the ICU (one more than Monday) and zero on a ventilator (no change from Monday). The number of deaths to date is 80 (no change from Monday). There were 70 cases added since Monday but due to limited testing, the number of cases locally is likely higher than what is being reported. Local case numbers are updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Public Health Ontario says the cumulative case count for the region as of Thursday is 6,411. There are 10 lab-confirmed outbreaks in congregate care, communal living and other facilities (four fewer than Monday). A partial list of active institutional outbreaks.
  • Vaccines: Ontario 31,360,818 (+31,735, last update Feb. 16, Feb. 17 update not available due to technical issues at PHO); EOHU 456,320 (last update Feb. 17, +477 from previous update Feb. 16); LGL 161,897 individuals living in LGL with first doses, 155,694 with second doses, 102,084 with third doses. (last update Feb. 13, +305 first doses, +1,349 second doses, +2,359 third doses since previous update Feb. 6).
  • Ottawa police cracked down Thursday to stop the so-called “Freedom Convoy.” They set up roughly 100 checkpoints in a secure area – keeping people out of the area unless they live or work in the area around Parliament Hill. Police have already made some arrests in relation to the demonstration, including one of its organizers.
  • The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has asked for a judicial review of the federal government’s move to invoke the Emergencies Act. While not trying to minimize the impact of the trucker protests, the group says it’s unclear if the demonstrations are endangering the lives, health or safety of Canadians. In a statement, Eastern Ontario Conservative MP Eric Duncan says the government’s move to enact the Emergencies Act sets a “dangerous precedent” and he plans to vote against it.
  • A class-action lawsuit against the truck protest in Ottawa is being expanded to go after the people inside Canada and outside that have donated to the demonstration. Lawyer Paul Champ’s claim has been expanded to $306 million.
  • As cases of Omicron peak in the Yukon, the territory is joining other provinces in lifting gathering restrictions and capacity limits. Movie theaters, museums and personal care services like salons won’t have capacity limits starting today (Friday) and bars and restaurants will return to normal hours. But indoor religious services will be at half-capacity but proof of vaccination won’t be required.
  • For those who didn’t want to get an mRNA vaccine, there’s a protein-based option now. Health Canada has approved the two-shot Novavax vaccine. The agency says it’s worked well against the Omicron variant and, in trials, it has an efficacy of 100 per cent for preventing severe disease.

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