Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Tuesday March 1, 2022

Here are the latest local, regional and national coronavirus headlines (COVID-19) for Tuesday, March 1, 2022:

  • Public Health Ontario reported three deaths on Monday to bring the total to 12,433. There are 849 people in hospital (~10 per cent of hospitals not reporting weekend bed census), 279 in ICU (down two from the previous day) and 171 on a ventilator (down 10 from the previous day). Although PHO reported 1,315 new cases Monday, the statistic is likely lower than the number of infections given the limited testing in Ontario. The total case count is 1,102,011.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total (as of 9 a.m. Feb. 28) is 3,283,537. The country has 36,537 deaths from the virus – 21 in the Yukon, 19 in the Northwest Territories, five in Nunavut, 2,851 in British Columbia, 3,898 in Alberta, 1,091 in Saskatchewan, 1,675 in Manitoba, 12,430 in Ontario, 13,974 in Quebec, 301 in New Brunswick, 15 in PEI, 64 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 193 in Nova Scotia.
  • There were six people in hospital in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area Monday (one fewer than Friday) with one in the ICU (no change from Friday). The number of deaths to date is 198. There are five (three fewer than Friday). Test positivity from limited testing in high-risk populations is 11.4 per cent (down 0.9 from Friday). Public Health Ontario says the cumulative case total for the region as of Monday is 13,615.
  • The southern portion of Akwesasne (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe) reported nine new positive cases Monday. The active case count is five. There is currently no one in hospital and there have been a total of 1,083 cases and seven deaths to date. For the northern section, although the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne promised Friday case counts, it has not updated its information since Feb. 18.
  • In its Monday report, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has seven people in hospital (two fewer than Friday), three in the ICU (two more than Friday) and one on a ventilator (no change from Friday). The number of deaths to date is 83 (two more than Friday). There were 81 cases added since Friday 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 Monday is 6,731. There are six lab-confirmed outbreaks in congregate care, communal living and other facilities (one more than Friday). A partial list of active .
  • Vaccines: Ontario 31,684,081 (+10,810, last update Feb. 28); EOHU 458,717 (last update Feb. 28, +378 from previous update Feb. 25); LGL 162,025 individuals living in LGL with first doses, 156,379 with second doses, 103,432 with third doses, 1,761 with fourth doses (new metric). (last update Feb. 20, +128 first doses, +685 second doses, +1,348 third doses since previous update Feb. 13).
  • Across the river in St. Lawrence County (which includes Massena, Potsdam and Canton), there were 136 newly reported cases Monday. The active case count dropped to 214. There are eight people in the hospital, four of which were admitted for COVID while four were admitted and then tested positive. There have been 176 deaths to date. Just over 60 per cent of the county population is fully vaccinated. The positivity rate is 5.3 per cent compared to 1.9 per cent across New York State.
  • This is the day most of Ontario’s COVID-19 health restrictions end. It’s been part of a three step plan to reopen since restrictions were imposed during the fifth wave of the pandemic fueled by the Omicron variant. The biggest change today (March 1) will be the ending of the proof of vaccination requirement for indoor non-essential services. However, business owners can choose to keep the proof of vaccination requirement in place if they want to.
  • Premier Doug Ford says the province isn’t “far away” from removing the masking mandate. He made the remark when asked about it during a news conference in Toronto about minimum wage for the digital platform workforce. Ford suggested it might be “over the next few weeks…maybe after March break.”
  • Canada’s chief public health officer says provincial and territorial governments should be prepared to bring back public health restrictions if needed. But Dr. Theresa Tam is hopeful the country is beyond the pandemic crisis and heading to recovery.
  • Restrictions on masking in indoor public spaces in Saskatchewan ended at 12:01 a.m. on Monday. It was the last of the health mandates as the government lifted proof of vaccination and test mandates two weeks ago.
  • A U.S. study has found the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine on the very young dropped significantly during the Omicron wave. The New York State Department of Health found protection against infection dropped from 68 per cent to 12 per for children ages 5 to 11. CNBC reports that protection from hospitalization in the same group fell from 100 per cent to 48 per cent in the same period. In older children in their teens and preteens, infection protection dropped from 66 to 51 per cent and for hospitalization it was 85 to 73 per cent. The study has not been peer reviewed as scientists have wanted to get their information out due to the urgency of the pandemic.

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