Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Friday March 4, 2022

Here are the latest local, regional and national coronavirus headlines (COVID-19) for Friday, March 4, 2022:

  • Public Health Ontario reported 17 deaths on Thursday to bring the total to 12,497. Day to day change was 19 as two older cases were added through data clean-up. There are 834 people in hospital (all hospitals reporting), 267 in ICU (down six from the previous day) and 149 on a ventilator (down 16 the previous day). Although PHO reported 2,262 new cases Thursday, the statistic is likely lower than the number of infections given the limited testing in Ontario. The total case count is 1,107,408.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total (as of 9 a.m. March 3) is 3,303,635. The country has 36,729 deaths from the virus – 22 in the Yukon, 19 in the Northwest Territories, five in Nunavut, 2,883 in British Columbia, 3,939 in Alberta, 1,091 in Saskatchewan, 1,682 in Manitoba, 12,478 in Ontario, 14,016 in Quebec, 306 in New Brunswick, 16 in PEI, 66 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 206 in Nova Scotia.
  • There were six in hospital in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area Thursday (one fewer than Wednesday) with zero in the ICU (no change from Wednesday). The number of deaths to date is 201. There are four institutional outbreaks (no change from Wednesday). Test positivity from limited testing in high-risk populations is 11.2 per cent (down 0.5 from Wednesday). Public Health Ontario says the cumulative case total for the region as of Thursday is 13,670.
  • In its Wednesday report, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has five people in hospital (two fewer than Monday), two in the ICU (one fewer than Monday) and two on a ventilator (one more than Monday). The number of deaths to date is 83 (no change from Monday). There were 50 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 6,790. There are six lab-confirmed outbreaks in congregate care, communal living and other facilities (no change from Monday). A partial list of active institutional outbreaks.
  • Vaccines: Ontario 31,736,824 (+17,291, last update March 3); EOHU 459,473 (last update March 3, +217 from previous update March 2); LGL 162,138 individuals living in LGL with first doses, 156,815 with second doses, 104,645 with third doses, 1,952 with fourth doses. (last update Feb. 27, +113 first doses, +436 second doses, +1,213 third doses, +191 fourth doses since previous update Feb. 20).
  • In St. Lawrence County, New York (which includes Massena, Potsdam and Canton), there were 54 newly reported cases Thursday. The active case count went down by one to 235. There are 14 people in the hospital, three more than the previous day. 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 1.8 per cent across New York State.
  • Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore says the province could end its mask mandate by the end of the month. Moore also noted they are keeping an eye on the BA.2 variant of Omicron, which is thought to be 30 per cent more transmissible than regular Omicron (BA.1). He believes it will become the dominant strain in the next couple of weeks.
  • The Seaway International Bridge Corporation has ended its no-touch protocol for bridge passes. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne says toll attendants started verifying bridge passes on Tuesday. The SIBC will still conduct COVID-19 protocols, including wiping down the cards before returning them to motorists.
  • The southern portion of Akwesasne is lifting its mask mandate as of today. “Wearing of masks is still encouraged, but it is now an individual decision based on various factors – including personal vaccination status, personal health conditions, health conditions of household members, and attendance at large gatherings,” the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe said in a statement. The SRMT says it’s following New York State’s decision to remove masking rules last month. The number of active cases have been fewer than 10 and just over 71 per cent of residents are vaccinated. Masking will still be required in high risk settings like nursing homes and hospitals.
  • Canada’s poison control center has received 50 calls of people either drinking or getting rapid antigen testing solution on their skin. Health Canada issued a warning. There were no serious injuries reported.
  • St. Lawrence College will be keeping its proof of vaccination policy in place for its three campuses in Cornwall, Brockville and Kingston through the end of April. College President Glenn Vollebregt says the Ministry of Education and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore supports the college’s approach.

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