Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Monday March 21, 2022

Here are the latest local, regional and national coronavirus headlines (COVID-19) for Monday, March 21, 2022:

  • Public Health Ontario reported eight deaths Friday, 13 on Saturday and three on Sunday to bring the total to 12,332. There are 551 people in hospital (~10 per cent of hospitals not reporting weekend bed census), 182 in ICU (down 17 from Friday) and 97 on a ventilator (no change from Friday). Although PHO reported 1,680 new cases Sunday, the statistic is likely lower than the number of infections given the limited testing in Ontario. The total case count is 1,138,201.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total (as of 9 a.m. March 18) is 3,385,054. The country has 37,099 deaths from the virus – 23 in the Yukon, 20 in the Northwest Territories, five in Nunavut, 2,960 in British Columbia, 4,019 in Alberta, 1,176 in Saskatchewan, 1,723 in Manitoba, 12,305 in Ontario, 14,232 in Quebec, 320 in New Brunswick, 16 in PEI, 82 in Newfoundland & Labrador and 218 in Nova Scotia.
  • There is one people in hospital in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area as of Friday (two fewer than Thursday) with zero in the ICU (no change from Thursday). The number of deaths to date is 209 (one more than Thursday). There are two institutional outbreaks (no change from Thursday). Test positivity from limited testing in high-risk populations is 10.5 per cent (up 0.9 from Thursday) based on 185,167 tests (27 more than Thursday). Public Health Ontario says the cumulative case total for the region as of Sunday is 13,974.
  • In its Friday report, the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit has 16 people in hospital (four more than Wednesday), eight in the ICU (one more than Wednesday) and four on a ventilator (no change from Wednesday). The number of deaths to date is 86 (one more than Wednesday). There were 63 cases added since Wednesday 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 Sunday is 7,114. There are five lab-confirmed outbreaks in congregate care, communal living and other facilities (one more than Wednesday). A partial list of active institutional outbreaks.
  • Vaccines: Ontario 31,969,794 (+11,936, last update March 20); EOHU 461,569 (last update March 18, +127 from previous update March 17); LGL 162,211 individuals living in LGL with first doses, 157,312 with second doses, 105,502 with third doses, 2,333 with fourth doses. (last update March 13, +33 first doses, +208 second doses, +397 third doses, +170 fourth doses since previous update March 6).
  • As masks are no longer required in most public spaces in Ontario as of today, local Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis says we’re “now in a transition phase towards more normalcy.” But he says we’re still in a pandemic and mask remain and effective tool to keep COVID-19 numbers down. Roumeliotis recommends using them in places where there’s a higher risk of transmission; crowded indoor and poorly ventilated places or close contact with unvaccinated or sick people. “For the time being, I will personally continue wearing a mask when I find myself in crowded indoor spaces and poorly ventilated places,” the doctor said.
  • The Toronto District School Board is advising students to still wear masks when they come to school today even though they are no longer mandated. The TDSB is the largest board in the province and was among several boards asking the government to keep masking in place at schools.
  • While Nova Scotia drops its mask mandate in most public places today, it will stay in place at schools. Premier Tim Houston says they will remain mandatory until the middle of next month.
  • The city manager for Ottawa says the municipality spent more than $36 million over three weeks in city resources and policing to deal with the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest.
  • A regular weekend anti-vaccine protest in a Calgary neighbourhood has turned into what residents call a toxic mix of demonstrators and extremists. Police are calling a clash last weekend between the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association and the demonstrators a public safety issue. The city has given police more power to deal with the protest.
  • The head doctor for Indigenous Services Canada says cases and hospitalizations would be have been higher during the pandemic had it not been for the efforts of chiefs, councils and elders. Dr. Tom Wong commended First Nations for their work as the second anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic passed.
  • China is dealing with an Omicron surge. It recorded two COVID-19 deaths – the first ones since January last year – a just over 2,100 new infections Saturday, primarily through community transmission. The total number of deaths is 4,638.

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