Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesda…

Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesda…




The latest:

COVID-19 hospitalizations hit new highs in Canada’s two most populous provinces, officials reported Tuesday, with 4,183 total hospitalizations in Ontario and 3,417 hospitalizations in Quebec.

The updated hospital information came as many students in both provinces returned to in-person education on Tuesday, after a planned return Monday was delayed by a powerful winter storm. 

Schoolchildren had been learning remotely since the end of the holiday break amid high COVID-19 transmission. For some in the Greater Toronto area, far away education continued in the aftermath of the storm, while others had a snow day before an expected return to classrooms on Wednesday.

Quebec on Tuesday reported 3,417 COVID-19 hospitalizations. According to an update posted online, 289 people were in intensive care units. The update came as the province reported 89 additional deaths and 5,143 additional lab-confirmed situations.

A young boy in an elementary school gets ready for class as Quebec students get back to school in Montreal on Tuesday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Health Minister Christian Dubé is expected to keep up a COVID-19 briefing later Tuesday alongside the province’s interim public health director. The briefing comes as Quebec expands its proof of vaccination system to liquor and cannabis stores.

Ontario’s COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday showed 4,183 hospitalizations, with 580 people in intensive care. The province also reported 37 additional deaths and 7,086 additional lab-confirmed situations.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, said Tuesday that it’s too early to know if the Omicron-pushed wave has peaked in the city.

“While it is nevertheless too early to know for sure, we are seeing initial indicators that the rate of infection may have plateaued or started to decline,” she said, adding that there’s nevertheless a long way to go.

The level of viral activity in the community is concerning and is nevertheless putting a “meaningful strain” on the health-care system, she said.

In both Quebec and Ontario, access to lab-based PCR tests is extremely limited, which method the true case numbers in both provinces are believed to be considerably higher than the posted figures.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH  Omicron brings hopeful signs of pandemic’s end with plenty of caveats: 

Omicron brings hopeful signs of pandemic’s end with plenty of caveats

There is some optimism the Omicron wave could signal the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but experts also point out many caveats because it’s unclear how long immunity lasts and if it will protect against future variants. 5:01

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click by to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every vicinity — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador health officials on Tuesday reported two additional COVID-19 deaths. The province also reported 14 hospitalizations, including three people receiving basic care. The update came as the province reported 295 additional lab-confirmed situations.

Health officials in Nova Scotia on Monday reported four additional deaths and said 73 people were in hospital receiving care in a COVID-19 unit, including 13 in intensive care.  The province also reported an additional 495 lab-confirmed situations.

In New Brunswick, two deaths were reported on Monday. The province, which is currently under tight restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19, reported a total of 113 hospitalizations — including 16 people receiving intensive care. The provincial dashboard also showed an additional 405 lab-confirmed situations.

Prince Edward Island hospitals were treating seven people in hospital for COVID-19, the province reported Monday, including one in ICU. Island health officials also reported an additional 231 new lab-confirmed situations of COVID-19.

In the North, Nunavut on Tuesday reported one additional COVID-19 death. The update came as Premier P.J. Akeeagok announced the federal government would be deploying three nurses and contact tracers to assist with the current COVID-19 wave. The contact tracers will work from outside the territory.

Health officials in Yukon and the Northwest Territories had not in addition provided updated information for the day.

In the Prairie provinces, health officials in Manitoba on Monday reported 20 COVID-19 related deaths since the last posted update on Friday. Hospitalizations in the province rose to 601, with 47 people with COVID-19 receiving intensive care. 

As Manitoba students returned to in-class learning yesterday, the Winnipeg School Division said it was nevertheless waiting for some of the promised pandemic prevention supplies. The province has promised more masks and rapid tests, and asked schools to create more space so students can stay distanced from each other.

There were no new deaths reported in Saskatchewan on Monday. The province said total COVID-19 hospitalizations stood at 167, with 13 people in intensive care units. According to a news release from health officials, there were 1,347 additional lab-confirmed situations of COVID-19.

In Alberta, the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 surpassed 1,000 patients for the first time since last fall. Provincial figures show there were 1,007 people in hospital, with 94 patients receiving intensive care. The reported death toll rose by 23 people over a period of three days, the province reported.

Meanwhile, the province’s health minister, Jason Copping, said on social media that he tested positive on a rapid test after displaying mild symptoms last week and is isolating at home. 

In British Columbia, the top doctor has extended a COVID-19 order that will keep gyms and fitness centres closed before providing more details on Tuesday. That’s when restrictions were set to expire, but Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that they believed COVID-19 hospitalizations were expected to spike after situations within the community had peaked. Restrictions on gatherings and events will stay in place.

Health officials in B.C. on Monday reported 22 additional deaths since Friday. COVID-19 figures from the province showed 819 people in hospital, with 99 in intensive care units. The province also reported an additional 5,625 new situations of COVID-19 over a three-day period.

-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:55 p.m. ET

What’s happening around the world

A man wearing personal protective equipment sits inside a means in front of a temporarily closed pet shop in Hong Kong after the government announced it will euthanize around 2,000 hamsters in the city. (Tryone Siu/Reuters)

As of early Tuesday afternoon, approximately 331.4 million situations of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.5 million.

In the Asia-Pacific vicinity, Hong Kong authorities said they will kill about 2,000 small animals, including hamsters, after several tested positive for the coronavirus at a pet store where an employee was also infected. They said the city will also stop the sale of hamsters and the import of small mammals.

The pet shop employee tested positive for the Delta variant on Monday, and several hamsters imported from the Netherlands at the store tested positive in addition. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said animals do not appear to play a meaningful role in spreading the coronavirus. But Hong Kong authorities said they are not ruling out transmission between animals and humans.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the governors of Tokyo and surrounding prefectures agreed to request further measures from the central government to help counter rising infections.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates on Monday reported 2,989 additional situations of COVID-19 and four deaths.

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Monday reported 1,691 new situations of COVID-19 and 87 additional deaths — though officials noted that the majority of those deaths had not occurred in the past 48 hours.

Due to the current audit exercise by the National Department of Health (NDoH), there may be a backlog of <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#COVID19</a> mortality situations reported. Today, the NDoH reports 87 deaths and of these, 25 occurred in the past 24 – 48 hours. This brings the total fatalities to 93 451 to date.

&mdash;@HealthZA

In the Americas, Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 59 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the official death toll in the country since the pandemic began to 301,469.

In Europe, Russian authorities are shortening the required isolation period for people infected with COVID-19 from 14 to seven days as the country faces another surge of COVID-19 situations, this time pushed by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Deputy chief Minister Tatyana Golikova, who runs the country’s coronavirus task force, said Tuesday that health officials were “optimizing our approaches to quarantine and testing of our citizens, including shortening the quarantine period to seven days.”

Golikova additional that other policy changes will be adopted in the coming days, without elaborating. She also didn’t explain the rationale for cutting the isolation period. Earlier rules required a two-week isolation period for those who test positive, with a mandatory follow-up test on day 11.

Russia already has by far Europe’s worst death toll in the pandemic at over 322,000 deaths by its official tally, a number that other statistics suggest is a meaningful undercount.

The daily number of coronavirus infections confirmed in Russia has doubled over the past week, going from over 15,000 on Jan. 10 to 31,252 on Tuesday. Officials say the surge could end up as the country’s biggest in addition but so far haven’t announced any major restrictions to stem it.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

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