- Health Canada says rare blood clotting syndrome may be linked to AstraZeneca vaccine, but vaccine benefits far outweigh the risks.
After a dip in new cases on Tuesday, Ontario’s daily COVID-19 count is again over 4,000.
Health Minister Christine Elliott reported 4,156 new cases Wednesday. The hot spots continue to be Toronto with 1,254, 593 in Peel, 476 in York and 248 in Durham.
Another 28 deaths reported, bring Ontario’s total to 7,610 since the pandemic began.
More than 3.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, Elliott said.
The provincial number is a jump of nearly 500 from the 3,670 new cases reported Tuesday. It is the third time in four days Ontario has reported more than 4,000 cases in a day.
Ontario’s hospitals continue to fill with COVID-19 cases, with 55 more admissions reported Wednesday bringing the total number of people in hospital to 1,877. Of those, 642 are in intensive care and 442 on ventilators, a jump of 20 from the day before.
Overloaded hospitals in Toronto have begun sending patients to Ottawa for treatment and even CHEO said Tuesday that it’s readying its wards to accept adult patients for the first time in its history.
Two health networks in Toronto that were vaccinating people living in COVID-19 hot spots say supply shortages are forcing them to cancel appointments and close immunization clinics.
Scarborough Health Network said it will be closing its Centennial College and Centenary hospital clinics on Wednesday until Monday, when a new shipment of vaccines is expected to arrive.
University Health Network said it has had to pause registration for appointments for adults over 18 who qualify for vaccination based on their postal code.
A UHN spokeswoman said that if the health network in downtown Toronto had sufficient and reliable supply of vaccine, its clinics could vaccinate 35,000 people per week.
Both organizations said they will reopen their clinics as soon as they receive more vaccines.
Ontario has received a total of 4,506,495 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, and administered 3,310,157 doses – or 73.45 per cent of the supply.
Latest COVID-19 news from Ottawa
Ottawa Public Health reported 329 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths on Wednesday.
That brings the city’s total number of cases to 20,596, with 2,755 of them active.
There have been 479 deaths.
OPH reported 92 patients in hospital with 23 of them in intensive care.
The number of outbreaks in the city’s health care institutions remains unchanged at 18, but there were four new outbreaks in schools and childcare settings reported for a total of 22. Ten outbreaks in the community remain ongoing, but OPH reported no new ones.
In other health units in the Ottawa region: Eastern Ontario, which includes Cornwall, had 37 new cases, for a total of 3,734; Kingston saw 15 new cases, for a total of 1,085; Leeds, Grenville had 18 (1,447); while Renfrew District and County reported one fewer case (usually a misdiagnosis) for a total of 499 cases.
Meanwhile, Ottawa council has reached a compromise on closing problematic parks that have been the scene of post-curfew congregating and partying.
City manager Steve Kanellakos issued a memo saying the city would put early closing times in place at “problematic” parks only with an OK from the councillor, effectively giving the ward representatives complete authority over the decision.
City parks are currently open between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.
A park identified for an early closing time could require people to leave by 9 p.m. or earlier and the city would post signs informing people about the temporary rollback.
Mayor Jim Watson this week asked the city to consider setting the park closing times at 8 p.m. to prevent people from congregating in the public spaces late at night during the provincial stay-at-home order.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, the Ottawa Hospital pleaded with people to follow public health guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, saying that the pandemic was pushing staff to the breaking point.
“Hospital staff are tired. They have been working hard throughout the pandemic to keep our community safe, but they are only human,” the hospital tweeted.
“We have already begun implementing plans to increase ICU capacity, but space and ventilators are not the issue. Staffing is the issue. ICU nurses and staff have very specific skills that take months to develop. We cannot train new ICU staff overnight.
“But this is how you can help us now: follow public health guidance and the provincial stay-at-home order…. If you can stay home, stay home.”
Nationally, Canada has recorded more than one million COVID-19 cases and 23,392 deaths as of Tuesday evening. There are 78,000 active cases of the disease, nearly half of them in Ontario.
COVID-19 vaccine news
Health Canada says a new and extremely rare blood clotting syndrome may be linked to Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine but the benefits of the vaccine still far outweigh the risks.
The conclusions come after the department’s drug regulatory experts completed a review of safety data, and are in line with those issued in Europe and the United Kingdom last week.
The decision comes the day after Canada reported its first-ever case of a blood clot in a patient who received the AstraZeneca vaccine in Quebec.
The syndrome, now known as VIPIT, occurs when the body’s immune system begins to attack blood platelets, leading to clots.
Scientists now know what is happening but they haven’t yet been able to explain how the vaccine may be causing it.
Health Canada says there is no evidence showing certain people are more at risk than others and the vaccine will remain authorized for all adults in Canada.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is reviewing this information and will decide if it needs to change its recommendation that the vaccine not be used on anyone under the age of 55.
Latest COVID-19 news in Quebec
Quebec reported 1,559 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
In addition, seven new deaths were reported, including one over the previous 24 hours.
The other deaths occurred between April 7 and 12.
There were 207 new cases registered in the Outaouais, for a total of 9,656 cases since the pandemic began. There were two more deaths, bringing the regional toll to 180.
There were 17 more people in hospital, for a total of 660, with 152 of the patients in ICU, an increase of two.
The province administered 68,192 additional vaccine doses, bringing the total to 2,075,808.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Quebec has reported 331,031 cases and 10,763 deaths linked to COVID-19.
-With files from The Canadian Press and Postmedia
Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Ottawa
Updated information on COVID-19 testing:
Brewer Ottawa Hospital/CHEO Assessment Centre:
Open seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
COVID-19 Drive-thru assessment centre 300 Coventry Rd.:
Open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, appointment only.
The Moodie Care and Testing Centre:
Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The Heron Care and Testing Centre:
Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Ray Friel Care and Testing Centre:
Open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Howard Darwin Centennial Arena on Merivale Road:
The site will remain open for at least two weeks, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for anyone older than four. Those wanting to be tested must make an appointment by calling 1-877-232-8828, a line scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Ontario vaccination portal:
: 1-888-999-6488. The Vaccine Information Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is capable of providing assistance in 300 languages.
Vaccine eligibility in Ottawa:
To book a pharmacy vaccine:
Eligible adults aged 55 and over (if 60 or older as of the day of vaccination or, if will be 60 or older in 2021) who are interested in booking an appointment, can visit ontario.ca/pharmacycovidvaccine to find a participating pharmacy.