What you need to know, at a glance
- Ontario reports 1,670 new cases, lowest daily count since last November
- 49 more deaths reported, bringing total to 5,958 people since pandemic began
- There have been 260,370 cases in Ontario, 232,480 considered resolved
- Hot spots remain Toronto, with 450 new cases, Peel (342), York (171) and Niagara 128
- The province reported 82 new cases in Ottawa. Provincial and Ottawa Public Health tallies can differ because data are pulled from different database systems at different times.
- In surrounding regions, there were 28 new cases identified in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, which includes Cornwall. There were two new cases in Kingston region and three new cases in Leeds, Grenville and no new cases in Renfrew County or Hastings public health units.
- There are 1,382 patients in Ontario hospitals, 377 in ICU, with 291 of them on ventilators
- Ontario administered 9,513 vaccinations in the previous 24 hour period, for a total of 305,330
- Ottawa Public Health reported 72 new infections Wednesday, after only 23 new cases confirmed Tuesday
- There have now been 13,072 total cases in the city, with 11,939 considered resolved.
- There were no new deaths reported and the toll remains 420.
- The number of active cases in Ottawa continues to decline, with 713 cases currently considered active.
- There are currently 36 patients in Ottawa hospitals, with six people in ICU
- Queensway Carleton Hospital boosts capacity by adding a second floor to offsite ward at Fairfield Inn & Suites in Kanata. The floor will add 20 beds to the 28 beds already opened at Fairfield in April.
- The European Union “is not imposing an export ban on vaccines or restricting the export of vaccines to third countries,” EU minister says
- The Canadian Armed Forces experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections
- Nearly 250 military members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the end of December
- For the first nine months of the pandemic, 676 troops were infected, about 75 per month.
- DND confirms outbreaks among missions to Latvia, Iraq, Ukraine, Egypt and Kosovo
- Some 1,100 out of the military’s roughly 100,000 members have been vaccinated, with priority to members working in health-care settings or those with health issues that pose greater risk of infection
- Quebec reported 1,328 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
- In addition, 53 new deaths were registered, including 16 over the past 24 hours.
- Hospitalizations were down to 1,290, with 87 people entering hospital, and 121 discharged.
- Among those in hospital, 221 are in intensive care – four more than the previous day.
- There were 4,320 vaccine doses administered on Wednesday, bringing the total to 229,219.
- There were 13 new cases and one new death reported in the Outaouais region.
- The Quebec government will not challenge a temporary court order granted Tuesday that exempts the homeless from a provincewide curfew imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19
Ontario is reporting its lowest number of new COVID-19 infections in two months with 1,670 new laboratory-confirmed cases Wednesday.
It is the lowest daily case total in the province since Nov. 26, when 1,478 new cases were reported.
There were 49 deaths related to coronavirus in the previous 24 hours in Ontario, where 5,958 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.
There have now been 260,370 total cases in Ontario, and 232,480 are considered resolved.
According to provincial data, 2,725 cases were resolved in the past 24-hour period.
Ontario conducted 55,191 tests with a province-wide positivity rate of four per cent.
The majority of cases are being identified in provincial hot spots, with 450 new cases in Toronto, 342 in Peel region, 171 in York region and 128 in Niagara.
There were 82 new cases identified in Ottawa. Only 32 new cases were identified in the city the previous day, according to provincial data.
There are often discrepancies between the daily provincial case totals and those reported by Ottawa Public Health, due to local and provincial health authorities pulling information from different database systems at different times of the day. OPH data is typically released in the early afternoon.
In surrounding regions, there were 28 new cases identified in the Eastern Ontario public health unit, which includes Cornwall, Hawkesbury and Alexandria, with another 18 new cases identified Tuesday. There were two new cases confirmed in Kingston and three new cases in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark.
No new cases were identified in Renfrew County or Hastings public health units.
There are currently 1,382 patients in Ontario hospitals, a number that has declined slightly this week, which began with 1,501 patients in hospital as of Monday.
There are 377 patients in intensive care units, and of those, 291 require a ventilator. Those numbers have remained relatively constant.
On the vaccination front, Ontario administered 9,513 doses in the previous 24 hour period, and has now administered 305,330 total vaccine doses.
Ottawa Public Health reported 72 new infections Wednesday, after only 23 new cases were confirmed the previous day.
There have now been 13,072 total cases in the city since the beginning of the pandemic, and of those, 11,939 are now considered resolved.
There were no new deaths reported and the toll remains 420.
The number of active cases in Ottawa continues to decline, with 713 cases currently considered active.
That number has dwindled steadily over the past several weeks. Last week began with 1,232 active cases as of Jan. 18. This week began with 939 active cases as of Monday.
The number of patients in Ottawa hospitals has remained relatively steady this week, however.
There are currently 36 patients in Ottawa hospitals (up three from Tuesday Monday) and six patients are in intensive care.
OPH reported one new outbreak at a child care facility, bringing the total number in that category to seven. Outbreaks were unchanged in congregate living facilities, with 32 active, and in community settings, with six.
The Queensway Carleton Hospital is expanding its capacity by adding a second floor to its offsite ward at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Kanata. The floor is expected to open Thursday, and will add 20 beds to the 28 beds already opened at Fairfield in April.
The Queensway Carleton is running above its capacity, and officials said the new offsite beds will increase availability of inpatient beds — meaning patients will spend less time in the emergency ward — and will also reduce the number of cancelled surgeries.
The off-site unit at the Fairfield Inn is reserved for patients whose medical needs have been met, but who cannot return home.
Dr. Robert Nichols, the hospital’s chief of geriatrics, said the hospital is focused on limiting exposure to COVID-19 patients.
“Fairfield has had no patients test positive (a zero per cent infection rate) for COVID-19 since opening last April,” said site manager Kim Schrader in a statement.
Each patient must test negative before being admitted to the Fairfield site, which has a staff that is dedicated to that site to lower the risk of transmission.
Most patients who are admitted to Fairfield stay for an average 94 days, hospital officials said, and since opening, the site has provided care to more than 120 patients for a total of 5,666 patient days.
Chief nursing officer Leah Levesque said while space had been a challenge in the past, “Now the challenge is finding staff to provide care the care as a result of more beds being available,” she said.
The hospital has added 92 beds since the pandemic began, and also operates the Moodie Drive testing centre.
“Since we only had 279 beds to begin with, this is a significant increase,” said Levesque.
Europe’s health minister has accused a vaccine company of not living up to its moral and legal obligations because of delivery delays.
And Stella Kyriakides, European commissioner for health and food safety, said the EU is in continuous discussions with Canada and its fellow G7 countries, and will not will not block European exports of vaccines to other countries.
“Let me be absolutely clear,” said Kyriakides, “The European Union is not imposing an export ban on vaccines or restricting the export of vaccines to third countries.”
European commissioner for health and food safetStella Kyriakides, European commissioner for health and food safet.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that he spoke earlier in the day with the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and “was reassured to hear that the transparency measures taken by Europe will not affect Pfizer and Moderna deliveries to Canada.”
Trudeau said he is very confident after recently speaking with the heads of Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca that all promised doses will arrive on schedule. But Trudeau would not explain why he believes that.
Vaccine maker AstraZeneca was blasted by Kyriakides during a briefing in Brussels. The company has said there will be a significant shortfall in the 100 million doses of its vaccine the European Union was expecting this winter.
“Not being able to ensure manufacturing capacity is against the letter and the spirit of our agreement. We reject the logic of first-come, first-served. That may work at the neighbourhood butcher’s, but not in contracts, and not in our advance purchase agreements,” said Kyriakides.
“Now, let me be crystal clear: The 27 European Union member states are united that AstraZeneca needs to deliver on its commitments in our agreements. We are in a pandemic. We lose people every day. These are not numbers. They’re not statistics. These are persons with families, with friends, and colleagues that are all affected as well,” Kyriakides said.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Armed Forces is grappling with a surge in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month.
Nearly 250 military members have tested positive for COVID-19 since the end of December, according to new figures provided by DND to The Canadian Press.
For the first nine months of the pandemic, a total of 676 troops were infected, or about 75 per month.
While the rash of new cases within the Armed Forces coincides with a similar surge across Canada and elsewhere in the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian soldiers deployed in Latvia.
Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier would not say whether the outbreak in Latvia is responsible for the surge in military cases of COVID-19, citing operational security.
However, he did confirm that Armed Forces members on other missions — in Iraq, Ukraine, Egypt and Kosovo — have tested positive for COVID-19 since March. Those are in addition to an unspecified number of troops who have been infected in Canada.
The federal government says around 1,100 out of the military’s roughly 100,000 members have been vaccinated, with priority given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19.
Quebec reported 1,328 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
In addition, 53 new deaths were registered, including 16 over the past 24 hours.
Hospitalizations were down to 1,290, with 87 people entering hospital, and 121 discharged.
Among those in hospital, 221 are in intensive care – four more than the previous day.
There were 4,320 vaccine doses administered on Wednesday, bringing the total to 229,219.
There were 13 new cases and one new death reported in the Outaouais region.
Meanwhile, the Quebec government will not challenge a temporary court order granted Tuesday that exempts the homeless from a provincewide curfew imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Junior health minister Lionel Carmant said in a tweet Wednesday that the government will modify its curfew decree to ensure those without shelter will not be subject to the measure.
Community workers and politicians had called on Premier Fraçcois Legault to exempt the homeless from the curfew after a man was found dead this month in a portable toilet not far from a Montreal homeless shelter he frequented.
Legault refused, saying police were showing discretion in dealing with the homeless and expressing concern that some people might pretend to be homeless in order to get around the 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.
But in response to a request filed Friday by a legal clinic representing the homeless, Quebec Superior Court Justice Chantal Masse ruled that although the curfew was introduced in the public interest, its current application imperils the lives, safety and health of the homeless.
The judge noted that the Crown did not challenge evidence presented to court showing tickets, which carry fines from $1,000 to $6,000, have already been given to homeless people for breaking the curfew.
With files from Postmedia and The Canadian Press