Canada·Coronavirus Brief

The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for April 16

The latest on the coronavirus outbreak for April 16.
  • Coronavirus tracker: Follow the pace of COVID-19 cases, vaccinations in Canada.
  • Ontario announces extended stay-at-home order, new restrictions, police powers amid surge of COVID-19.
  • More than 200 travellers fined for refusing to quarantine in hotels after landing in Canada.
  • Nunavut officials confirm COVID-19 outbreak in Iqaluit, with 13 active cases.
  • Read more: Canadian Medical Association issues 'urgent' call for unprecedented measures to fight pandemic; Here's what is known about why women seem more susceptible to rare blood clots following vaccination.
A health worker takes care of COVID-19 patients in an intensive care unit at Montlegia CHC clinic in Liege, Belgium, on Friday. Belgian hospitals are battling a third wave of COVID-19 just as restrictions around travel and non-essential businesses are poised to be eased. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

Moderna slashing vaccine deliveries to Canada, but Pfizer steps up with 8 million more doses

Moderna will send far fewer COVID-19 shots to Canada this month than originally planned as the company grapples with production issues at its facilities in Europe.

But its main competitor, Pfizer — which also produces a highly effective mRNA vaccine against the novel coronavirus — has said it will send millions more doses to Canada in May, June and beyond, a commitment that will more than cover the shortfall from Moderna.

Massachusetts-based Moderna was poised to send 1.2 million more doses to Canada this month, but that shipment has been cut back to just 650,000 shots.

While those vaccines were to arrive next week, the reduced shipment is now not expected until later this month — possibly as late as the first week of May.

And although Canada was expecting to receive 12.3 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine by the end of June, the company has now told officials that it will be one to two million shots short of that goal. Delivery of those doses will be pushed into the July-through-September period.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that while the delay in Moderna's shipments is disappointing, Canada has now signed an agreement with Pfizer for eight million more vaccine doses on top of what has already been promised.

Canada will receive four million more Pfizer doses in May, another two million in June and two million more in July, Trudeau said.

That means Canada's immunization campaign will have access to two million doses per week of the Pfizer product in May and 2.5 million shots per week in the month of June — vaccine stocks that are badly needed as the country grapples with a punishing third wave of cases.

The country is now expecting delivery of 48 to 50 million doses from all vaccine suppliers in the first six months of this year. Based on those figures, Trudeau said every Canadian adult should be able to receive at least one dose by the end of June.

From The National

Some of Ontario’s hardest-hit areas have limited access to vaccines in pharmacies

The National

24 days ago
2:03
A CBC News investigation has found giant gaps in access to COVID-19 vaccines at Ontario pharmacies, with many vulnerable neighbourhoods basically cut out. The glaring disparity between rich and poor regions is prompting calls for better access. 2:03

IN BRIEF

Ontario announces extended stay-at-home order, new restrictions, police powers amid surge of COVID-19

Ontario will extend its stay-at-home order to a total of six weeks and limit inter-provincial travel in a bid to stem the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases Friday, but won't step up supports for essential workers — despite modelling showing that support is crucial to salvage the summer.

Speaking at a news conference that was twice delayed on Friday, Premier Doug Ford also announced that non-essential construction will be shut down and outdoor amenities like golf and playgrounds will be restricted.

Outdoor gatherings with people outside a person's household will be prohibited starting Saturday. Effective Monday, capacity at religious gatherings, weddings and funerals will be limited to 10 people. Also beginning Monday, Ford said, there will be checkpoints at provincial borders with Quebec and Manitoba with exceptions for essential travel.

Police will also have the authority to ask anyone outside their residence to indicate their purpose for leaving their home and to provide their address. That includes stopping vehicles.

"I've never shied away from telling you the brutal, honest truth," Ford said. "We're losing the battle between the variants and vaccines ... We're on our heels."

Revised modelling suggests Ontario could see more than 10,000 cases per day by the end of May with the current measures in place and 100,000 vaccinations per day.

A six-week stay-at-home order with an average of 100,000 vaccinations per day "is the only way to flatten the curve," the modelling shows.

Ontario reported 4,812 more cases of COVID-19 this morning, the most ever on a single day, marking three straight days of new peaks.

Admissions to hospitals climbed to 1,955, while the number of people being treated for COVID-related illnesses in intensive care rose to 701, both all-time highs since the pandemic began.

Read more on the situation in Ontario

More than 200 travellers fined for refusing to quarantine in hotels after landing in Canada

Len Desharnais is one of hundreds of international travellers who have taken issue with Canada's hotel quarantine requirement, designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As of March 30, 219 tickets have been issued to air passengers entering Canada who refused to quarantine at a designated hotel, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). The fine for violating the requirement is $3,000.

Desharnais says he believes Canada's hotel quarantine requirement for international travellers during the pandemic is a fair idea.

But shortly after arriving in Vancouver from Bangkok on March 18, he said he decided not to check into his booked quarantine hotel because he felt proper COVID-19 safety precautions weren't in place based on his shuttle ride to the hotel and what he observed upon arrival.

"It's just a joke. It's not safe, as far as I'm concerned," said Desharnais, who has yet to receive a fine.

Several other travellers who did stay in quarantine hotels have complained to CBC News about what they consider lax COVID-19 safety measures, including crowded waiting areas and quarantining guests freely leaving their hotel rooms.

"There was no security whatsoever, nothing to prevent us from leaving the room," said snowbird Bob Ardern of Lunenburg, N.S. He stayed in a quarantine hotel in Toronto in early April, after returning from a winter stay in Curaçao, a Caribbean island.

PHAC spokesperson Tammy Jarbeau told CBC News the agency monitors the hotels by calling quarantining guests and periodically visiting the hotels to make sure they're adhering to the agency's health and safety requirements. Jarbeau said hotel guests can also lodge complaints with PHAC.

Read more about people skipping quarantine hotels

Nunavut officials confirm COVID-19 outbreak in Iqaluit, with 13 active cases

Nunavut's chief public health officer has declared a COVID-19 outbreak in Iqaluit as the number of active cases in the capital climbed to 13 on Friday.

The city confirmed its first case Wednesday night and 12 more cases were announced Friday morning. Dr. Michael Patterson declared the outbreak due to these new cases, but said Friday there isn't yet evidence of community transmission. Community transmission exists when public health cannot link all positive cases.

So far, all of Iqaluit's cases have been identified through the contact tracing process, but Patterson says there are some steps missing in the chain. The cases involve multiple households and the source of the virus has not yet been determined, he said.

Patterson also cautioned against blame, saying those who've tested positive work different jobs and have different backgrounds and circumstances.

Wednesday's case is an essential worker who did not have to isolate before entering the territory. However, the person has been in Iqaluit for more than two weeks, which Patterson says may mean they contracted the virus while in Iqaluit.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said he expects the case count in Iqaluit to rise further and asked residents in the city of roughly 8,000 people to stay home, get vaccinated if they haven't already and to only socialize with their household.

The government placed Iqaluit under strict new measures in response to the first case on Wednesday, including ordering all non-essential businesses and government offices to close and making masks mandatory.

Read more about the situation in Iqaluit

Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.

AND FINALLY...

Kanesatake to help vaccinate urban Innu living in Montreal

Kanesatake's emergency response unit has vaccinated just over half of its members, as well as members of other First Nations living in the greater Montreal area. (Submitted by Kanesatake Emergency Response Unit)

Access to the COVID-19 vaccine has been a challenge for urban Indigenous populations in Quebec, which is why some First Nations in the province are coming together to vaccinate members living off-reserve.

This weekend, around 150 Innu living in the greater Montreal area will be vaccinated at a clinic in Kanesatake, Que., after an agreement was signed between the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) community and nine Innu communities in the province.

"We believe they have every right to it as we do," said Robert Bonspiel, spokesperson for Kanesatake's emergency response unit. "Just because they're not living in their community, in their territory, doesn't mean they shouldn't have access to it, so we're happy to be of assistance."

The clinic is open April 16 and 17 to members of Pakua Shipi, Unamen Shipu, Nutashkuan, Ekuanitshit, Uashat mak Mani-utenam, Pessamit, Essipit, Mashteuiatsh and Matimekush Lac-John. Another clinic is also taking place April 17 in Wendake, Que., for Innu living in the Quebec City region.

All First Nations in Quebec have completed or begun administering first doses of vaccine to eligible members, and some have also begun second doses.

However, Quebec's Ministry of Health and Social Services has not prioritized Indigenous people living outside Indigenous communities for the vaccine even though the federal government and other provinces have.

Ghislain Picard, the Quebec and Labrador regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, said it is unrealistic for many members to return to their communities to get their shots but variants of concern and the third wave of the pandemic make the matter urgent.

"The vaccine is the best protection we can get, as quickly as we can," said Picard.

Read more on the vaccination drive for Indigenous people in Quebec

Find out more about COVID-19

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