Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday
Quebec imposes new curbs, Ontario invests half a billion into long-term care
- Worldwide death toll from COVID-19 has passed one million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
- Federal government to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests.
- Many doctors concerned flu vaccine supply won't meet demand
- Ontario announces more than $500 million in funding for long-term care.
- Quebec tightening COVID-19 restrictions as 3 regions put on red alert.
- Montreal launches new campaign to encourage young people to get tested.
- Waiting for 'herd immunity' would cost lives, Alberta's top doctor says.
- A third mine in Nunavut reports a presumptive case of COVID-19.
- Authorities concerned over COVID-19 outbreak aboard a cargo ship off Australia.
- 3 players, 5 team personnel of NFL's Tennessee Titans test positive for COVID-19.
- The U.S. is reporting increased infections in school-aged children and teens.
Quebec has ordered new restrictions on bars and restaurants in coronavirus hot spots deemed in the "red" zone, the highest alert level possible, while Ontario's premier warned of a "more complex" second wave, as Canada's two most-populous provinces saw big increases in COVID-19 cases.
Quebec, the province hit hardest by the coronavirus, will curb social gatherings in homes and limit bar and restaurant service to takeout for 28 days in Montreal and two other regions, Premier François Legault said on Monday. The province reported 799 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths on Tuesday.
The province also saw its highest single-day jump in hospitalizations since May on Tuesday, with an increase of 35.
"It's time to take action," Legault told reporters in Montreal on Monday. "The situation is at the limit."
The restrictions, which start on Thursday, will not close most businesses or schools. Libraries, movie theatres and museums will close, and protesters will have to wear masks during demonstrations, he said.
WATCH | Legault announces red alerts for 3 regions:
Montreal's public health director says young people need to do a better job of following public health guidelines, as the main causes of community transmission are linked to private gatherings and parties.
Dr. Mylène Drouin said Tuesday the city is launching a social media campaign targeting those aged 18-24 to encourage them to get tested and answer the phone if public health is calling with results.
"What we see is that we have a high positivity rate in this group, but a low proportion of tests at this time, so that means that we do not capture all the cases and that we are missing cases where we can make an intervention," Drouin said at a news conference, as Montreal moves into the red alert zone.
Only half of those who are reached for contact tracing follow up quickly, she said.
Quebec will incorporate the federal COVID-19 alert app in the coming days, said the province's Health Minister Christian Dubé at a news conference Tuesday. Agreeing to adopt the app is a reversal from the government's previous stance when it initially opposed the technology.
However, Dubé acknowledged the province would need to convince enough Quebecers to use the app for it to be effective. He also says he wants to meet with opposition parties to garner support for the app before it's launched in the province.
The Liberal spokesperson on the file, Marwah Rizqy, said that while the app is helpful, she's concerned that Quebec doesn't have the testing capacity to help those who find out they've been exposed via the app.
"If you're going to wait hours and hours, and then wait 10 days for the result, then it won't help us," she said.
Currently, four provinces are using the app: Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
Earlier on Monday, Ontario reported a record daily high of 700 cases, with a bit more than a day's worth of samples still pending at labs.
WATCH | Premier Doug Ford announces new rules around long-term care visits:
On Tuesday, the province reported 554 new infections, with Toronto leading case numbers at 251. Hospitalizations also rose by nine from the day before for a total of 137 on Tuesday, with 30 of those individuals in the ICU.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday that changes are coming to long-term care visiting rules in areas that are seeing high levels of community transmission of COVID-19.
As of Oct 5, only staff, essential visitors and essential caregivers can visit the care facilities, Ford said.
Officials indicated that the new guidelines would apply in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa and did not mention other areas. Two people maximum can be designated as essential caregivers, the provinces said.
Ford also told reporters that Ontario will be investing $540 million into the long-term care system. That funding will be used for helping the homes with containment measures, staffing supports, renovations for infection control and obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE).
All long-term care homes will be guaranteed a two-month supply of PPE, he said.
But according to the NDP, the plan "does very little to recruit or retain staff" and "falls far, far short" of investing in the extra help needed for long-term care facilities.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford has left seniors in long-term care homes "vulnerable" as his government "scrambles" to deal with the second wave.
She said personal support workers have abandoned the profession due to illness, low wages and because of the health risks associated with working in the care homes, and that the province's plan does not make up for staffing shortages.
The Ontario Hospital Association called on the province to bring back restrictions in some regions on indoor dining and bars, places of worship, weddings, gyms and other non-essential businesses.
Physicians also warn Ontario's testing and contact tracing efforts are falling short as health professionals grapple with increased community spread particularly in virus hot spots such as Toronto and Peel Region.
WATCH | Family looks to promised reforms to protect elderly in long-term care:
More than half of those getting tested are not hearing about their results for two days or more on average, and close to half of individuals who test positive aren't being reached by contact tracers within 24 hours, according to Toronto Public Health data.
"Sometimes, we are unable to reach a client despite numerous attempts," said Toronto's associate medical officer of health, Dr. Vinita Dubey, in a statement to CBC News.
Dr. Dominik Mertz, an infectious disease specialist at McMaster University in Hamilton, said that while hiccups in contact tracing are examined, the province needs to return to Stage 2 to curb the spread while new resources are allocated.
Canada garnered praise earlier this month after it reported zero coronavirus deaths for the first time since March. But health officials are now warning that some local authorities could be overwhelmed unless the wave of infections is curbed.
In Alberta, where cases have also been rising, the provincial government postponed dozens of surgeries and imposed visiting restrictions at a Calgary hospital because of an outbreak. After the virus spread at the Foothills hospital, 31 patients and 27 staff have confirmed infections as of Tuesday, according to Alberta Health Services (AHS). Four patients have died.
WATCH | Workplace, private gatherings source of many new COVID-19 cases, says specialist:
Another 290 people are in isolation as a result of the outbreak, which is an increase of 154 from the previous update on Friday.
As a result, nine surgeries scheduled for Tuesday and 39 scheduled for Monday have been postponed due to reduced staff and in-patient capacity, said AHS. Emergency surgeries will continue.
The initial cause of the outbreak is still under investigation and health-care workers who have been affected continue to be identified. Foothills is the largest hospital in Alberta and its number of outbreaks is the most out of any in the province.
As of 7:55 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had 156,961 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 133,737 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC's reporting stood at 9,331.
Cases of COVID-19 will likely continue to climb in Canada's most populous provinces for a while even if people start to hunker down, experts say, because of the nature of the infection.
The effective reproductive number of COVID-19 in Canada continues to hover at 1.4, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported on Friday. That means for every 10 people who test positive for COVID-19, they'll likely infect 14 others who then pass it on to 20 others and so on.
Christopher Labos, a physician in Montreal with an epidemiology degree, said the effective reproductive number also varies depending on the population in which a virus is spreading.
"If nothing changes, certainly it'll keep rising and may even surpass a number of cases we had before," Labos said.
On Tuesday, the federal government announced a plan to purchase about 7.9 million rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests from U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories.
The procurement of new tests is meant to alleviate strain on the current testing system in several provinces that has resulted in long lines and a delay in results as cases spike in the country's most populous provinces.
Rapid tests can be advantageous as they can be administered by trained professionals outside of health-care settings and can produce results within 13 minutes. However, this type of test has not yet been approved by Health Canada, despite the government announcing its intentions to obtain the tests.
Other Western countries have long approved rapid testing. But the need to ensure the Abbott tests meet criteria and aren't proven faulty is an important process for Health Canada, said Dr. Supriya Sharma, senior medical adviser to the department's deputy minister, on a teleconference call to reporters Tuesday.
WATCH | Canada's top doctor explains why her advice has changed since March:
Health Canada is committed to making a decision on the tests within 40 days, she said.
Many doctors are concerned they won't have enough flu vaccines to meet demand this fall, according to a new survey by the Canadian Medical Association.
More than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents said they worry influenza season will put a strain on the health-care system and half of doctors who provide the flu vaccine reported they worry their supply is too low.
As well, 85 per cent of those surveyed said the system needs more capacity. The research conducted between Aug. 19 and 24 also found that 54 per cent of doctors are still having difficulties accessing PPE.
However, three quarters of respondents said they believe the health-care system is better prepared for a COVID-19 resurgence than during the first wave of the pandemic.
What's happening in the rest of Canada
Waiting for the public to develop "herd immunity" to COVID-19 is not a practical strategy to fight the pandemic, would put many lives at risk and possibly overload the health-care system, Alberta's top doctor says.
Herd immunity, when a certain percentage of the public develops resistance to an illness, has been touted in some circles, including by a top adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, as a possible solution to the pandemic.
- Largest outbreak of COVID-19 in an Indigenous community in Canada offers important lessons
- How Quebec went from COVID-19 success story to hot spot in 30 days
- Anti-masker broke quarantine to speak at Toronto anti-lockdown protest after travelling to Europe
- Hamilton enters second COVID-19 wave with 41 new cases, says medical officer of health
For COVID-19, estimates of that percentage range from 50 to 70 per cent of the population, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Monday at a news conference. Studies in Canada, she said, have estimated that only about one per cent or less of the population has been infected.
Hinshaw said she has heard suggestions that, because younger people are generally at low risk of severe outcomes, Alberta should protect older people but otherwise let the virus spread as quickly as possible to build up a collective immunity.
Amid a surge of coronavirus transmission in Ontario, some physicians warn the province's plan to ramp up efforts to prevent new infections will fall short unless further measures are taken to clamp down on community spread.
WATCH | COVID-19: Are targeted restrictions enough to keep cases down?
The ongoing increase throughout September comes as Premier Doug Ford's government rolls out a plan to boost testing capacity to 50,000 daily tests, while bringing on 1,000 more staff to manage cases and trace their contacts.
"We had an opportunity in the summer when case counts were low to really fine-tune our system around test, trace and isolate," said Dr. Tara Kiran, a Toronto-based researcher and family physician.
"I think the recent spike in numbers shows we weren't ready."
In Toronto, a major source of the province's new COVID-19 cases, the city's top doctor is now recommending residents axe their "social bubbles."
While maintaining a bubble of a maximum of 10 contacts earlier in the pandemic was effective in tackling the spread of the virus, "times have changed," and it "no longer reflects the circumstances in which we live," said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health at a news conference Monday.
WATCH | Increased pressure on the Ford government to reimpose health measures:
The reopening of schools makes it difficult to maintain the integrity of social bubbles, and instead, the public should think carefully before they go anywhere and limit interactions with those outside their household, she said.
In southwestern Ontario, CBC London has obtained a memo sent on Friday by a provincial health agency to some local health officials ordering them to "not proceed with any new growth or expansion of assessment centres at this time," along with a spreadsheet of testing targets to reach.
The order comes as lineups at assessment centres are beginning before dawn and capacity is being reached by noon, as was the case Tuesday.
The reason for the order is to "stabilize the provincial laboratory network," Mark Walton, Ontario Health's west regional lead, wrote in the email.
Meanwhile in western Canada, despite thousands of complaints of people not following COVID-19 restrictions, RCMP and Edmonton police have only handed out 40 tickets since the spring.
Alberta Health Services said it received 5,100 reports of a "concern about a business or public place that is not following restrictions," between May 23 and Sept. 22.
Kerry Williamson, AHS spokesperson, said concerns are related to COVID-19 public health orders, including the two-metre physical distancing requirement and self-isolation.
RCMP Cpl. Deanna Fontaine, a media relations officer, said officers issued 20 tickets for violations under the Alberta Public Health Act or the Federal Quarantine Act between mid-May and end of September.
In Manitoba, 34 new cases were reported Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 1,953, with 606 of those cases active.
Twenty-six of the new infections are from the Winnipeg region, a day after new health measures were imposed on the city and 17 surrounding communities to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The rules now limit in-person gatherings to 10 people and require mandatory masks in indoor public spaces, which are some of the most restrictive guidelines to date in the province.
WATCH | Winnipeg and surrounding regions under new health restrictions:
There are now 14 people in hospital in Manitoba, eight of them in intensive care.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new infections on Tuesday, but two active cases remain after a new case was announced from the weekend.
Health Minister John Haggie told residents that although many aspects of normal life have been allowed to resume as the province has done well in combating the virus, this is not the time to relax.
"We are in an area where we feel COVID had been controlled, but we still see sporadic cases, and we need to be ever on our guard about the possibility that this could come here in numbers such as we saw in March and April of this year," he said.
Prince Edward Island announced it will continue with its reopening process as case counts remain low on the island.
P.E.I. will enter what officials call the "new normal" phase starting Oct. 1 by further easing restrictions. This will be the final phase until a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is available, said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison at a news conference Tuesday.
WATCH | P.E.I. is looking to process tests within a day:
The island reported one new case of coronavirus on Tuesday, identifying the individual as a man in his 20s from the province who travelled outside of the Atlantic bubble.
Nunavut is reporting another presumptive case of COVID-19 at a mine on Tuesday, the third mine in the territory to report presumptive cases this month.
The infected person is an employee at Agnico Eagle's Meliadine mine near Rankin Inlet. The person was tested at the company's lab in Val-d'Or, Que., on Monday before boarding a flight to the mine from Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, according to a news release from Agnico Eagle on Tuesday.
After the flight landed at the mine, all employees were placed into "strict isolation" in their rooms while contact tracing was conducted. A total of 15 people have been in contact with the presumed infected person, according to the statement.
Saskatchewan reported seven new cases of COVID-19 and 18 more recoveries on Tuesday. A total of 138 cases are considered active.
Health officials there are also looking at how the largest outbreak of COVID-19 within an Indigenous community was handled in order to plan for future potential surges and the impact on Indigenous peoples.
The village of La Loche and the Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN), both Dene communities, saw an outbreak that began in April and lasted three months, infecting 282 people and killing seven.
Chief Teddy Clark of the CRDN, which is 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, told CBC News that although there are many lessons learned from how the outbreak was handled, he feels "a little bit at ease" and that he'd be ready for an increase in cases.
On the West Coast, British Columbia extended the province's state of emergency for another two weeks and announced 105 new cases of COVID-19 and an additional death on Tuesday.
There are 1,268 active cases of the virus in the province — 69 people are in hospital and 20 of them are in intensive care, said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, in a written statement.
What's happening around the world
According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 33.2 million, while over 22.9 million have recovered.
The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed one million, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders' resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.
"It's not just a number. It's human beings. It's people we love," Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February, said on Tuesday.
"It's our brothers, our sisters. It's people we know," he said. "And if you don't have that human factor right in your face, it's very easy to make it abstract."
The bleak milestone, recorded on Monday in the U.S. by Johns Hopkins, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is two-and-a-half times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
South Korea appealed on Tuesday for strict physical distancing, despite a slight fall in the number of new coronavirus cases, with millions of people set to travel for a major holiday.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency reported 38 new infections by midnight on Monday, for a fifth day of double-digit increases, taking the national tally to 23,699 cases, with 407 deaths.
The numbers came a day after the daily tally fell to its lowest since new virus clusters emerged last month at a church and a major political rally, leading to more than 1,800 infections.
Authorities are concerned by a COVID-19 outbreak aboard a cargo ship off Australia's northwest coast that has infected most of the crew.
Eight more members of the Filipino crew tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the number of infections to 17 out of a crew of 21.
Seven of the infected sailors remained aboard the Liberia-flagged bulk carrier Patricia Oldendorff, which is anchored off Port Hedland, a major iron ore export terminal, Western Australia State Health Minister Roger Cook said on Tuesday.
Colombia will extend selective quarantines for the duration of October, President Ivan Duque said in a nightly address on Monday, and urged citizens to avoid meeting in large groups.
The country began more than five months of lockdown in March. It entered a much-looser "selective" quarantine phase — allowing dining at restaurants and international flights — at the start of September.
Colombia has reported 818,203 infections of the novel coronavirus, as well as 25,641 deaths.
Mexico's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 733,717 on Monday, according to updated data from the health ministry, along with a total reported death toll of 76,603.
Authorities reported 3,400 new cases along with 173 deaths on Monday, but the true figures are likely significantly higher because of little testing.
On Monday, India hit more than six million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country and the death toll reached 95,542 with 1,039 more deaths added. There are currently 962,640 active cases of the virus according to government data.
Lockdowns and other public health measures are helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country, but many populations, including those who are more vulnerable and live in poverty, are the most susceptible to the virus, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.
WATCH | Much of India's population vulnerable to COVID-19, say officials:
The NFL says the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are suspending in-person activities after the Titans had three players test positive for the coronavirus, along with five other personnel. The Titans had played the Vikings on Sunday.
The league said Tuesday that both clubs are working closely with the NFL and the players' union, including their infectious disease experts, on tracing contacts, more testing and monitoring developments.
The Titans first announced Tuesday morning they would be working remotely "out of an abundance of caution" after several test results came back positive. They beat the Vikings in Minnesota 31-30 on Sunday without outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen after a test result Saturday.
The United States is reporting increased cases of the coronavirus in children and teens across the country that is fuelled by schools reopening and the resumption of sports, play dates and other activities, authorities announced Tuesday.
Ten per cent of U.S. infections are now made up of children of all ages, up from two per cent in April, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection also said Monday that more school-aged children are testing positive for the virus in September as many returned to the classroom.
WATCH | People who don't wear a mask in New York City will face fines:
Public health experts point to high levels of community transmission as reason for the new spread among young kids — as they may be picking up the virus outside of school where the precautions around distancing and masks may not be as heightened.
In Florida and California, the Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it plans to lay off 28,000 employees at parks in the two states due to limits on guests and other health restrictions related to the pandemic.
Disney parks closed in the spring due to the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. Its Florida parks reopened in the summer, but Disneyland in California did not as the company waited for guidance from the state.
California's "unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen" made the financial situation worse for the company, said Josh DÁmaro, chairman of Disney parks, experience and product, in a letter to workers.
"As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic," he said.
With files from CBC News and The Associated Press