Per today's government report, there are 4,383 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 661,563 since the pandemic began; 420 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 168 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and patients are on ventilators. To date, 10,133 people have died.
According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 18 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 28 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 42 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,832 confirmed resident deaths and 13 confirmed staff deaths.
As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 230,516 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 25,860,049 since December 2020. 761,473 people have received only one dose, 9,038,821 people have received only two doses, and 2,334,698 people have received three doses. 86.59 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 5 have received their first dose of vaccine, 81.14 per cent have received their second, and 16.66 per cent have received their third.
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- CP24 reports that the Omicron variant now accounts for 91 per cent of coronavirus cases in the province, according to Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore said the variant became the dominant strain in the province as of last week.
Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to December 21 data, Toronto reported 1,215 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 192,227 since the pandemic began; 31 of them are in hospital (14 new). In total, 3,725 people have died (3 new).
- Several hospitals in Ontario have introduced stricter visitor policies amid a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, reports CP24. Unity Health Toronto and the University Health Network- two major hospital networks in Toronto - said inpatients with stays shorter than seven days would not be allowed visitors.
Toronto added thousands of third dose appointments at its mass vaccination clinics for over the holidays yesterday morning but they were all booked up within hours, reports CP24. Approximately 6,600 appointments at city-run immunization clinics were made available for Dec. 25, 26 and 27 but they were mostly scooped up within hours.
The Toronto Star reports that the worst-hit part of the city has become the waterfront neighbourhood, with an infection rate of 625 cases per 100,000 people over the last three weeks, excluding cases in retirement homes and long-term care. While Toronto Public Health says exact reasons for neighbourhood rate fluctuations may not always be discernible — listing influencing factors such as school outbreaks — in an email to the Star, it said it saw get-togethers during the holiday season as one factor in rising cases, and also noted a shift from workplace transmission to contact in more “private and social gatherings.”
More public health units say they are changing their approach to COVID-19 testing and contact tracing as cases surge due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, reports CTV News. Niagara Region Public Health says it is beginning to shift resources away from contact tracing to delivering booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which it says can "better blunt" the Omicron wave.
Because of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, many Hamilton families are skipping holiday reunions once again. "I have three young nephews and an 11-year-old son, and they were really, really looking forward to seeing each other," Sue Littleton, who has cancelled plans to travel to Thunder Bay, tells CBC News. Meanwhile, Hamilton resident Omar Shams decided not to see his cousins in the UK. "Public safety matters. My own safety and health are top priority — just not to be part of a problem kind of compensates for the whole cancellation and the sad feeling."
- As of December 14, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 942,383 doses have been administered, of that 390,100 were second doses and 64,673 were third doses, in individuals aged 12+
- As of December 17, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 879 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 559 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 4,189 COVID-19 cases.
- 30 Ottawa paramedics have tested positive after a gathering on December 15, the Ottawa Citizen reports. At least 93 patients were considered close contacts in the days afterward, though the fact that paramedics wore PPE means "the risk of exposure is considered low to moderate," according to the chief of the Ottawa Paramedic Service. As of yet, these cases have not impacted paramedic services in the city.
- Families of Ottawa long-term care residents are scrambling to find rapid tests after new requirements come into force today that mandate testing before you can visit a loved one. According to CTV News, homes will not accept at-home rapid tests, and visitors must provide a negative test result at the door.
- Ottawa surpassed 50 known outbreaks Tuesday, Global News reports. 31 of these are in schools.
- The Kingston Whig-Standard reports that Kingston's new daily case count went below 100 for the first time in two weeks Tuesday. the health unit reported 81 cases that day.
Brockville City Hall shut down many of its services Tuesday in an effort to slow the spread. Global News reports that many city services, including museums, skating, water facilities, and cemeteries, have been closed, cancelled, or limited.
- The Thunder Bay District Health Unit is reporting nine new COVID-19 cases, for a total of 64 active cases in the region. There are two people currently hospitalized with the virus.
- The City of Kenora has declared a state of emergency in light of rising COVID-19 cases in the area, TBNewswatch reports. The city has requested support from the province to deal with the rising cases, and is asking residents to follow public health guidelines including getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.
- While the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has not reactivated its COVID-19 unit so far, a hospital spokesperson says they are monitoring the situation and will reactivate the unit if necessary, TBNewswatch reports.
- Northwestern Ontario residents are raising questions about the government roll out of COVID-19 rapid tests in the region, CBC Thunder Bay reports. According to CBC, only four LCBO’s in northwestern Ontario were selected to distribute tests, leaving many people in many communities without access to the free rapid tests.
- As a result of human error, as many as six people mistakenly received a dose of saline at the St. Thomas COVID-19 mass-vaccination clinic last month, the London Free Press reports. “We acknowledge the stress this will cause individuals vaccinated on November 30 at the St. Thomas clinic. Please be assured that this matter was identified quickly and is an isolated incident,” says Southwestern Public Health, which is attempting to contact those affected.
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