- Per today's government report, there are 11,582 new cases in Ontario, for a total of total of 828,032 since the pandemic began; 2,081 people are in hospital testing positive for COVID-19, while 288 are in intensive care who either previously tested positive or have currently tested positive, and 138 patients are on ventilators. To date, 10,252 people have died. (Due to restricted testing, experts caution that case counts no longer reliably reflect the number of infected individuals in the province.)
- According to data from the Ministry of Long-Term Care, there are 145 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, and 571 confirmed active cases of positive residents. To date, there have been 3,839 confirmed resident deaths and 13 confirmed staff deaths.
- As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 180,013 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 27,750,953 since December 2020. 803,341 people have received only one dose, and 12,239,815 people have received two doses, and 4,056,554 have had three doses. 87.34 per cent of Ontarians over the age of 5 have received their first dose of vaccine and 81.61 per cent have received their second.
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Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
- According to January 4 data, Toronto reported 12,359 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 234,534 since the pandemic began; 145 of them are in hospital (58 new). In total, 3,747 people have died (7 new).
- A “code orange” has been declared at two GTA hospitals: Brampton Civic and Etobicoke General, CBC News reports. William Osler Health System, the network responsible for the hospitals, made the announcement as it struggles to maintain operations amid staff shortages and rising COVID cases. In a statement, the health system says code orange are declared “when demand outpaces capacity to ensure internal and external resources are deployed efficiently." As for what that means for patients, Andrew Healey, corporate chief of emergency medicine at William Osler, tells CBC News, "All of the non-clinical focused activities that run a hospital are being pushed to the side for the moment.” Meanwhile, clinics are pivoting to virtual operations, when possible.
- In a media briefing yesterday, the heads of Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton said hospitals have no ability to open more wards or intensive-care beds and are already operating beyond capacity. As the Hamilton Spectator reports, hospitals are struggling with staff shortages, a growing amount of COVID-19 patients, and more outbreaks than they've had at any point during the pandemic.
- Staff shortages are also affecting bus service, with Hamilton's transit operator looking at temporarily cutting some service. The Spectator reports about one in ten transit workers is off work any given day now. The city says lower-than-normal ridership has meant a lack of "significant crowding issues" thus far.
- The St. Catharines Standard reports that amid staffing issues, Niagara Health is temporarily closing its urgent care centre in Fort Erie on Thursday night so that it can redeploy workers to emergency departments. Niagara Health's president called the temporary closure "a measure of last resort," adding that this wave of the pandemic is worse than any the hospitals have experienced. Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates says he will formally request the province seek military support for its hospitals.
- As school resumes today, local boards are preparing to give out electronic devices to students who need them for learning. CBC Hamilton reports on what the first day back will look like at the different boards.
- People over 50 can walk in for third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at Hamilton public health's Centre on Barton, the city's medical officer of health Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said during the press conference Tuesday. The Spectator reports that about 20,000 new vaccine appointment were added to the city's booking portal yesterday, with about 36 per cent of eligible residents having a third dose.
- Hamilton doctor Zain Chagla is leading a monoclonal antibody therapy clinic for COVID-19 patients that he says is reducing COVID-19 hospitalization. Chagla tells CBC Hamilton studies have shown the new therapy the be successful and that at his clinic, no patients receiving the treatment have ended up in intensive care on a ventilator or died. The treatment relies on lab-made antibodies attacking the virus in one's system.
- As of December 29, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 687 communities across Canada with vaccinations underway. 987,707 doses have been administered, of that 398,551 were second doses and 79,360 were third doses, in individuals aged 12+.
- As of January 4, Indigenous Services Canada is aware of 2,667 active cases of COVID-19 in First Nation communities across Canada. It is also reporting 566 COVID-19 related deaths in total, across all First Nation reserves in Canada. To date, Ontario First Nation communities have had a total of 5,047 COVID-19 cases.
- Booster clinics are being planned for education workers in Ottawa, CTV News Ottawa reports. The city and local public-health unit intend to partner with health team Kids Come First in an effort to prioritize boosters for teachers and school staff. "We are looking to have a new point of access,” says Vera Etches, medical officer of health for Ottawa Public Health.
- A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Kingston General Hospital’s Davies 5 Unit, according to Global News. The unit is under quarantine in response to positive COVID-19 test results from two patients.
- The Northwestern Health Unit currently has a total of 438 active COVID-19 cases in the region, including 185 cases in the Kenora area, and 135 in Sioux Lookout.
- COVID-19 outbreaks have been declared at two long-term-care homes in Thunder Bay. The Thunder Bay District Health Unit has declared a COVID-19 outbreak in the Sandpiper unit at Southbridge Pinewood, where three people have tested positive for the virus, including one resident and two staff members, TBNewswatch reports. An outbreak has also been declared at Southbridge Lakehead Manor, though it's unclear how many COVID-19 cases there are at the facility at this time.
- The City of Thunder Bay has released a list of the facilities and services impacted by new provincial COVID-19 measures that came into force on Wednesday, including the closure of city-run pools, arenas, community centres and more.
- With new COVID-19 restrictions affecting concerts, the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra will be temporarily streaming concerts for free, TBNewswatch reports.
- With COVID-19 patients occupying nine out of its 10 ICU beds, the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is transferring patients to London, CBC News reports. "We are at a crossroads in our community," says Lori Marshall, CEO and president of the 200-bed community hospital. "We are experiencing, certainly, the most significant demand on hospital services that we have seen at CKHA throughout the entire pandemic."
- Southwestern Public Health is hosting two pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics for those aged five and up in the Elgin County municipality of Bayham in the coming weeks, the Aylmer Express reports. The first clinic takes place on January 6 at the Port Burwell fire station from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On January 13 — during the same hours — the second clinic is slated for the Straffordville Community Centre.
- There’s also been a surge in COVID-19 patients at London hospitals, the London Free Press reports. London Health Sciences Centre reports it has 59 patients stricken with the virus as of January 5, compared to 28 on New Year’s Eve and about a dozen a month ago.
- Bluewater Health has released a statement urging residents to get vaccinated, stay home as much as possible, adhere to public-health rules, and show kindness. “These last 22 months have been unlike any other,” reads the letter, as per Blackburn News. “Our situation, however, is the most worrisome yet.” The statement comes as patients with COVID pneumonia are occupying most of the Sarnia hospital’s ICU beds. In total, Bluewater Health has 31 COVID-positive patients, up from seven two weeks ago.
- Windsor Regional Hospital currently has no plans to re-establish a field hospital to deal with mounting COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. “Not at this time,” Steve Erwin, the hospital’s communications director, tells CTV News Windsor. “You always have contingency plans,” he adds, noting, “right now our focus is on our day-to-day operations and make sure we have enough resources to run the programs and services inside our campuses right now.” Windsor Regional Hospital is caring for 32 people with COVID-19 — far off the peak of 74 recorded on January 4, 2021.
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