More public health restrictions are expected to be announced in Ontario today after the province releases new COVID-19 modelling projections that the premier had said would make people “fall off [their] chairs.”
Sources have told CBC News the modelling, which will be detailed at an 11:30 a.m. ET briefing, projects Ontario’s intensive care units will be filled beyond capacity by early February. It also forecasts the province is on track to see up to 6,000 new cases per day by the end of this month.
Ontario moved into a provincewide lockdown on Dec. 26, with tighter restrictions on gatherings and the closure of many non-essential businesses.
Elementary and secondary school students across northern Ontario, where COVID-19 positivity rates are relatively low, returned to in-class learning on Monday. The government announced last week that students in southern Ontario will continue attending classes remotely until at least Jan. 25.
Premier Doug Ford said his cabinet was meeting Monday to discuss the surging numbers of COVID-19 cases in the province. Sources told CBC News that health officials have recommended the following restrictions to cabinet:
- Gathering limits reduced to as few as five people.
- Shorter hours for essential businesses, which would involve earlier closures and later openings.
- Limits on construction activity, but those limits would still allow essential construction to continue. Essential construction would be defined as work on health-care and critical infrastructure, as well as residential buildings.
- A requirement that no employees would be allowed in offices unless they are deemed essential.
While the idea of a curfew like the one recently implemented in Quebec has been floated as a possibility, a government source told CBC News on Monday that a curfew will not be among restrictions expected to be announced.
The updated modelling and new measures come on the heels of Ontario hitting record highs in new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations since the start of the new year.
On Monday, the province reported 3,338 new cases and an additional 29 deaths, bringing Ontario’s official death toll to 5,012.
The province said that 1,563 patients with COVID-19 were in hospital, the most at any time since the start of the pandemic, including 387 in intensive care.
Critical Care Services Ontario, which produces an internal report on ICU admissions and capacity each morning, put the ICU figure even higher at 409, according to Ontario Hospital Association president Anthony Dale.
What’s happening across Canada
As of 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 668,181 cases of COVID-19, with 82,527 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 17,086.
The Canada Revenue Agency began sending out T4a slips on Monday to Canadians who have received COVID-19 benefits, reminding them that the money is taxable income and must be recorded on their tax returns.
The T4a forms list how much money a person received from one or more of the following benefits: the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), the Canada emergency student benefit (CESB), the Canada recovery benefit (CRB), the Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB) and the Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB).
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported 21 new cases on Monday. Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, announced that there are currently 204 active cases — the highest number of active cases in New Brunswick since the pandemic began.
Nova Scotia announced five new COVID-19 cases on Monday, including one at Acadia University in Wolfville and another at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases, while Prince Edward Island did not provide an update.
| Quebec’s COVID-19 curfew has additional impact on some:
In Quebec, the province’s top hospital official warned that the majority of hospitals are so strapped for COVID-19 beds that soon administrators will start having to make difficult decisions.
Dr. Lucie Opatrny said that with elective surgeries already being delayed, things like colonoscopies, kidney transplants and hip replacements might be the next things to fall by the wayside.
The province reported 1,869 new cases and 51 new deaths on Monday. There were 1,436 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 211 in intensive care.
Manitoba public health officials announced 133 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths on Monday.
The first vaccinations of long-term care home residents in the province started Monday morning, with residents of Oakview Place first in Winnipeg to get the shots.
Way to go Margaret! Thank you for being our first!! <a href=”https://t.co/QAFblyPlp4″>pic.twitter.com/QAFblyPlp4</a>
Saskatchewan announced 412 new cases and eight more deaths on Monday. According to the province, a record-high 197 people were in hospital due to COVID-19, including 31 in intensive care.
Alberta reported 639 new cases on Monday, along with 23 more deaths. Premier Jason Kenney said the province will immediately expand its COVID-19 vaccination program to include all paramedics and emergency medical responders.
But Kenney said Alberta is running out of COVID-19 vaccinations and could exhaust its supply as early as next week.
In British Columbia, health officials announced 1,475 new cases of COVID-19 in the province over the last three days, along with 22 deaths, which pushed B.C.’s death toll over 1,000.
After two weeks with no new cases of COVID-19, Nunavut is lifting lockdowns in the last two communities that were still facing strict public health measures.
But Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory’s chief public health officer, said it will take until the end of January to officially declare outbreaks in Arviat and Whale Cove over.
Yukon reported four recoveries on Monday, bringing its number of active cases down to six. The Northwest Territories has zero active cases as of its last update.
What’s happening around the world
As of early Tuesday morning, more than 90.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 50.3 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 case tracking tool. The global death toll stood at more than 1.9 million.
In Asia-Pacific, Malaysia’s king declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday to curb the spread of COVID-19, a move that the opposition decried as an attempt by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to retain control amid a power struggle.
The emergency declaration, which allows the Muhyiddin government to introduce laws without parliamentary approval, comes a day after the prime minister announced a nationwide travel ban and a 14-day lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states.
The small Pacific nation of Micronesia has reported its first case of the coronavirus after a crew member on a ship returning from the Philippines tested positive.
In an address to the nation, President David Panuelo said many people had heard the “alarming news” but the case has been contained at the border. He said the crew member on the government ship Chief Mailo has been isolated on board, that all other crew remain on board, and that the ship is being monitored daily by law enforcement.
In Africa, Senegal is rushing to provide more hospital beds for coronavirus patients as infections soar and a lack of capacity means doctors are only able to admit the most severe cases, health officials said.
A second wave of new infections and deaths hit record highs this month, forcing President Macky Sall to reimpose a state of emergency that bans gatherings and enforces mask wearing.
In Europe, the European Medicines Agency says it has received an application from AstraZeneca and Oxford University to authorize their coronavirus vaccine.
The Amsterdam-based regulator said Tuesday that it would assess the request at an accelerated pace because the vaccine is already part of a rolling review.
The office of the Portuguese president says that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa tested positive for coronavirus although the veteran politician has no symptoms. Rebelo de Sousa, who took office in 2016 and is 72, is seeking a second term in the country’s presidential election on Jan. 24.
In the Americas, U.S. health officials have created a website to help people find where they can get antibody drugs for COVID-19, medicines that may help prevent serious illness and hospitalization if used early enough after infection occurs.
Two of these drugs — from Eli Lilly and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals — have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S., but red tape, health-care staff shortages and other problems have prevented many patients and doctors from getting them.
The website includes a tool where people can find locations administering the treatment within 80 kilometres. Doctors will determine if patients meet the criteria. Treatment must start within 10 days of first symptoms.