Health officials in Manitoba are continuing to see coronavirus cases linked to people not following public health advice by attending large gatherings and leaving their homes even though they have symptoms, according to Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin.
During a news conference on Wednesday, Roussin said cases have been linked to Thanksgiving and other gatherings where people are often sharing items such as vape pens.
Hospitalizations in the province are also on the rise as Manitoba reported three new deaths on Wednesday. That brings the death toll from the coronavirus in the province to 61 since the start of the pandemic.
The number of hospitalizations and intensive care patients set new records on Wednesday, with 89 people in hospital and 19 of them in intensive care. That’s up from the previous record of 83 set on Tuesday, when 15 people were in the ICU.
“The capacity is continuing to be further stretched,” Chief Nursing Officer Lanette Siragusa said at the news conference, with ICU capacity at 92 per cent, which is higher than it was on Monday.
There are still beds for patients and supplies, she said.
WATCH | 7 COVID-19 cases linked to Thanksgiving dinner:
Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says many recent cases of COVID-19 have been linked to gatherings where people are sharing items such as vape pens. 1:14
The question of how health systems will cope with a second wave is not just an issue in Manitoba. The Canadian Medical Association released a study this week looking at the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on six procedures, including CT and MRI scans, knee and hip replacements and cataract surgery.
Dr. Ann Collins, president of the national association of physicians, said Canadians could “very well see a backlog on a backlog if we do not start addressing it, given what we are very possibly looking at with a second wave.”
Ontario reported five additional deaths and 834 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the number of active cases in the province to 26,478 active cases. The province reported that 312 people were in hospital, with 71 in intensive care.
Premier Doug Ford also asked the city’s public health officials to come up with a plan for gyms to safely reopen. Mayor John Tory says he wants a general reopening strategy in place for when Toronto’s scheduled to move out of Stage 2 on Nov. 7.
As winter approaches and people are cooped up indoors, Tory says gyms are a priority because he says they are an important part of public health policy.
WATCH | Canada reaches 10,000 COVID-19 deaths:
Canada has surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. But behind that number there’s much loss, some lessons learned and fears of worse to come. 2:04
Quebec reported 929 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and 17 deaths (including four that occurred in the last 24 hours). The province reported 526 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 89 in ICU.
The province is entering another four-week partial lockdown.
A group of fitness centres have invited their members to protest the province’s guidelines by gathering — while respecting physical distancing rules — in front of their respective activity centres.
On Wednesday, they backed off their threats to defy red zone restrictions. Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault says the province will still go ahead with a new decree to allow fines for owners who reopen their facilities as well as their customers.
What’s happening in Canada
WATCH | Canada could be poised to follow Europe’s COVID-19 trends, says expert:
Reflecting on Canada’s ‘grim milestone’ of 10,000 deaths from COVID-19, respirologist Dr. Samir Gupta says the number of deaths has increased to 20-30 people a day during the second wave, sparking concerns that Canada may be following some of Europe’s COVID-19 trends in the coming months. 3:08
As of 7:32 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Canada had 225,586 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases, with 26,687 of those active. Provinces and territories listed 188,867 as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 10,032.
A new Statistics Canada report says communities with the most visible minorities had the highest mortality rates during the first wave of COVID-19.
Nearly 8,800 people died in the first wave of the pandemic in Canada, 94 per cent of them in Quebec and Ontario.
The report shows more evidence that the pandemic is disproportionately affecting visible minorities, who are more likely to live in overcrowded housing and work in jobs that put them more at risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
In the four biggest provinces — which account for 99 per cent of the deaths from COVID-19 between March and July — death rates from COVID-19 were twice as high in communities where more than one in four people identify as a visible minority, compared with communities where less than one per cent of residents did.
In Ontario and Quebec, the rates were 3.5 times as high in communities where more than one-fourth of residents identify as visible minorities, according to Statistics Canada.
WATCH | Pandemic exposed existing inequities in Canada says Dr. Tam:
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam says some groups in Canada have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 1:11
Public health officials in British Columbia declared an outbreak at a senior assisted-living facility in Surrey and another at the Okanagan Men’s Centre. This brings the total number of long-term care or assisted-living facilities in the province with active outbreaks to 21.
B.C. reported 287 new cases on Wednesday, for a total of 13,875, and two more deaths, bringing that total to 261.
Alberta reported 410 new cases on Wednesday, bringing its active case count to 4,793. Hospitalizations ticked up to 123, with ICU numbers steady at 16.
The death toll in the province sits at 313, up four from Tuesday.
Those fatalities included two deaths linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton General Care Centre — a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s. The third death was a man in his 80s in the Edmonton zone and the fourth was a woman in her 90s linked to an outbreak at Mount Royal Revera in Calgary.
Health Minister Jim Reiter addressed Saskatchewan’s growing case numbers with new restrictions for Saskatoon.
Starting Friday, consumption of alcohol will be prohibited in all Saskatoon nightclubs from 10 p.m. to 9 a.m. for everyone, including patrons, staff and owners. They must also close to patrons at 11 p.m.
WATCH | How to celebrate Halloween during COVID-19:
While the pandemic might be scary, this Halloween doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips from B.C. health officials to keep you safe. 1:49
“I know the overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan people are doing their best ,” Reiter said. “Where we get into trouble is where people step outside of that advice and direction.”
Many of the province’s new cases continue to be linked to “super-spreader” events and private gatherings.
Chief Medical Health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said, with Halloween this weekend, that this is not the time to go to multiple parties or bars. He said young people in particular should follow health authority guidelines and stay in small groups.
The province reported 67 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the number of active cases to 666.
WATCH | COVID-19 antibodies may disappear quickly, new study finds:
A new study out of the U.K. has found COVID-19 antibodies can disappear quickly from people who’ve had the virus, which experts say makes herd immunity unlikely without a vaccine. 3:33
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick reported three new cases on Wednesday, one in the Campbellton region and two in the Fredericton region. The province, which has seen six deaths since the pandemic began, has 47 active cases, officials said.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health, announced some changes to the province’s testing criteria, saying as of Monday people with a single symptom would be able to get tested — if that symptom was either a new or worsening cough or a fever.
There were no new cases reported in Prince Edward Island on Tuesday.
In the North, there were no new confirmed cases in Yukon or Nunavut. In the Northwest Territories officials reported a presumptive positive case in Inuvik, but said in a statement that public health “has determined there is no risk to the public as the individual has been self-isolating appropriately since returning from travel.”
What’s happening around the world
WATCH | Researchers examine whether vitamin D could help treat COVID-19:
Several clinical trials are trying to determine whether vitamin D could be effective in helping to treat or prevent COVID-19, while a new study shows many patients in a Spanish hospital had a vitamin D deficiency. 1:58
A database maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University tracking COVID-19 cases worldwide stood at more than 44 million cases worldwide as of Wednesday morning, with more than 29.8 million considered resolved. The number of deaths reported around the world stood at more than 1.1 million.
In the Americas, nearly half a million people have contracted COVID-19 in the United States over the last seven days, according to a Reuters tally, as new cases and hospitalizations set records in the Midwest.
State health officials say a new COVID-19 report shows an increase in cases and hospitalizations throughout Washington. If it’s not brought under control, officials said spikes could jeopardize progress toward reopening schools, strain the health-care system and increase risks during the holiday season.
Estimates show each new COVID-19 patient is infecting 1.34 others, on average, in western Washington. In eastern Washington the average is 1.12. The goal is a number well below one, which would mean COVID-19 transmission is declining, officials said.
A member of the White House coronavirus task force says the increase in U.S. cases isn’t just because of more testing. Admiral Brett Giroir says the proof of the increase is the uptick in hospitalizations and deaths nationwide from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Giroir, who was put in charge of coronavirus testing by Trump, says the nation is at “another critical point” in the response to the pandemic. He is urging people to keep wearing masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing. Giroir says a safe and effective vaccine is “around the corner.”
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Tuesday she had tested positive for COVID-19 but was feeling well and had not developed symptoms of the disease.
A nurse holds the hand of a COVID-19 patient in the intensive care unit at the Joseph Imbert Hospital Center in Arles, southern France. Many French doctors have been asking the government to impose a new nationwide lockdown, noting that 58 per cent of the country’s ICU are now occupied by COVID patients and medical staff are under increasing strain. (Daniel Cole/The Associated Press)
The situation in Europe, where coronavirus infections are surging, is “serious and alarming” and the bloc must be more efficient with testing, contact tracing, vaccine and quarantine policies, the EU Council president said.
“We need more efficiency in intercepting [the virus] before citizens infect each other. We need strong planning. Otherwise we will have systematic lockdowns in coming months,” Charles Michel told Italian daily La Stampa in an interview published on Wednesday.
Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia all reported daily records of coronavirus cases on Wednesday as concern mounted in much of Europe.
On Wednesday, Germany announced plans to shut down large swaths of public life for a month, while France prepared to tighten controls further as COVID-19 surged across the region and financial markets tumbled at the likely cost of a second lockdown.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met state premiers in a video conference and agreed to a partial lockdown that will see bars, restaurants, cinemas, sports facilities and trade fairs closing from Nov. 2 to Nov. 30.
“November will be a month of truth. The increasing numbers of infections are forcing us to take tough countermeasures in order to break the second wave,” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Twitter after the meeting.
WATCH | Europe takes hard line on COVID-19, renewed lockdown in France:
With COVID-19 growing out of control in much of Europe, France announced a renewed lockdown after cases spiked to over 40,000 per day, while Germany moved to shut down restaurants, bars and theatres to regain control over the pandemic. 2:01
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is also in Germany for medical checks on Wednesday, days after senior aides tested positive for COVID-19.
The 75-year-old said on Saturday that he was self-isolating after senior government aides had fallen sick. On Tuesday, state media said he had been admitted to a specialized treatment unit in an army hospital, without saying if he had contracted the coronavirus.
Algerian leaders have historically sought treatment in Europe for more serious medical problems.
In France, which has seen more than 50,000 new cases a day, President Emmanuel Macron said the new nationwide lockdown starting on Friday will initially remain in place until Dec. 1 to stop the exponential spread of the coronavirus.
The new measures will mean people will have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise.
“The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Macron said. “Like all
our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus.”
He said schools will remain open, and people will still be allowed to go to work if their employer deems it is impossible for them to do their job from home.
France’s death toll, at over 35,000, is the seventh highest in the world, according to Reuters data.
Italy, which pledged more than €5 billion (roughly $7.7 billion Cdn) in new support measures for businesses hit by the latest restrictions, has seen repeated clashes between police and protesters in cities from Naples to Turin as well as bitter criticism from restaurant owners and business groups.
WATCH | Protesters against COVID-19 restrictions clash with police in Rome:
Police move in on supporters of a far-right party protesting anti-COVID-19 measures in Rome, one of several demonstrations across Italy over the past week. 3:52
Some Czechs rallied in Prague to protest the restrictive measures imposed by the government, a day after the nation hit a record 15,663 coronavirus cases. On Wednesday, a nationwide night curfew will begin and all stores will close on Sundays.
In Africa, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced he’s in quarantine after contact with a dinner guest who has tested positive for the coronavirus. The president’s spokesperson said the contact occurred at a fundraising dinner of 35 people in Johannesburg last weekend.
He said Ramaphosa is not showing any symptoms and the guest who tested positive is getting medical care. South Africa is the hardest-hit country in Africa, with nearly 718,000 reported cases and more than 19,000 deaths.
In the Asia-Pacific region, India’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases moved closer to eight million, with 43,893 new cases reported in the latest 24-hour period.
The total reported Wednesday includes the highest single-day number of cases for New Delhi, the Indian capital — 4,853. The Health Ministry also reported 508 fatalities from COVID-19 across India in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 120,010.
The Philippines closed cemeteries and memorial parks late Wednesday to enforce a ban aimed at preventing the annual influx of millions of Filipinos on All Saints’ Day, which could spark coronavirus outbreaks.
Authorities in Sri Lanka have closed several museums as a new wave of coronavirus cases is detected in different parts of the country.
In the Middle East, the Iranian government said people are being too lax in complying with restrictions, as the hardest-hit Middle Eastern country faced new daily records of infections and deaths.