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COVID-19: New cases in Quebec drop below 700, six new deaths

Quebec is reporting 662 new infections and six more deaths as the third wave of the COVID-19 continues across the province Monday.Authorities say one Quebecer died in the last 24 hours while the other fatalities occurred earlier in the month.The number of hospitalizations linked to the pandemic stands at 543, a rise of four from the previous day. This includes 123 patients in intensive care, a drop of one.The vaccination rollout saw another 63,377 doses administered, for more than 3.7 million to date. The latest update means a little more than 42 per cent of the population has received a first shot.Appointments are also now open to anyone who is 30 and older.The age limit requirement is set to keep dropping this week, with the immunization campaign being expanded to all adults. Health Mini...

COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on May 10

Here are the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Monday: Ontario expands COVID vaccine eligibility to 40 , more people who cannot work from home The Ontario government says starting on certain days this week, COVID-19 vaccine eligibility will be expanded to more people with at-risk health conditions, people who cannot work from home (Group 2) and people aged 40 and older in non-hot spot communities. Story continues below advertisement Starting Tuesday, May 11 at 8 a.m., people with at-risk health conditions such as dementia, diabetes and sickle cell disease will be able to book an appointment.Also on Tuesday morning, people in Group 2 who cannot work from home, which includes grocery store, restaurant and transportation workers will also be eligible...

COVID-19: Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says surgical backlog will take more than 3.5 years to clear

TORONTO — Ontario’s fiscal watchdog says it will take the province approximately three and a half years to clear the surgical backlog from the COVID-19 pandemic.The Financial Accountability Office projects that the backlog of cancelled surgeries will reach 419,200 procedures by the end of September.The FAO estimates it will cost the province $1.3 billion to clear the backlog, and notes the government has allocated $610 million in its latest budget to address the issue.The watchdog says its projections on clearing the backlog assumes hospitals will be able to operate at 11 per cent above pre-pandemic volumes in the coming years.Overall, the FAO says the province will have a $61.9 billion spending shortfall in the health-care sector over the next nine years. Trending Stories Story continues ...

Ontario high-risk health-care workers eligible for 2nd COVID-19 vaccine dose at shortened interval

Certain high-risk health-care workers in Ontario will be eligible for their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the expected fourth-month interval, the Ford government announced Monday.Booking will begin for those eligible by the end of this week.The province said the move is due to an increase in supply. Those included in the eligibility group includes high-risk health-care workers, dialysis patients and all First Nations, Inuit and Metis individuals.The province expects to receive weekly shipments of more than 785,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech in May, and more than 938,000 doses per week next month.“These groups face a greater risk of contracting and suffering serious illness from COVID-19,” the province said in a release on Monday. Story continues below advertisement “With...

Ontario reports more than 2,700 new COVID-19 cases, 19 deaths

Ontario is reporting 2,716 new COVID-19 cases on Monday. The provincial total now stands at 495,019.Monday’s case count is lower than Sunday’s which saw 3,216 new infections. On Saturday, 2,864 new cases were recorded and 3,166 on Friday. It is also the lowest increase in daily cases since April 1 but Monday’s testing was quite low.According to Monday’s report, 807 cases were recorded in Toronto, 707 in Peel Region, 294 in York Region, 168 in Durham Region and 106 in Hamilton.All other local public health units reported fewer than 100 new cases in the provincial report.The death toll in the province has risen to 8,327 as 19 more deaths were recorded. Story continues below advertisement Meanwhile, 454,701 Ontario residents were reported to have recovered from COVID-19, which is about 92 per...

Eastern Townships region turns red amid COVID-19 surge

The Eastern Townships region is officially a designated red zone once again Monday due to rising COVID-19 cases.The change brings tighter measures into effect for the area, which was previously an orange zone under Quebec’s coloured-coded pandemic response system.Restaurants and gyms must close, and places of worship will cap capacity at 25 people. Curfew, meanwhile, will be set from 9:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the area.READ MORE: Montreal restaurants stage ‘symbolic re-opening’ to promote businessesWhile the number of new infections remained stable in most of the province, the Eastern Townships saw a jump in cases last week.The public health department for the region also reported a “significant increase” in outbreaks and hospitalizations related to the pandemic. It also pointed to a rise in C...

India COVID-19 cases continue to surge as calls for national lockdown grow

Indian coronavirus infections and deaths held close to record daily highs on Monday, increasing calls for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lock down the world’s second-most populous country.The 366,161 new infections and 3,754 deaths reported by the health ministry were off a little from recent peaks, taking India’s tally to 22.66 million with 246,116 deaths as hospitals run out of oxygen and beds and morgues and crematoria overflow. (Graphic on global cases and deaths)Experts have said India’s actual figures could be far higher than reported.Sunday’s 1.47 million tests for COVID-19 were this month’s lowest yet, data from the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research showed. The figure compared with a daily average of 1.7 million for the first eight days of May. Story c...

2M Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines scheduled to arrive in Canada this week

Canada is scheduled to receive two million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week as provinces continue to ramp up their immunization efforts.The two million shots represent the only expected shipments in what should be a comparatively quiet week of vaccine arrivals after Moderna delivered one million doses ahead of schedule last week.The next shipment of Moderna jabs isn’t due until next week, while the federal government has not said when Canada will receive more doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson and Johnson vaccines.The arrival of more Pfizer-BioNTech shots comes as British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec are set to expand the list of people eligible for vaccines over the next seven days. Story continues below advertisement The expansions are due largely to the st...

Toronto family marks first Mother’s Day in India under a cloud of COVID pandemic anxiety

The joy of Komal Garg’s first Mother’s Day has been tempered with fear and frustration as she awaits the green light to start enjoying family life in the Toronto home she hasn’t seen for months.She and her husband Hari Gopal Garg are stranded in India, where they flew earlier this year to adopt their first child and have since been held up as the country buckles under a tidal wave of COVID-19 infections.Baby Kaveri’s first birthday came and went under a cloud of pandemic-related anxiety in March, coupled with an unrelated hospital stay for the little one around that time.The family had been looking forward to celebrating both that milestone and Mother’s Day in the comfort of their Canadian home. Story continues below advertisement But the federal government banned incoming flights from Ind...

COVID-19: Quebec reports under 1,000 new cases for a week straight as hospitalizations continue to drop

Quebec reported 960 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and six more virus-related deaths.This marks the seventh consecutive day that the daily tally of new infections has been under 1,000 as the province deals with the third wave of the pandemic.One of the six deaths was recorded in the last 24 hours, and the other five were retroactively reported from before May 7. The death toll now stands at 10,987.Hospitalizations continued to drop slightly by eight to 539, with 124 people in the ICU, a decrease of six.READ MORE: Quebec looking to unveil a pandemic reopening plan like SaskatchewanThere were 76,166 vaccine doses were added to the total of over 3.7 million doses since the beginning of the province’s vaccination rollout in December. Trending Stories Story continues below advertisement Of the...

Registered Practical Nurses struggling with pandemic stress, workload: poll

TORONTO — Pam Parks says she has a routine to pick herself up before she starts every one of her 12-hour hospital shifts these days.The registered practical nurse drives the five minutes to work at an Oshawa, Ont., hospital with her car radio turned up and sings along in a bid to lift her spirits.She tries to take her mind, ever so briefly, off the stress, uncertainty and large workload that awaits her in the emergency room that day, as the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic rages.Even after 33 years in the profession, Parks said the pandemic has opened her eyes to the fragility of our health care system and the distress both she and her fellow nurses feel. Story continues below advertisement “I get into the parking lot and sit, and regroup,” she said, acknowledging that some days its har...

Canada to face COVID-19 like yearly endemic flu due to variants, expert says

A Canadian health expert on the federal government’s COVID-19 Task Force says that Canada and the rest of the world will most likely see the novel coronavirus become a part of the viral ecosystem — akin to the seasonal endemic flu — due to the spread of several variants of concern.Speaking with Abigail Bimman on The West Block, Dr. Alan Bernstein said that his advisory council in the task force, which focuses on variants of concern, were looking at ways to deal with the spread of alarming variants across the country.According to him, one way to deal with such spread would be for vaccine makers to adapt and modify their shots over the coming years — a path he says Canada is already negotiating with suppliers to do. Story continues below advertisement “We’ve been in this journey before, of c...

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