Quebec nearing ‘possibly critical threshold’; B.C. at ‘precipice’ to flatten curb
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Yahoo News Canada is committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and recent information on all things coronavirus. We know things change quickly, including some possible information in this story. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage our readers to consult online resources like Canada’s public health website, World Health Organization, as well as our own Yahoo Canada homepage.
5,906 active COVID-19 cases in Canada: 130,491 diagnoses, 9,141 deaths and 115,444 recoveries (as of Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Alberta – 1,415 active cases (14,310 total cases, including 242 deaths, 12,653 resolved)
British Columbia – 1,175 active cases (6,041 total cases, 210 deaths, 4,644 resolved)
Manitoba – 457 active cases (1,264 total cases, 16 deaths, 791 resolved)
New Brunswick – 4 active cases (192 cases, 2 deaths, 186 resolved)
Newfoundland and Labrador – 1 active cases (269 total cases, 3 deaths, 265 resolved)
Northwest Territories – 0 active cases (5 total cases, 5 resolved)
Nova Scotia – 6 active cases (1,085 total cases, 65 deaths 1,014 resolved)
Ontario – 1,249 active cases (42,686 total cases, 2,812 deaths, 38,625 resolved)
Prince Edward Island – 0 active cases (44 total cases, 44 resolved)
Quebec – 1,551 active cases (62,933 total cases, 5,767 deaths, 55,615 resolved)
Saskatchewan – 36 active cases (1,634 total cases, 24 deaths, 1,574 resolved)
Yukon – 0 active cases (15 total cases, 15 resolved)
Nunavut – 0 active cases (4 false positive cases)
CFB Trenton – 0 active cases (13 total cases, 13 resolved)
Authorities have been working to contain the spread of COVID-19, with Canadians having contracted the virus from travel to other countries, human-to-human transmission, as well as community spread.
Of the over 130,000 cases that been diagnosed nationwide, at least 115,000 of them have been resolved, meaning those people are no longer considered infectious. As daily cases of COVID-19 decline across the country, Yahoo News Canada will focus on reporting “active cases” to put into context our current situation.
Timeline of coronavirus cases in Canada September 2020
‘We’re approaching a possibly critical threshold’: Quebec reports its largest spike in cases since June
Quebec announced 187 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, which marks the largest daily increase to its total case count since June 8.
The province has now reported over 100 cases on six straight occasions. Before the recent stretch, it had recorded a triple-digit increase on 14 of its last 18 occasions.
“We’re approaching a possibly critical threshold,” said Quebec Premier François Legault on Thursday.
On Aug. 25, health minister Christian Dubé said that Quebec should not go beyond 160 cases per day, which works out to about 20 cases per one million residents.
Legault on Thursday said Dubé’s statistics are “an objective,” but it doesn’t mean that the province will make an “automatic” return to lockdowns if the target is missed. Instead, he reminded the public that “there are plenty of other factors to consider. … If the major part of the cases were in bars, the decision would be easy to take.”
Legault said that he is not planning on changing the province’s COVID-19 restrictions at the moment. If restrictions do need to be put in place, they will be imposed on sub-regions, and not the entire province.
As of late, Canada’s worst-hit province has seen spikes in the Quebec City region, the Eastern Townships and the greater Montreal region, said Legault.
Outbreaks have been reported throughout the province; that includes schools ever since they opened a week ago Thursday.
Most recently, a karaoke bar outbreak in Quebec City has led to 40 patrons testing positive, which has resulted in secondary spread to students at three schools. On Thursday, TVA Nouvelles also reported that two small groups of Montreal elementary school students are in self-isolation at home, because they were in contact with COVID-19 patients.
Legault said that the province’s back-to-school plan is going as planned. Outbreaks were expected, but the province has not had to close an entire school due to an outbreak, thanks to its “classroom bubble” concept.
On Thursday, a group of Quebec parents went to court to compel the Education Department to grant an online learning option for all families. At the moment, in-class learning is mandatory, except for those with a medical exception.
The province has yet to release statistics on the amount of cases in schools among staff and students, but the premier said that the public can expect some in the upcoming days.
“So far it’s under control, but we have to be careful,” said Legault.
In the past, Legault has said that he won’t rule out closing barrs or banning activities such as karaoke if the spread of COVID-19 continues at an alarming rate.
Throughout the pandemic, Quebec has had the most cases (62,933) and deaths (5,767) of all the Canadian jurisdictions. On Thursday, the province announced three more fatalities, but that they all occurred before Aug. 27.
Quebec also has the most currently infected patients with 1,551. According to data by B.C.’s Ministry of Health, Quebec has the highest infection rate per one million people of all the provinces.
B.C. at ‘precipice’ as modelling data shows ‘dramatic increase’ in cases among young populations
For the eighth time throughout the pandemic, B.C. health officials provided their latest data that they’ve gathered to understand how COVID-19 has been spreading in the province.
As of late, officials have seen a “dramatic increase” in cases among those between 20-39 years old, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Ever since mid-July, health officials have especially warned against large gatherings, especially where alcohol is involved; it has resulted in a spike in cases and COVID-19 exposure warnings throughout the province.
As of Thursday, the province has a record-high 1,175 active cases of COVID-19.
“We still have it in our hands, in our actions to bend our curve back down,” said Henry. “And that is what we need to focus on now. We’re at that limit. We’re at that precipice, if you will, where we need to take the actions to ensure that we can move forward into the fall and keep our curve low.”
Henry noted there has also been a small increase in cases among slightly older populations, but the median age of a COVID-19 patient in the province is now 41, compared to it being in the mid-50s in the earlier stages of the pandemic.
Household transmission continues to be relevant throughout all stages of the pandemic, but in the latest stage, officials have seen a significant increase in transmission at restaurants, bars and lounges as well as private parties and events. Those settings have been particularly associated with the younger demographics.
“This should come as no surprise,” said Henry. “We’ve been reporting on the Kelowna cluster, for example, which has been associated with a variety of these settings.”
Henry said that there has also been transmission in workplace settings. However, there hasn’t been many instances where COVID-19 has spread from the workplace to the public.
In comparison to other provinces, Henry showed that B.C. has done well, while its reproduction number has fluctuated around one; officials have seen it usually rise in tandem with well-known exposure events.
“This weekend in particular, choose to go small. Choose to spend time with your household bubble instead of a group of strangers,” Henry said.
“Let’s make sure this Labour Day long weekend, we are united in a singular focus to continue to stop those chains of transmission and bring our curve back down. And of course, let’s continue to do this by being kind, being calm and being safe.”
Exposures due to gatherings have been a key concern for B.C. ever since two hotel parties around Canada Day in Kelowna led to dozens of cases around the province, as well as possible exposure warnings for a variety of businesses.
Officials continue to ask B.C. residents to check the growing list of public exposure warnings as part of contact tracing efforts. Currently in B.C., there are 2,801 people who are self-isolating and are being actively monitored by public health, since they were in contact with a known COVID-19 patient.
On Thursday, officials announced 89 new cases of COVID-19. There are now 1,175 active cases, since 39 more people have recovered in the province;s latest 24-hour stretch.
One more person has also died in a long-term care home, increasing the death toll to 210.
Two new long-term care facility outbreaks have also been declared at Cherington Place in the Fraser Health region and at Point Grey Private Hospital in the Vancouver Coastal Health region. However, the outbreak at the Maple Ridge Seniors Village has been declared over, which means there are now nine long-term care or assisted-living facilities and two acute-care facilities that have active outbreaks.
Updates from the rest of Canada
Two women in Manitoba, one in her 80s and the other in her 90s, are the province’s most recent COVID-19 victims. They were both part of the ongoing outbreak at the Bethesda Place personal care home in Steinbach. Four people have died as part of the outbreak, while the province’s death toll now stands at 16. Health officials believe that the initial positive case at the Bethesda Place was a health-care worker who caught the virus in the community. On Thursday, Manitoba also announced 20 new cases of the virus, with 13 of them in Winnipeg and six in its epicentre, Prairie Mountain Health region. Fifteen more people have also recovered, which leaves 457 active cases in the province.
Ontario reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. It’s the eighth straight day that the province has recorded over 100 cases of COVID-19. In early August, the province was able to stay under triple-digits on seven-straight occasions, as it made a habit of reporting fewer than 100 cases. Of the most recent patients, 45 were identified in Peel, 31 in Toronto and 22 in Ottawa. All the other 31 public health units reported five or fewer cases, while 18 reported no new patients at all. In the same stretch, Ontario recorded no new deaths, instead 119 more people have recovered. There are now 1,249 active cases in the province, the most since Aug. 3.
No new cases were identified in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, as those provinces continue to have one, four and six active cases, respectively. As of Prince Edward Island’s latest update on Tuesday, it remains the only province with no currently infected COVID-19 patients.
Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in Saskatchewan’s latest 24-hour stretch. The latest patients were diagnosed in the Saskatoon (six), Central West (two), North Central (one) and South Central (one) zones. According to a press release, “all of Saskatoon’s current active cases and several of the active cases in the rest of the province are directly related to out of province travel.” Three more people have also recovered in the province, meaning there are now 36 active cases in the province; 17 of those are in Saskatoon.
One-hundred and thirty people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Alberta, but no one has died in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch. There are now 1,415 active cases in the province, since 118 more people have also recovered. Of those currently infected patients, there are 639 in the Calgary zone and 537 in the Edmonton zone, which has 22 of the province’s 46 hospitalizations.
Quebec City karaoke bar outbreak leads to secondary infections among students
A karaoke bar in Quebec City, which has produced 40 cases among attendees, has now resulted in secondary infections among school students.
There are three cases that have been identified among students across three of the six schools in the city that are currently dealing with COVID-19. Those three patients are linked to the 40 cases that have been identified among patrons who visited Bar Kirouac for a karaoke night on Aug. 23, said Dr. Jacques Girard, who heads the Quebec City public health authority.
Girard expects there to be more cases in the upcoming days, since some of the original 40 patrons visited at least six other bars in the city that same night. One of the patrons “did the grand tour” and “went everywhere,” said Girard.
There are also reports that some of the patients visited other bars while waiting for their COVID-19 tests, after they were asked to self-isolate over the weekend, when cases first emerged. Some of those patrons later tested positive, but there are currently no other links to bars as of Wednesday.
“We now have evidence that those people who were COVID-positive, who maybe hadn’t had the results of their tests but who were contagious, went to other places,” said Girard. “It’s there when our alarm signal went off.”
Girard is now asking anyone who’s been to a bar in Quebec City over this past week to get tested for COVID-19. Bar Kirouac has closed its venue till Sept. 9.
Christian Dubé, Quebec’s health minister, singled out Bar Kirouac on Tuesday, when noting that he was looking into fines for customers and staff after social media videos showed patrons in close contact and sharing microphones.
According to The Globe and Mail, who spoke with Bar Kirouac owner Lucien Simard, there were approximately 35-40 patrons and one staff member at the venue on Aug. 23. The establishment has a 100-person capacity.
“The rate of attack, the proportion of positives is significant,” said Dr. Girard, noting that the situation in the venue was an “explosive cocktail.”
The province previously dealt with outbreaks in relation to bars in July, which prompted health officials to insert new rules, such as not permitting dancing. However, karaoke and singing is still allowed, but Quebec’s director of public health Horacio Arruda said the province is now considering a karaoke bar.
Arruda and Girard have both described it as a dangerous activity, since “people get excited, swap microphones, start singing with their friends who want to help them out. Next thing, the droplets are in the air and you are contaminated.”
Schools around the province have also been dealing with cases of COVID-19 ever since the province reopened institutions Aug. 27. No official provincial data has been released as of Wednesday as to how many cases there are among children and staff.
As a preventative measure, school administrators in Quebec City have sent home at least 100 classmates of infected children, according to The Globe and Mail.
Updates from the rest of Canada
British Columbia health officials announced 104 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. It’s now the sixth time since Aug. 15 that the province has recorded at least 100 daily cases; before the recent stretch, it had never recorded a triple-digit increase. The recent update increases the province’s active case count to a record-high 1,127, even though 100 more patients have recovered since Tuesday. According to a press release by health officials, there is one new health-care facility outbreak at Surrey Memorial Hospital, but the outbreak at Langley Memorial Hospital has been declared over.
Ontario reported 133 new cases of COVID-19, which is its second highest increase to its total case count since July 31. Of those patients, 43 were identified in Toronto, 34 in Peel, 15 in York Region and 12 in Ottawa. Twenty-nine of the province’s 34 public health units reported five or fewer cases, while 21 of them reported no new patients at all. No one has died in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch, but instead 137 patients have recovered. There are now 1,236 active cases in the province.
Health officials in Quebec announced that they’ve identified 132 new cases of COVID-19. Two more fatalities have been added to the province’s death toll of 5,764, but neither of them occurred in the province’s latest 24-hour stretch. With 77 recently recovered patients, it means there are now 1,467 active cases in the province.
No new cases were identified in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland and Labrador, as those provinces have one and six active cases, respectively. New Brunswick has identified one new patient, involving a temporary foreign worker in the Moncton region. There are now four active cases in the province. Prince Edward Island remains the only province with no active cases, after health officials announced that their final patient recovered by Tuesday.
Twelve new cases were identified in Manitoba, with eight of them in its epicentre Prairie Mountain Health. There are now 454 active cases in the province, since twenty more people have recovered; it marks the second straight day that Manitoba has seen its number of currently infected patients decrease.
Saskatchewan health officials announced two new cases, with one each in the North West and South Central zones. However, four more people have recovered in the same 24-hour stretch. There are now 29 active cases in the province, the fewest since June 14.
A woman in her 60s in Alberta’s South zone has passed away, increasing the province’s death toll to 242. Health officials have also identified 114 new cases of COVID-19. One-hundred and eight patients have also recovered, meaning there are now 1,403 active cases in the province. Of those currently infected patients, 632 of them are in the Calgary zone and 538 in the Edmonton zone.
Ontario reported 112 newly-identified cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hour reporting period on Tuesday. It also reported one death and 92 recoveries, increasing the number of active cases in the province to 1,240. Of Ontario’s 34 public health units, 27 reported five or fewer new cases, while 18 of those reported no new cases at all.
In Quebec, there were 122 new cases of the virus reported, as well as two deaths linked to COVID-19. Both deaths occurred between August 25-30. Hospitalizations fell by two, however the number of people in intensive care went up by two.
Across Atlantic Canada, only Nova Scotia saw one new case of COVID-19. The province also said that one of the active cases, a student at Université Sainte-Anne in Church Point, N.S., did not properly self-isolate, and authorities are now trying to determine who may have come in contact with her. There were no new cases reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island.
Stricter mask rules are being put in place after a recent spike in cases in Manitoba. Health authorities reported 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the province, as well as several recoveries, brining the total number of active cases to 459.
Alberta announced 164 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province, bringing its active cases tally to the second-highest nationally —1,398 — just trailing Quebec’s 1,414. Two more patients died, a man in his 80s and a woman in her 90s who was a resident of a continuing care centre with an active outbreak.
British Columbia reported 58 new cases in the province and one death. B.C. currently has 1,124 active cases: 31 are in hospital, including 10 in intensive care. In a statement, Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix wrote: “We must prepare for the challenges that may lie ahead in fall with renewed commitment, new routines and proven safety precautions.”