Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Saturday October 3, 2020

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Saturday, October 3, 2020:

  • There have been 52,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 732 (or 1.4 per cent) from the previous day. There are 44,850 people recovered from the virus while 2,927 people have died (adjusted with +74 deaths due to Toronto Public Health data review). The number of Ontario people tested is 4,003,204 of which 90,513 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 162,659. The country has 9,409 deaths from the virus – 238 in British Columbia, 272 in Alberta, 24 in Saskatchewan, 21 in Manitoba, 2,927 in Ontario, 5,857 in Quebec, two in New Brunswick, three in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit region remained at 389 confirmed cases on Friday. There are 15 cases active (-1) and 322 have recovered (+1), as one person has recovered. The breakdown is: Leeds-Grenville East (10 active), Leeds-Grenville West (two active), Lanark County West (two active) and Lanark County East (one active). Fifty-two people have died during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Six more cases in Prescott-Russell were added Friday to bring the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region to a total of 274 confirmed positive cases. Of those, 57 are active and 205 are resolved. There are two people in hospital, 12 deaths to date and two institutional outbreaks. Testing increased by 954 to 60,456.
  • A second student at the Cornwall campus of St. Lawrence College has tested positive. The college says the student is isolating at home and it’s a separate case from the one reported on Tuesday (Sept. 29). A notice from the college on Friday says it’s suspected the student contracted the virus outside Cornwall. The person was last on campus Wednesday, Sept. 23. Contact tracing and cleaning are underway.
  • Ottawa Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches says the COVID-19 pandemic has the health care system in “crisis” territory. The chairman of the Ottawa Public Health board urged Ottawa residents not to take unnecessary trips outside the home, according to the Ottawa Citizen. There were 142 more Ottawa residents who tested positive Friday – the highest one day spike since the pandemic began.
  • Premier Doug Ford has announced that masking when shopping, on public transit and at work when you can’t distance yourself two meters (six feet) from others has been extended to the entire province, if a local order isn’t already in place. The amended order took effect at 12:01 a.m. this morning (Saturday).
  • Ford also announced new limits on bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers in the hot spot areas of Ottawa, Peel and Toronto, starting today (Oct. 3). Indoor capacity at bars and restaurants will be capped at 100 – no more than six at a table. Group exercise classes at gyms will be capped at 10 and the facility max will be 50 patrons. Banquet halls and event facilities will be restricted to six people per table to a maximum of 50 per facility.
  • Ontario’s assessment centers will be appointment only starting Tuesday as the province deals with a backlog of more than 90,000 tests. Premier Doug Ford says this will ensure people don’t endure long lineups in the rain or snow in the coming weeks and months.
  • Given the surge in cases, the Ontario government has paused any further reopening of businesses and facilities for another 28 days. It’s also “pausing social circles” and asking Ontario residents to only have close contact with people under the same roof.
  • Dealing with a large volume of criminal record checks, the Ontario Provincial Police cut off online applications on Friday afternoon and temporarily transferred that responsibility back to local detachments. Starting Monday, people will have to set up an appointment at their local O.P.P. detachment if they don’t already have an application in the online system. The headquarters in Orillia is working on an “enhanced online central intake and payment model.”
  • For the first time since May, Quebec broke 1,000 new cases in a single day. There were 1,052 new infections – 357 of them in Montreal. Thirty more people are hospitalized (total 302) – 3 of them in ICU (total 49).
  • As part of greater family reunification, the federal government is going to allow certain extended family members of Canadian citizens to apply to come into the country, including “those in an exclusive dating relationship for at least 1 year” and their dependent children. The immigration ministry is expected to release more details and the application process on Thursday (Oct. 8).
  • The federal government is launching a public health awareness campaign called #CrushCOVID with the Entertainment Software Association of Canada. It will see COVID-19 messaging aimed at gamers and youth. A disproportionate number of youth aged 13-29 accounts for infections. The government says 65 per cent of Canadians play video games and more than 90 per cent of teens are gamers.
  • Health Canada is evaluating a potential vaccine by AstraZeneca but warns it’s one step on the road to approval.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced $600 million in additional funding for a regional and recovery fund as small and medium sized businesses deal with the second wave.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump is experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19, according to a White House official. This is after announcing early Friday morning on Twitter that he and his wife, Melania, tested positive for the virus. This came hours after one of the president’s closest advisers, Hope Hicks, tested positive. Trump plans to carry out his duties while in quarantine. Later Friday, Trump was flown from the White House to Walter Reed Medical Center as a precaution where he will carry out his work while at the hospital.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has tested negative for coronavirus. That’s according to his primary care doctor. He was on the debate stage with Trump for more than 90 minutes this week.
  • With the recent increase in cases, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is reminding vessel operators that they have to notify their nearest traffic control center if there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on board. People on a boat are required to wear all PPE especially when “external parties” are boarding.

Have a story or news release related to COVID-19? Send it along for possible inclusion in a future digest on Brockville Newswatch. Email editor@brockvillenewswatch.com. Please put “COVID-19 Digest” in the subject line.

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