Newswatch COVID-19 Digest: Thursday October 15, 2020

Here are the latest local, regional and national headlines on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for Thursday, October 15, 2020:

  • There have been 61,413 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario, an increase of 721 (or 1.2 per cent) from the previous day. There are 52,512 people recovered from the virus while 3,017 people have died. The number of Ontario people tested is 4,494,373 of which 26,558 have pending results.
  • Canada’s coronavirus case total is 189,387. The country has 9,664 deaths from the virus – 250 in British Columbia, 287 in Alberta, 25 in Saskatchewan, 37 in Manitoba, 3,017 in Ontario, 5,977 in Quebec, two in New Brunswick, four in Newfoundland & Labrador and 65 in Nova Scotia.
  • The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit added two more cases on Wednesday to bring the regional total to 409 confirmed cases, eight of which are active and 349 recovered. The breakdown is: Leeds-Grenville East (one active), Leeds-Grenville Central (two active), Leeds-Grenville West (three active), Lanark County West (one active) and Lanark County East (one active). There have been 52 deaths to date.
  • Another 23 cases were reported in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit region Wednesday, bringing the total to 383 confirmed cases. It’s the second day where 20 or more new cases have been reported – most tied to nursing home outbreaks. Of those, 116 are active cases and 255 are resolved. There are two people in hospital. There have been 12 deaths to date and three active institutional outbreaks (Embrun, Hawkesbury and Alexandria). Testing increased by 611 to 68,585.
  • Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches, is advising against trick-or-treating for Halloween this year and people should stick to their households.
  • The province is reviewing rules around spin studios and gyms after a major outbreak at a Hamilton cycling studio. There have been 46 confirmed cases at SPINCO and another 23 secondary cases – a total of 69 cases linked overall to the studio. Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe said even though it appears the spin studio was following all the rules there was still significant transmission of the virus.
  • The Ontario government will suspend short-term or temporary absences for social and personal reasons at nursing homes in the hot spot areas of Ottawa, Peel and Toronto. The change starts Friday and will be in place indefinitely.
  • The Ontario government is hiring another 600 contact tracers to help trace and isolate new cases. One hundred have already been hired and the remainder should be on the job by the middle of November.
  • WestJet is cutting flights to some Atlantic Canada locations, reducing others and laying off 100 staff. It will eliminate more than 100 flights by the first week of November.
  • Loneliness is taking its toll on Canadians. The latest Morneau Shepell mental health index for September was down 10.2 points overall. The people affected the most described loneliness as a concern at a score of minus 25.8 – more than the fear of dying from the virus.
  • Several towns in New Jersey have banned door-to-door trick-or-treating over COVID-19 concerns. The New Jersey governor said Halloween is a go state-wide but the borough of Glen Ridge banned the practice not just over handing out candy, but the large crowds it attracts in the small community.
  • An inn on Long Island, N.Y. has been fined $10,000 for violating coronavirus rules by hosting a Sweet 16 party which turned into what officials call a superspreader event. At least 270 people have had to self-quarantine. Health officials became aware of the event after cases started showing up in nearby schools. Thirty-seven people of the 81 guests have since tested positive. The owner said he believed at the time they were following the rules, in an interview with CBS New York.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s son, 14-year-old Barron Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19 after initially testing negative. Melania Trump revealed the news Wednesday, saying Barron has now tested negative and she too has also tested negative.

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