A look at the latest COVID-19 developments in Canada


Published January 25, 2022 at 3:53 pm

A look at the latest COVID-19 news in Canada:

— Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he doesn’t see the province’s mask mandates ending any time soon. Ford was speaking with Belleville radio station CJBQ and was asked about his recently announced plan to start easing COVID-19 restrictions. The premier said he can’t stand shutdowns and wants to get back to normal, but wants to do it properly and cautiously, which is why there will be at least 21 days between each reopening phase. When asked if a mask mandate will be lifted, Ford said he couldn’t say that it will be soon.

— Quebec Premier François Legault is announcing that restaurant dining rooms in the province will be able to reopen next week as part of a gradual easing of COVID-19 measures that have been in place since December. “I told you last week that we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Legault told a news conference in Montreal. “I think we can say today that we are out of the tunnel.” He cautioned, however, that the province’s health system is “in rough shape” and it will take time to build the hospital capacity the province needs.

— One Nunavut community is under a strict lockdown as COVID-19 spreads rapidly among households. All offices and schools in the Baffin Island community of Igloolik, where about 1,600 people live, are closed and travel is restricted. Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says there are 17 active COVID-19 cases listed in the community, but notes the numbers are much higher because of a lag in testing. 

— Yukon’s education minister says the territory will no longer be issuing COVID-19 exposure notifications at schools. Jeanie McLean says the Yukon Centre for Disease Control is monitoring class attendance in an effort to ensure children are safe at schools. She says keeping schools open is a top priority for the territory, although she acknowledged the stress on staff in making sure schools are safe and remain operating. McLean says she understands parents may be concerned about no longer receiving COVID-19 exposure notices from schools, but health authorities are closely monitoring attendance. 

— Newfoundland and Labrador students in kindergarten through Grade 12 packed their book bags and headed to school for the first time since the holiday break began in December. Students in the province have been learning remotely since Jan. 4, when the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus was still driving daily case counts skyward. Officials are reporting 296 new confirmed cases compared with 493 on Jan. 4, though the case count does not include those who may be sick but don’t qualify for a test. Students were required to take two rapid COVID-19 tests before heading to class, but the province’s teachers association said the majority of its members felt it was unsafe to resume in-school learning.

— New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health says that while hospitalizations continue to rise, they are below original projections, which indicates people have responded to the call to reduce their contacts. Dr. Jennifer Russell confirmed there are 138 people hospitalized with COVID-19 — an increase of seven from Monday. There are 11 people in intensive care and three people on ventilators. In a statement, Russell said three more people have died as a result of COVID-19.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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