A look at the latest COVID-19 developments in Canada


Published January 26, 2022 at 3:54 pm

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

— Quebec has launched an online portal to track COVID-19 rapid test results, even as experts and government officials admit there are limits to the accuracy of the data it provides. Health Minister Christian Dubé says the government-run platform will help the province better track COVID-19 transmission in the community, given that publicly run PCR testing is reserved for people in high-risk groups. Quebecers are asked to enter their names, dates of birth and medicare numbers on the platform, as well as the dates the tests were taken, whether they had symptoms and whether the results were positive or negative.

— A new survey suggests a widening gap between the pandemic views of people who have opted to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster and those who are holding steady with only two shots. A web panel survey carried out by Leger for the Association for Canadian Studies shows 67 per cent of people with a booster dose who responded are afraid of contracting COVID-19, compared to just 52 per cent of those with two doses. “We’re seeing what I call a ‘booster hesitancy,’ as opposed to a vaccine hesitancy, and it’s shaping some of their attitudes. Their level of concern about COVID is a bit different from the boosted. The degree to which they’re concerned about the vaccination is a bit different,” says Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies. For instance, 82 per cent of boosted respondents said they supported vaccine mandates at shopping malls and retail outlets, compared to only 57.8 per cent of people with two doses.

— Ontario is reporting 608 people in intensive care with COVID-19 and 4,016 people hospitalized with the virus. The intensive care figures are down slightly from the 626 people in ICU reported Tuesday, while hospitalizations rose slightly from 4,008. There were 89 more virus-related deaths reported, which the province says occurred over the past three weeks, and another three deaths recorded that happened more than a month ago.

— Saskatchewan’s top doctor says the province is considering whether to lift some of its COVID-19 measures as spring nears. Dr. Saqib Shahab says conversations are ongoing with government officials about what public health orders are still needed as society learns to live with the virus. He adds that there needs to be a long-term plan in place as the pandemic will soon be entering its third year in Canada. Premier Scott Moe told the John Gormley talk radio show that some restrictions have run their course and Saskatchewan’s goal is to remove all restrictions when it is able.

— Manitoba’s chief public health officer says the province may be close to the peak of the current COVID-19 wave. Dr. Brent Roussin says it’s too early to be definitive, but indicators point to a possible peak in the next week or so. The number of people in Manitoba hospitals with the virus has dropped slightly and the number of patients in intensive care has stabilized. Roussin says wastewater samples collected in Winnipeg are down from a high in early January, but the drop has not been big and the numbers continue to fluctuate.

— Schools on Prince Edward Island will reopen for in-person learning starting Monday. Chief medical officer Dr. Heather Morrison says all kindergarten to Grade 12 schools will reopen next week with enhanced measures, including masking and testing. The province will also see the loosening of some health measures next week. Morrison says indoor dining and fitness facilities will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity starting Monday, and organized gatherings will be permitted with a limit of 50 people, among other new rules.

— Nova Scotia is reporting three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Health officials say a woman and a man in their 80s died in the Halifax area and that a man in his 90s died in the province’s eastern zone. There are 16 new COVID-19 hospital admissions and 15 patients are in intensive care. Officials say a total of 312 people are in hospital with the disease.

— Three more people in Newfoundland and Labrador have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of fatalities from the disease in the province to 34. Fifteen of the province’s 34 COVID-19-related deaths have occurred in the past three and a half weeks. Health Minister John Haggie says the latest modelling indicates about 60 per cent of deaths assumed to be linked to the Omicron variant involved people who had received at least one dose of vaccine.

— New Brunswick health officials are reporting six more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. Five of the deaths involved people 80 years old and above while one person in their 40s died in the Miramichi, N.B., region. New Brunswick has reported a total of 221 COVID-19 deaths. Health officials say there are 137 people hospitalized with COVID-19 — a drop of one since Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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