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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
10:35 p.m.: By month’s end, passengers on planes, trains and some marine vessels will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to board, a move dubbed a “big step” towards a reopened Canada and a ticket out of pandemic cabin fever for many.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday detailed his government’s plan to require full vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of travel, announcing that by Oct. 30, anyone eligible for a vaccine who is flying out of a Canadian airport or taking a Via Rail or Rocky Mountaineer train must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The new rules also apply to cruise ships, which are permitted to re-enter Canadian waters as of Nov. 1.
“If you haven’t gotten your shots yet but want to travel this winter, let’s be clear: there will only be a few extremely narrow exceptions, like a valid medical condition,” Trudeau said during a news conference. “For the vast, vast majority of people, the rules are very simple to travel. You’ve got to be vaccinated.”
Read the full story here from Raisa Patel.
10:20 p.m.: The World Health Organization is working to ship COVID-19 medical supplies into North Korea, a possible sign that the North is easing one of the world’s strictest pandemic border closures to receive outside help.
WHO said in a weekly monitoring report that it has started the shipment of essential COVID-19 medical supplies through the Chinese port of Dalian for “strategic stockpiling and further dispatch” to North Korea. WHO officials on Thursday didn’t immediately respond to requests for more details, including what those supplies were and whether they had yet reached North Korea.
Describing its anti-virus campaign was a matter of “national existence,” North Korea had severely restricted cross-border traffic and trade for the past two years despite the strain on its already crippled economy.
U.N. human rights investigators in August asked the North’s government to clarify allegations that it ordered troops to shoot on sight any trespassers who cross its borders in violation of its pandemic closing.
While North Korea has yet to report a single case of COVID-19, outside experts widely doubt it escaped the illness that had touched nearly every other place in the world.
10:10 p.m.: The City of Toronto is rolling out several mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics in an effort to boost immunization rates over the Thanksgiving weekend.
At least 18 “Vaxgiving” clinics will be running at malls, transit stations, schools, churches, libraries and other locations.
Mayor John Tory says the clinics, which opened Wednesday, are in areas where vaccination rates are lower than the city’s average.
Toronto is working to reach a goal of having 90 per cent of its eligible population vaccinated — 81 per cent of eligible residents currently have two shots.
The city’s top doctor says anyone who gets their first shot over the Thanksgiving weekend will be able to get fully vaccinated in time for the December holiday season.
9:45 p.m.: Newfoundland and Labrador health officials are asking residents to limit indoor private gatherings to 20 people for the next two weeks.
Acting chief medical officer of health Dr. Rosann Seviour told reporters today her recommendation is consistent with gathering limits in other Atlantic provinces.
She says that as the colder weather sets in, people are much more likely to move indoors, which raises the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.
Officials are reporting nine new cases of COVID-19 today and 30 more recoveries.
Seven cases are in the central health region and two are in the eastern health region, which includes St. John’s. The province has 132 active reported COVID-19 cases and 14 people in hospital with the disease.
Seviour says 90 per cent of people 12 and older have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and about 82 per cent are fully vaccinated.
9:30 p.m.: British Columbia has recorded 752 more cases of COVID-19 as nearly 82 per cent of eligible residents aged 12 and up have now been fully vaccinated.
The province says nine more people have died, for a total of 1,992 deaths from the virus.
It says during the last two weeks, over 69 per cent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated, but that over 22 per cent had received both doses of a vaccine.
Three hospitals are currently experiencing outbreaks, while most of the 18 outbreaks at health facilities are in long-term care homes.
Seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie has issued a report saying long-term care and assisted living residents are three and a half times more likely to contract COVID-19 and 33 times more likely to die from it.
6:03 p.m.: Canadian military nurses have started their work at an Edmonton hospital to help alleviate pressure on a critical care unit overburdened with COVID-19 patients.
The Canadian Armed Forces says eight critical care nursing officers — from Ontario and Nova Scotia — have been sent to the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
Alberta requested assistance from the military last month as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions spiked.
The military support is to be in place until the end of October.
Alberta has the most active cases in the country, with nearly 19,000 infections.
The province reported 1,263 new cases and 26 new deaths, with 247 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.
New measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta came into effect Wednesday, including a reduction in the outdoor gathering limit to 20 people from 200 and the resumption of public reporting of schools with at least two known infections.
Additionally, Albertans 75 and older and First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 65 and older can now book a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
5:27 p.m.: Ontario’s long-term care operators welcomed provincial funding announced Wednesday to hire more than 4,000 staff within a year but advocates and employees said more must be done to improve working conditions in the sector.
Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips said the province would put aside $270 million to hire 4,050 long-term care workers by the end of next March.
It’s part of a previously announced plan by the Progressive Conservative government to hire more workers for the sector, with a goal of getting long-term care residents an average of four hours of direct care per day by 2025.
“This investment will allow all homes to hire and retain the staff they need to increase daily direct care so that we can meet the annual goals set out in our staffing plan,” Phillips said at a press conference in Toronto.
The government plans to introduce legislation this fall that would enshrine the four-hour care standard into law, the minister said.
5 p.m.: Quebec’s premier and its health minister on Wednesday defended their decision to impose mandatory vaccination for health-care workers, even as an opposition party and several unions urged them to push back the deadline to avoid potential service breakdowns.
As of last week, some 7,000 front-line health-care workers remained unvaccinated and could face suspension without pay after the government’s Oct. 15 deadline.
Jeff Begley, the head of the federation of health and social services unions, said that with less than two weeks to go before the deadline, most unions still have very few details on the government’s plan to address the looming staff shortage.
He said he understands that officials want to wait until the last minute to have up-to-date vaccination rates before unveiling the plan, but said the lack of information is adding more stress for health workers who are already burned out from a year and a half of fighting the pandemic.
“I dare to hope that at the local level, the employers understand how employees are at the end of their ropes,” he said in a phone interview.
Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon held a news conference on Wednesday alongside five other health-care union heads, urging the government to delay the deadline to avoid a “generalized break in services.”
4:43 p.m.: Brent Clark says the New Brunswick government should have decided a little earlier to prohibit Thanksgiving Day gatherings.
Clark, a resident of Hartland, N.B., by the border with Quebec, said he had to cancel last minute a party he had planned with his three older daughters, grandchildren and his in-laws.
“This year, it’ll be nobody,” he said Wednesday, a day after Premier Blaine Higgs issued a provincewide health order capping all indoor gatherings to members of a single household for the Thanksgiving long weekend. Higgs said the order was necessary to limit a surge in COVID-19 cases in the province despite the fact more than 80 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are fully vaccinated.
“If (the government) wanted to do something, they should’ve given more notice,” Clark lamented.
Aside from the Thanksgiving party ban, Higgs issued a series of tough measures for parts of the province with high COVID-19 transmission, including Moncton.
New Brunswick’s per capita rate of reported cases in the past 14 days has exceeded every other province, except Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, according to federal data. The figures show that New Brunswick’s case rate was 150 infections per 100,000 people. By comparison, the rates in Alberta and Saskatchewan were more than three times higher at 470 and 538, respectively. British Columbia’s rate stood at 198 per 100,000, as of Oct. 5.
4:20 p.m.: Nova Scotia is expanding its vaccine mandate, announcing Wednesday that it will require 11,000 direct government employees to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 30.
The move comes a week after the province announced the mandate for public sector employees such as health workers and teachers and as health officials reported one new death related to COVID-19 and 25 new cases of the virus.
“If you are deciding not to get vaccinated that’s your choice, but the consequences of your choice are clear,” Premier Tim Houston said during a media briefing.
Like the previous groups of workers covered by the mandatory vaccine policy, government civil servants who don’t get two shots by the deadline will be placed on unpaid administrative leave, unless they have received an employer-approved medical exemption.
Under the rules, full vaccination will also be a condition of employment for new staff being hired by the province.
4:05 p.m.: The number of Saskatchewan residents who are hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to climb to record levels.
There are 356 people who are hospitalized with the virus, including 76 in intensive care — the highest since the pandemic began.
The province typically has 79 ICU beds, but the Saskatchewan Health Authority has been adding beds and redeploying staff to COVID-19 wards.
The Ministry of Health says about 77 per cent of those who are hospitalized were either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
The health authority says unvaccinated people in the province are five times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.
The province reported 478 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with another seven people dying.
2:59 p.m.: Los Angeles leaders on Wednesday approved one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates — a sweeping measure that requires the shots for everyone entering bars, restaurants, nail salons, gyms or even a Lakers game.
The City Council voted 11-2 in favor of the ordinance that will require proof of full vaccination starting Nov. 4.
The move came after the council postponed a vote last week to deal with concerns ranging from who could be fined for violations to whether employees could end up in fist-fights when they have to serve as vaccine door monitors.
Some critics charge that a mandate would amount to segregation of those who cannot or refuse to be vaccinated. Others call it unenforceable.
Business trade groups have said the city mandate will sow confusion because Los Angeles County’s own vaccine rules — which apply both in Los Angeles and in surrounding communities — are less sweeping.
2:30 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford is defending his controversial decision to allow two Progressive Conservative MPPs who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 to remain in his caucus with undisclosed “medical exemptions.”
“We were very transparent on the people who had a medical exemption. We don’t get involved in people’s personal medical records,” the premier told the legislature Wednesday.
His comments came after Tory MPPs Christina Mitas (Scarborough Centre) and Lindsey Park (Durham) obtained doctors’ notes excusing them from being vaccinated against COVID-19 despite Ford’s edict that all PC members and candidates get their shots.
Mitas produced her medical exemption in August, on the same day the premier removed MPP Rick Nicholls (Chatham-Kent-Leamington) from the PC caucus for refusing to get vaccinated. Park only revealed her unvaccinated status on Friday, after previously misleading colleagues about it.
Read the full story here from David Rider and Jennifer Pagliaro
2:10 p.m.: The city of Toronto says any of its active employees who have not been fully vaccinated by the week of Nov. 1 will be suspended without pay for six weeks, the Star has learned.
Anyone not vaccinated by Dec. 13 will be fired.
The discipline was communicated in an all-staff email from city manager Chris Murray on Wednesday, a copy of which was obtained by the Star.
Starting the week of Nov. 1, anyone who has not provided proof of both doses will be required to meet with their supervisor to review their status, the email from Murray said.
Anyone who has been suspended can provide proof of vaccination to return to work.
Employees will not be able to use vacation or other days provided to them under their contracts to be paid during their suspension.
Read the full story here from David Rider and Jennifer Pagliaro.
2 p.m. COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are coming down again, hospitalizations are dropping, and new cases per day are about to dip below 100,000 for the first time in two months — all signs that the summer surge is waning.
Not wanting to lose momentum, government leaders and employers are looking at strengthening and expanding vaccine requirements.
Los Angeles was poised to enact on Wednesday one of the nation’s strictest vaccine mandates — a sweeping measure that would require the shots for everyone entering a bar, restaurant, nail salon, gym or Lakers game.
Minnesota’s governor this week called for vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and long-term care workers. In New York, a statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing home workers will be expanded Thursday to home care and hospice employees.
1:45 p.m. Several Ontario religious organizations are requiring staff and volunteers at places of worship to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while encouraging members of their congregations to get their shots.
The province’s vaccine certificate system – which kicked in last month and requires proof of a shot to access certain venues – does not cover places of worship.
In London, Ont., the Diocese of Huron decided to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for anyone working at its churches. The policy applies to priests, pastors and volunteers, as well as those who greet people at church doors and help with readings.
At St. Aidan’s Anglican Church, which is part of the diocese, the mandate applies to about 100 of the congregation’s 120 members, said Canon Kevin George.
The vaccine mandate does not apply, however, to everyone attending a service because the Diocese of Huron didn’t want to exclude anyone from public worship, George said. He’s nonetheless encouraging congregation members to get vaccinated.
1:30 p.m. Nova Scotia is reporting one new death related to COVID-19 today and 25 new cases of the virus.
Health officials say a woman in her 70s has died in the Halifax area.
There have been 98 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in the province since the beginning of the pandemic.
Twenty of the new cases have been identified in the Halifax area, while two are in the province’s western zone, two are in the northern zone and one is in the eastern zone.
The province has 254 active virus cases, with 15 people in hospital due to an infection, including five patients in intensive care.
According to provincial data, 81.2 per cent of the population has had at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, while 75.6 per cent are fully vaccinated.
1:15 p.m. Torontonians planning to gather indoors for Thanksgiving should make sure all guests are vaccinated, the city’s public health chief said Wednesday.
Dr. Eileen de Villa told reporters at a mobile vaccination clinic in Thorncliffe Park that, unlike last year, she is not advising people to skip Thanksgiving celebrations altogether, or to gather only with others in their immediate household.
This year Toronto’s high level of vaccination means small, maskless gatherings are safe, even with the virulent Delta variant circulating, as long as everyone attending is fully protected against the virus, she said.
If there will be unvaccinated guests, including children under 12, or others for whom the host doesn’t know the vaccination status, hosts should consider outdoor gatherings.
“What I’m suggesting to people is to ask about vaccinations,” before inviting them, de Villa said.
Read the full story from the Star’s David Rider
1 p.m. The Biden administration will announce a $1 billion purchase of rapid at-home COVID-19 tests on Wednesday, an additional investment geared at expanding the availability of such products in the coming months, a White House official said.
Along with the authorization of another at-home test product on Monday, the $1 billion investment and earlier outlays should put the country on track to quadruple rapid testing by December, the official said. It wasn’t immediately clear which companies would receive orders.
The latest moves signal an increasing emphasis on testing as the virus continues to make a comeback in the U.S. and vaccination rates falter. Americans are also increasingly turning to the rapid products for everything from testing schoolchildren to getting into events, and supplies are scarce.
The U.S. has been producing about 30 million rapid at-home tests a month of late, a figure that should grow to 200 million a month in December, according to the official. The administration expects to also improve affordability of the tests with these moves, the official said.
12:45 p.m. Some Ontario health units are taking a harder line than the province on COVID-19 vaccination rules for youth sports.
The province’s proof-of-vaccination policy affecting gyms and other indoor facilities exempts people under age 18 who are entering fitness facilities to participate in organized sports.
But health units covering Windsor-Essex County and York Region have revoked that exemption.
They say heavy breathing, close and prolonged contact and crowded spaces during indoor sports increase the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission.
Medical officers covering seven northern Ontario health units are requiring vaccination for coaches, officials and volunteers aged 12 and older at indoor organized sports.
The immunization rule doesn’t apply to youth participants but the group of top doctors says they will change that if deemed necessary.
12:20 p.m. Chicago Public Schools will shorten the length of time students will have to quarantine if they’ve had a possible exposure to COVID-19.
City and school officials announced the change Tuesday as they again sought to put in context the number of coronavirus cases and quarantines in CPS, saying case rates have remained low and transmission in schools has not increased significantly since the new year began in late August.
Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a tweet that, through Sept. 25, more than 15,000 CPS students had been traced as close contacts of someone found to be in a school while they were infectious with COVID-19. But of those students, only 1.6 per cent have tested positive for the virus.
Surveillance testing, for those without symptoms, was at about 0.2 per cent positive rate, Arwady said at a news conference, appearing with new CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. They said CPS’ contact tracing and screening programs have improved, though Martinez acknowledged testing has not yet expanded to all schools, despite an earlier vow that would happen by the end of last week.
11:45 a.m. Quebec is reporting 506 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday and three more deaths attributed to the coronavirus.
It’s the first time this week the number of new cases has crept above 500, after three straight days below that mark.
Health officials say COVID-19-related hospitalizations rose by three, to 294, while the number of people in intensive care remained stable at 90.
Officials say an additional 8,846 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the previous 24 hours, including 5,267 second doses.
The province says about 89.6 per cent of the eligible population 12 and over has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 86 per cent is considered fully vaccinated.
Health officials say unvaccinated people are 7.8 times more likely to become infected and 27.9 times more likely to need hospitalization compared with those who have received two doses.
11:23 a.m. The core public service, air travel and rail employees — and their passengers — must all be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of October according to Canada’s new mandatory vaccine policy.
Public servants must attest that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 29 or be put on unpaid administrative leave, whilhe government is working with employers of air and rail companies to develop their own mandatory vaccine policies by the end of the month.
11:10 a.m. Ontario is reporting another 476 COVID-19 cases and 14 more deaths, according to its latest report released Wednesday morning. Of the 14, four of the deaths occurred more than a month ago and are being reported as part of a data cleanup.
Ontario has administered 32,296 vaccine doses since its last daily update, with 21,948,953 vaccines given in total as of 8 p.m. Tuesday night.
According to the Star’s vaccine tracker, 11,299,600 people in Ontario have received at least one shot. That works out to approximately 86.7 per cent of the eligible population 12 years and older, and the equivalent of 76 per cent of the total population, including those not yet eligible for the vaccine.
Read the full story from the Star’s Miriam Nouser
10:42 a.m. U.S. drugmaker Moderna is asking Health Canada to authorize a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine.
The company submitted data on a booster shot that is half the size of the doses used to give first and second shots of the vaccine so far.
Last month Moderna said there were signs immunity was waning the longer people got from their doses.
Public health and vaccine experts in Canada are leery of recommending booster shots for most Canadians because the vaccines thus far are showing to maintain strong protection against severe disease even if protection against infection at all is dropping.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization said in late September a third dose of vaccine was warranted for people in long-term care homes or with compromised immune systems, similar to recommendations made by both the European Medicines Agency and the United States Food and Drug Administration.
NACI says many seniors and immune-compromised patients don’t mount as robust a response after two doses as younger or healthier people do, and many also didn’t benefit from a longer interval between doses.
10:20 a.m. Ontario is reporting 476 new COVID-19 cases. In Ontario, 21,948,953 vaccine doses have been administered. Nearly 86.7 per cent of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and nearly 81.7 per cent have two doses, according to a tweet from Health Minister Christine Elliott.
9:20 a.m. Peel Public Health has confirmed that 10 schools in the region have active COVID-19 outbreaks.
Since schools reopened after Labour Day, there have been a total of 13 outbreaks, with three resolved.
An outbreak is declared if the facility has two or more COVID-19 cases with an epidemiological link, which means at least one of the patients could have acquired the infection in the school.
8:46 a.m. Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince has declared that life is returning to normal in the United Arab Emirates, as virus cases decline and the oil-rich sheikhdom emerges from the pandemic.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed made the remarks Wednesday as his regular Abu Dhabi “majlis,” the royal gathering space, resumed in-person. The majority of the officials at the traditional meeting were seen without masks, even as a strict, long-standing mask mandate still prevails in the UAE.
Sheikh Mohammed says: “I bring you good news. The health situation in the United Arab Emirates is good.”
Coronavirus infections in the Emirates have plunged to under 200 a day, their lowest level since the start of August 2020. Inoculations have accelerated, with over 84% of people fully vaccinated.
Dubai is now hosting the delayed 2020 World Expo, a massive in-person extravaganza with concerts, events and showcases that aims to draw millions of visitors from around the world over six months.
8 a.m. Although the TTC has started to recover from the worst of COVID-19, experts say it remains at risk of falling into what some call the “transit death spiral” — a vicious cycle set off when transit operators respond to ridership declines by reducing service. Less service makes transit less attractive, and riders soon find other ways to get around, which leads to less revenue, which requires more cuts, and on and on.
Read the full story from the Star’s Ben Spurr
7:45 a.m. The York Region District School Board’s own staff strongly objected to implementing a controversial and seldom-used hybrid learning model for elementary schools, saying it would be “detrimental” to students and families and leave marginalized students behind.
Sources told the Star an internal report from staff to senior leaders also noted that five Ontario school boards, which had previously used a hybrid system — in which teachers instruct students online and in person simultaneously — “strongly discouraged” the York board from pursuing the model for its elementary schools.
But soon after they submitted their report in May, staff were informed a decision to move forward with the hybrid model had already been made, leaving them to wonder if any of their work had been considered by the board leadership.
Read the full story from the Star’s Noor Javed and Maria Sarrouh
7:30 a.m. As Ontario enters the third month of its fourth pandemic wave, case counts continue to be stubbornly high despite growing vaccination levels and widespread restrictions on businesses.
Provincial public heath data indicates a key factor could be the lack of widespread vaccination requirements for workers at warehouses, manufacturers and construction sites, the workplaces where the majority of COVID-19 transmission is now taking place.
Data from Ontario’s Ministry of Health shows that outside of the education system, such workplaces continue to be the leading source of active outbreaks in the province. But a survey of employers in those sectors by the Star shows that many are still not requiring that workers get vaccinated to enter work sites.
Read the full story from the Star’s Josh Rubin
5:50 a.m.: Russia’s daily toll of coronavirus deaths surpassed 900 for the first time of the pandemic Wednesday, a record that comes amid the country’s low vaccination rate and the government’s reluctance to impose tough restrictions to control new cases.
Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 929 new deaths on Wednesday, the fourth time this month that daily COVID-19 deaths reached record highs. The previous record, of 895 deaths, was registered Tuesday.
The task force also reported 25,133 new confirmed cases Wednesday.
The rise in infections and deaths began in late September. The Kremlin has blamed it too few Russians getting vaccinated. As of Tuesday, almost 33% of Russia’s 146 million people had received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine, and 29% was fully vaccinated.
Despite the surge, government officials rejected the idea of imposing a lockdown and said regional authorities would take steps to stem the spread of the virus.
5:49 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make good today on his election promise to require all federal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Trudeau is expected to announce at a news conference this morning a new policy of mandatory vaccinations for employees in federally regulated workplaces.
That will include mandatory vaccinations for anyone wanting to board a plane or a train in Canada.
The policy is expected to go into effect by the end of this month.
Trudeau promised in August, just before calling the election, that his Liberal government would make vaccinations mandatory for federal employees.
Since then, Treasury Board officials have been working out the details — including the consequences for workers who refuse to get vaccinated — in consultation with the affected unions.
5:48 a.m.: British Columbia’s seniors advocate is set to release a review of COVID-19 outbreaks in the province’s care facilities.
Isobel Mackenzie said last spring the review will examine more than two dozen of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks at care facilities for seniors to better understand what happened.
Recent data posted by the province’s Centre for Disease Control says there were 368 COVID-19 outbreaks at B.C. care facilities from January 2020 to September 2021 and 1,092 deaths of residents.
Mackenzie has said factors leading to the outbreaks could be results of the age and size of buildings, whether residents shared rooms, staffing levels, sick leave policies for workers, infection control protocols, and the age and conditions of the residents.
The B.C. government says it has embarked on initiatives to hire more care facility staff and it is aiming to have more single rooms available for residents.
Mackenzie says she has been heartened by the public’s response to calls for improvements to long-term care.
5:47 a.m.: Canadian military nurses will begin work at an Edmonton hospital today to help alleviate pressure on a critical care unit overburdened with COVID-19 patients.
The Canadian Armed Forces says eight critical care nursing officers – from Ontario and Nova Scotia – are to begin shifts as early as this afternoon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
Alberta requested assistance from the military last month as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions spiked.
The military support is to be in place until the end of October.
New measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta also come into effect today, including a reduction in the outdoor gathering limit to 20 people from 200 and the resumption of public reporting of schools with at least two known infections.
Additionally, Albertans 75 and older and First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 65 and older can now book a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
5:47 a.m.: More than 30 national and provincial health organizations are trying to decide which of the devastating effects COVID-19 has taken on Canadian health care to tackle first, as they work to steer the country out of crisis.
The Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Nurses Association held an emergency summit Tuesday night to discuss how to move forward since the pandemic brought the health system to a breaking point, with no end in sight.
The organizations are particularly concerned about growing surgical backlogs and the effect that will have on patients’ quality of life for the years to come.
The well-being of health workers is also top of mind, as they report feeling exhausted, demoralized and short-staffed for 18 months straight.
CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart is expected to brief reporters about the meeting Wednesday morning.
5:46 a.m.: When it comes to misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, health advocates have heard it all.
During a recent round of surveying farmworkers, there were a number of concerns ranging from misguided and inaccurate to specific and head-scratching, such as that the shots will somehow alter a recipient’s sexuality.
“Every single week, it’s a new myth,” Hernan Hernandez, executive director of the Central Valley-based California Farmworker Foundation, said last week.
Even with the COVID-19 vaccine campaign now nearly 10 months old, officials and immunization advocates throughout the state say persistent misconceptions and disinformation are hobbling efforts to promote the shots in certain parts of California, including among some Latino communities.
In Orange County, only 47% of Latino residents age 12 and up have received at least one dose, compared to 73% among white residents, according to state data.
And in Fresno County — where hospitals were thrown into crisis as they effectively ran out of available intensive care unit beds — 54% of Latino residents in the same age group have received at least one dose, compared to 67% of white residents.
Wednesday 5:41 a.m.: With Idaho Gov. Brad Little out of the state on Tuesday, Lt.-Gov. Janice McGeachin issued an executive order involving COVID-19 vaccines.
Oh no you don’t, said Little, who promised to rescind it in quick order.
The manoeuvring of Idaho’s top leaders came while Little was in Texas meeting with nine other Republican governors over concerns on how President Joe Biden is handling border issues. McGeachin, a far-right Republican, is running for governor. In Idaho, the governor and lieutenant governor don’t run on the same ticket.
McGeachin’s executive order issued Tuesday afternoon seeks, among other things, to prevent employers from requiring their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Most mainstream Republicans prefer to stay out of the employee-employer relationship.
“I am in Texas performing my duties as the duly elected Governor of Idaho, and I have not authorized the Lt. Governor to act on my behalf,” Little said in a statement shortly after arriving in Texas on Tuesday. “I will be rescinding and reversing any actions taken by the Lt. Governor when I return.”
Little was expected to be back in the state Wednesday evening.
Read Tuesday’s coronavirus news.
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