Coronavirus: What Happens in Canada and Around the World on Saturday
The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Ontario continues its upward trend, hitting a new pandemic high of 2,594 on Saturday, up from Friday’s high of 2,472.
Health officials reported 13,362 new laboratory-confirmed cases on Saturday, though the actual daily number is likely much higher as the province says limited access to PCR tests for most people. The province also reported 31 additional deaths related to COVID-19.
A total of 385 people were being treated in the intensive care unit for the disease, 47 more than the day before.
In Quebec, the number of Hospital admissions related to COVID-19 rose 163 on Saturday to a total of 2,296. Health officials reported 245 ICU patients, an increase of 16 from Friday.
The province also reported 44 more deaths attributable to the novel coronavirus on Saturday, the highest daily death toll in nearly a year.
In Alberta, Alberta Health Services’ early warning system, looking 14 days ahead, suggests the province could see a record number of COVID-19 hospital admissions by then.
As of January 5, the number of out-of-ICU hospital admissions was 448, the data shows. The low scenario of the early warning system predicts that the number will more than double to 968 in two weeks.
COVID-19 hospital admissions outside the ICU in Alberta peaked at 868 on Sept. 27, according to provincial data. On Friday, health officials reported 504 hospital admissions and two more deaths related to COVID-19.
Canada’s health minister said Friday he believed provinces will need to consider implementing a broader vaccine mandate to counter rising cases.
Jean-Yves Duclos said such a move is not currently being considered in Canada, but his personal opinion is that the country “will get there at some point”.
“We know that COVID-19 will be with us for many more months, maybe even many years,” he said.
Duclos said he spoke to provincial and territorial health ministers on Thursday, commending their continued work in dealing with the crisis.
Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney says the province does not have compulsory COVID-19 vaccinations, despite the federal government acknowledging that such intervention may be required in the future.
Kenney said in a brief statement Friday that his government removed compulsory vaccination from the law books last year and “will not reconsider that decision, period.”
What’s happening across Canada
Given the highly strained and increasingly limited testing capacity in the laboratory, experts say the actual case numbers are likely to be far higher than reported. Regional hospitalization data is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report numbers that will differentiate the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 from those who are due to another medical problem are in the hospital and also tested positive for COVID-19.
For more information on what’s happening in your community – including details on outbreaks, testing capacity, and local restrictions – click through the regional coverage below.
In seafaring, New Brunswick Officials reported 80 patients with COVID-19 in the hospital on Saturday. That set a record for hospital admissions for a second straight day as 11 more people were admitted. Seventeen patients remained in the intensive care unit. Health officials registered 421 new cases and one additional death.
In the North, Nunavut 35 new cases reported on Friday while Yukon 41 new cases reported and the Northwest Territories recorded 149.
In Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador Health officials reported four hospital admissions and one other death on Friday.
In Nova Scotia, another death and 48 hospital admissions were reported by health officials on Friday.
In Prince Edward Island, there were two people in hospital being treated for COVID-19 on Friday, up from four the day before.
In the prairie provinces, hospital admissions are in Manitoba rose to 297, health officials reported on Friday. 34 of these patients are in the intensive care unit.
In the neighboring Saskatchewan, 105 such hospital admissions were reported on Friday – including 11 people in the intensive care unit. In addition, 1,170 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the province, a new high. No other deaths were reported.
In British Columbia, the provincial government announced on Friday that thousands of students across the province will be returning to classes on Monday. There are currently 349 hospital admissions in the province due to COVID-19, according to health officials. Nine other deaths were also reported on Friday.
What’s happening all over the world
As of Saturday, more than 303.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracking tool. The reported global death toll was more than 5.4 million.
in the middle East, Hundreds of people gathered in Beirut on Saturday to protest against the measures imposed on the unvaccinated. As of Monday, officials in Lebanon must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo regular PCR tests in order to go to work.
Health Minister Firass Abiad criticized the protesters, saying that more than 20,000 people were vaccinated on Saturday alone as part of a government campaign focusing on students and teachers. Educational institutions are scheduled to resume classes on Monday.
In Europe, UK government advisors have advised against giving nursing home residents and people over 80 a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as data shows that a third vaccination provides permanent protection against hospitalization.
The UK Health Security Agency says hospital protection stays at around 90 percent three months after the third dose for people over 65.
In Asia, India reported 141,986 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, most since late May as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus overtakes the Delta version in cities.
Health experts say India’s high infection rate during an earlier major wave in April and May, as well as vaccinations, would reduce the severity of the disease for those infected with the Omicron variant.
Almost 70 percent of Indians were infected with the coronavirus by the middle of last year, according to government serological studies, while an almost equal proportion of adults have been fully vaccinated since this week.
Authorities in several Indian cities, including the capital New Delhi, have imposed a nightly curfew on weekdays, closed schools and instructed most businesses to only open on alternate days when there is no curfew.