Toronto’s top doctor sounds alarm over COVID-19 variants

20 Février, 2021, 08:12 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Canada's largest city, Toronto, wants lockdown extended

Peel has also had variant strains in congregate settings and workplaces, and is now investigating transmission of the B.1.351 strain in a multi-unit dwelling. We believe that the public will be far less accepting of a return to a third lockdown than the gradual and progressive lifting of the existing one.

Eileen de Villa, Toronto's medical officer of health, and Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region's medical officer of health, urged the province to extend lockdowns in their regions for at least an additional two weeks to get a better handle on the coronavirus variants spreading there.

She noted the experience of Germany, whose health minister said Wednesday the virus variant first detected in Britain a year ago now accounts for more than a fifth of all positive tests in his country, rising from 6% in just two weeks. But there are "about five times" that many - another 283 cases - that have screened positive for variants of concern and are undergoing further testing, de Villa pointed out.

Quebec added 14 more deaths from past dates, but no new ones, in its update.

Kurji said his public health unit is concerned about the mental health and economic impacts of the lockdown.

Toronto officials point out that Germany saw its proportion of United Kingdom variant cases increase by 22 per cent in two weeks while closer to home, Newfoundland and Labrador has had nearly 300 cases linked to the United Kingdom variant after confirming just over 700 total COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

"It is no secret that the opening up of the economies at the end of the summer created that catalyst", Miller said.

Yes, there is a possible third wave coming, but we're in a much different situation than the first or second waves.

The new variants of COVID-19 - of which York Region has detected 258 cases - are concerning, but an aggressive vaccine strategy, provincial and local restrictions and aggressive enforcement will help keep cases low, he said.

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Health Minister Christine Elliott says 257 of those new cases are in Toronto, 170 are in Peel Region, and 131 are in York Region. There were no new deaths, leaving that total at 61, while the number of people hospitalized for COVID fell by one to 32.

Miller said vaccinations have started in 400 Indigenous communities.

A shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was delayed because of heavy snowfall earlier this week that temporarily closed operations of the shipping company UPS in Kentucky.

Heath Canada said provinces could expect to receive shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech product at least a day behind schedule, but all 400,000 doses should be in Canada by Friday.

The province also deemed 1,277 more cases of the disease to be resolved as of Thursday, bringing Ontario's number of recovered patients up to 272,146.

This follows the confirmation of 44 new cases. He added that public health authorities are still asking people to say home except for essential trips.

In B.C., there were 427 new cases and three more deaths.

"As a public health physician I have never been as concerned about the threat of COVID-19 to your health as I am now".

Provincial health officials reported that about 79.9 per cent of the variant cases were associated with an outbreak or were a close contact of a confirmed case.



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