Coronavirus: What’s Happening in Canada and Around the World Tuesday
The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, will hold a press conference this afternoon to address the resignation of the provincial director of public health.
Dr Horacio Arruda, a key leader in the province’s pandemic response, tendered his resignation on Monday, and Legault’s office told The Canadian Press that the premier had accepted it. Legault is expected to speak at 1 p.m. ET.
On Monday, Quebec reported 2,554 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 – a new pandemic high – as well as 248 intensive care cases. The province has reported 11,966 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Arruda wrote in a letter dated Monday that his office had offered public health advice and recommendations amid the uncertainty and based on the best available knowledge and various expert opinions. But he acknowledged that there was “some erosion” of public support for health measures.
“In such a context, I consider it appropriate to offer you the possibility of replacing me before the end of my mandate.
Arruda’s contract was renewed for three years in August 2020.
In recent weeks, the province has reinstated several strict health measures, including a curfew for the second year in a row, amid rising infections and hospitalizations.
Radio-Canada has announced that Arruda will be replaced by Dr. Luc Boileau.
-From The Canadian Press, with a file from CBC News, last updated at 7:10 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
With a deeply strained and increasingly constrained laboratory testing capacity, experts say the actual number of cases is likely much higher than reported. Regional hospitalization data is also changing, with several provinces saying they will release numbers that separate the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 from those hospitalized for another medical condition who also test positive for COVID-19. .
For more information on what’s going on in your community, including details on outbreaks, testing capacity, and local restrictions, click on the regional coverage below.
You can also read more about the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed overview of each region – including seven-day mean test positivity rates – in his daily epidemiological updates.
In Atlantic Canada, New Scotland Monday reported three additional COVID-19-related deaths and 59 hospitalizations, including two people in intensive care units. The update came as the province – which recently switched temporarily to distance education – reported 816 more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, health officials reported two more deaths and four hospitalizations from COVID-19 on Monday. Health officials reported a total of 1,135 cases on Monday – but that figure included 680 positives that had been sent for testing in labs out of the province due to capacity issues. Further out-of-province results are expected in the coming days, the health minister said.
In Prince Edward Island, five people were hospitalized and treated for COVID-19, health officials reported on Monday, including one in intensive care. The province has also reported 320 more cases since the last update on Saturday.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations in New Brunswick reached a pandemic peak, with 86 people hospitalized, including 13 in intensive care. The province, which has seen 220 laboratory-confirmed cases, has extended eligibility for booster doses to adults over 18 years of age.
In central Canada, Ontario students will return to class next Monday after switching to distance learning after the holidays – a sudden change that has sparked heated debate.
“As planned and previously announced, students will resume in-person learning on Monday, January 17,” Ford media relations manager Ivana Yelich said in an email on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Christine Elliott will speak on the issue at 12:30 p.m. ET, alongside Matthew Anderson, CEO of Ontario Health. The province’s healthcare system has been strained in recent weeks due to the highly transmissible variant, which has also caused staff shortages in several areas.
The province reported 12 more deaths and 2,467 hospitalizations on Monday, with 438 people in intensive care. Ontario, which is one of many regions across the country to ration access to lab testing for COVID-19, has also reported 9,706 more lab-confirmed cases.
Across the North, health officials in yukonese said people who develop symptoms of COVID-19 and are not eligible for a lab PCR test can take a rapid test at a drive-thru in Whitehorse.
In the Prairie provinces, Manitoba Health officials said on Monday there were 378 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 39 in intensive care units. The province, which has reported 19 more deaths over a three-day period, has recorded 7,083 laboratory-confirmed cases since the last update.
In Saskatchewan, the total number of hospitalizations stood at 119 on Monday, health officials reported, including 11 in intensive care. No additional deaths were reported on Monday, as the province recorded 1,069 more laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Alberta, meanwhile, reported 635 hospitalizations related to COVID-19, with 72 people in intensive care. The update came as the province reported six more deaths since its update last week and an additional 17,577 laboratory-confirmed cases.
In British Columbia, Provincial health officials reported on Monday that COVID-19-related hospitalizations stood at 431, with 95 people in intensive care units. The update came as the province’s health ministry reported seven more deaths since last week’s update, as well as an additional 6,966 laboratory-confirmed cases.
-From CBC News and The Canadian Press, last updated 9:45 a.m.ET
What is happening in the world
As of Tuesday morning, around 310.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker. The death toll worldwide stood at more than 5.4 million.
In Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced a wave of public and political outrage on Tuesday over allegations he and his staff flouted coronavirus lockdown rules by hosting a garden party in 2020 as the British law prohibited mingling outside the home.
Opposition politicians have called for a police investigation after broadcaster ITV leaked e-mails inviting “social distancing drinks” in the garden of the Prime Minister’s office and residence in Downing Street in May 2020. The email from the Prime Minister’s private secretary, Martin Reynolds, was sent to dozens of people and urged attendees to “bring your own booze”.
The event was scheduled for May 20, 2020 – the same day the government, in a televised press conference, reminded people that they can only meet one person outside of their home. The London Metropolitan Police also issued rule reminders that day.
Police said on Tuesday they were “in contact” with the government over the party’s allegations, which follow allegations of several other rule-breaking rallies in Downing Street during the pandemic.
In Britain’s first lockdown, which began in March 2020 and lasted for more than two months, gatherings were banned with a few exceptions, including work and funerals. Millions of people have been cut off from friends and family, and even prevented from visiting dying relatives in hospitals. On the day of the garden party, 268 people with the coronavirus died in Britain, according to official figures, bringing the total number of deaths to over 36,000. The total now stands at over 150,000, the highest balance sheet in Europe after Russia.
The opposition Labor Party demanded Johnson answer questions about the allegations in Parliament – but the government sent a deputy minister, Michael Ellis, to confront lawmakers instead. Ellis apologized “for the upheaval these allegations have caused” but said he could not comment further as an investigation was ongoing.
Deputy Labor Chief Angela Rayner said “Johnson’s absence speaks volumes.”
“He can run but he can’t hide,” she said.
In the Americas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department have advised against travel to neighboring Canada, and the Washington Post has said it is considering recommending better masks.
In Mexico, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that he had contracted COVID-19 for the second time, saying he had a mild case and would continue to work in isolation until he recovered.
In the Asia Pacific region, cities in China are imposing tighter restrictions in an attempt to control new outbreaks of COVID-19, with Tianjin now battling the highly contagious variant of Omicron, which has already been detected in at least two other provinces.
In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Monday reported 2,409 additional cases and 77 deaths.
In the Middle East, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said he tested positive but was in good health.
-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, latest update 9:45 a.m.ET