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Hundreds of ICU patients transferred between Ontario hospitals as COVID-19 admissions rise

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Patient transfers are routine across Ontario’s entire hospital network, but intensive care physicians who spoke to CBC News stressed the practice recently became more common to ensure hospital sites don’t become overwhelmed as admissions keep rising.

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Coronavirus latest: Ontario reports 3,813 new COVID-19 cases, Quebec has 1,754

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Travellers are directed to take a mandatory COVID-19 test after arriving on an international flight at Pearson airport in February. Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press Ontario is reporting 3,813 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 19 additional deaths associated with the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 973 new cases in Toronto, 669 in…

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Travellers are directed to take a mandatory COVID-19 test after arriving on an international flight at Pearson airport in February.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Ontario is reporting 3,813 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday and 19 additional deaths associated with the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 973 new cases in Toronto, 669 in Peel Region, and 442 in York Region.

She also says there are 289 new cases in Ottawa and 281 in Durham Region east of Toronto.

There are currently 1,524 patients in Ontario hospitals due to COVID-19, with 585 in intensive care and 384 on a ventilator.

Those figures come hours after the province issued a pair of emergency orders intended to address a major influx of COVID-19 patients requiring hospital care.

They include a directive allowing hospitals to transfer patients to other facilities without their consent, as well as one granting the province power to redeploy dozens of workers from home-care organizations and Ontario Health – the body that oversees the health system – to hospitals during a surge.

Hospitals will also begin scaling back elective surgeries as of Monday as they try to keep pace with COVID-19-related demands.

Ontario says 104,783 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the province since Friday’s report. It’s the fourth straight day more than 100,000 vaccines have been given out in the province.

The province announced a plan this week to send mobile teams into postal codes where the virus is prevalent, offering shots to residents aged 18 and older in congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based centres and large workplaces. The areas will be selected based on patterns of transmission, illness and death from COVID-19.

Officials have said the plan will take some time to fully launch, but experts say the approach is a good one that will help blunt the impact of the third wave that’s sending younger people to the hospital, many of them workers in essential jobs like manufacturing.

“I think this intervention is one of the best things that we can do right now to change the trajectory,” said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont.

A total of 3,044,949 vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario so far.

More than 61,400 tests were completed since the last report.

Elsewhere in Canada:

Quebec is reporting 1,754 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including two in the past 24 hours. Health authorities say there are 14 more patients in hospital for a total of 583, with the number in intensive care rising by four to 138. Montreal led the way with 428 new COVID-19 infections, followed by Quebec City with 410 and Chaudiere-Appalaches, just south of the provincial capital, with 220 new infections. There are now 12,371 active cases in the province. Quebec set another daily record for inoculations on Friday, administering more than 73,023 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. More than 21 per cent of Quebecers have received a first dose since the immunization campaign began. Manitoba is reporting 135 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, along with one new death. Public health says the death involved a woman in her 80s in the Winnipeg health region. The new cases bring the province’s overall total to 35,104, with 1,259 active diagnoses. The province says 141 people remain in hospital recovering from the novel coronavirus. Health officials in New Brunswick say the Edmundston-Grand Falls region will go under full lockdown as of midnight Saturday because of an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. The province is reporting 19 new cases of the virus and one death – a person in their 70s in the Edmundston area. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell says 15 of the new cases are in the Edmundston region, with two in the Fredericton area, one case in the Moncton region and one in the Saint John area. The province currently has 149 active cases and Russell says it must now be assumed that all new infections in New Brunswick are caused by one of the variants that are driving case counts in many areas of the country. Nova Scotia is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 Saturday. Health officials say three of the six cases identified in the Halifax area are related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada, while the other three are close contacts of previously reported patients. The remaining two cases are in the western health zone, with one related to travel outside of the Atlantic region and the other under investigation. The province currently has 43 known active COVID-19 diagnoses, and no one is in hospital with the virus. Officials say provincial labs completed 2,339 tests for the virus on Friday and have completed 325,774 tests since Oct. 1. In a news release, chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang says Nova Scotia is faring well compared to other places in Canada and around the world. “We are fortunate to see low COVID-19 activity in Nova Scotia,” the statement said. Alberta’s premier and education minister say a pilot program that has been using rapid screening tests in some Calgary schools is being expanded to about 300 other schools in the province. Premier Jason Kenney says approximately 400,000 of the rapid tests will be rolled out for use in junior and senior high schools in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie and Lethbridge. He says that will mean rapid testing will be available for approximately 200,000 students and 20,000 staff. Also in Ontario, a pilot project offering COVID-19 vaccines to migrant farm workers got underway on Saturday at Toronto’s international airport. Avi Yufest, spokesman for the Ontario agriculture ministry, told The Canadian Press the program “went well” as the government offered shots to more than 200 workers landing on an early-morning flight from Mexico. Yufest said there were “no major glitches” in the rollout, but that lessons learned from the first day would be introduced into a more permanent program that will offer shots to more workers arriving next week. The government has said it plans to follow up with farms to administer the second dose through the local public health unit.
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When exercise was taking over my life, this is how I forged a new perspective

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A couple of months into the pandemic, high school student Jacqueline Chen writes that she started experiencing frequent panic attacks. ‘I had a sudden urge to exercise and to do it right there and then.

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Jacqueline Chen

A couple of months into the pandemic, high school student Jacqueline Chen writes that she started experiencing frequent panic attacks. ‘I had a sudden urge to exercise and to do it right there and then.


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How parts of Canada are going about vaccinating teachers against COVID-19

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As provinces and territories move into the next phase of their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, educators and school staff are starting to join the priority groups eligible for shots. Here’s a look at some of the different rollout strategies being deployed across Canada.

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SURREY VACCINATION

As provinces and territories move into the next phase of their COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, educators and school staff are starting to join the priority groups eligible for shots. Here’s a look at some of the different rollout strategies being deployed across Canada.


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