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For more on today’s top stories and the spread of the novel coronavirus across the country, please refer to our live updates below throughout the day, as well as our COVID-19 news hub.
‘Concerning’ number of cases over the weekend in B.C.
Dr. Réka Gustafson, British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, said the province is dealing with a “concerning” number of COVID-19 cases, after 1,120 new cases were reported over a three-day period.
She said the most common places of transmission are private “uncontrolled” gatherings in a private residence, with too many many and no safety protocols in place.
Health minister Adrian Dix recognized that it can be incredibly frustrating for British Columbians who are following the public health rules to see individuals who aren’t doing the same, specifically after reports of large crowds of people on Halloween.
“We’re facing COVID-19 for a long time to come, for months and months and months and months and month and months and months to come,” Dix said. “We need to follow public health guidance and public health advice.”
The health minister said it’s even more important to follow the rules in the winter months, compared to summer, and suggested that upcoming holiday gatherings will have to be virtual this year.
Dr. Gustafson also spoke about the federal COVID Alert app and why B.C. hasn’t adopted it yet. She said it was carefully reviewed with contact tracers in the province and the information that the app provides wouldn’t have any “additional benefit.”
“It isn’t able to notify and tell them...how intense that contact was,...when it occurred and what they need to do about it,” she said. “In order to act in a meaningful way...you need to have some details about it.”
‘You knew the allocations that you had so don’t overbook people’
The Ontario government announced it is increasing the hours of direct care for long-term care residents to an average of four hours per day.
“I made a promise to long-term care residents, their families and their caregivers that we would deliver better care for our seniors,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “Today, we are delivering on that promise and acting on the early recommendations of Ontario's Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission.”
“By increasing the hours of daily direct care for residents, we will improve their quality of life and ensure they are more comfortable and safe.”
At a press conference on Monday, Ford called out Rexall pharmacies for overbooking influenza vaccine appointments after it was announced the chain is pausing the flu shot program due to supply issues.
“You knew the allocations that you had so don’t overbook people,” the premier said. “If you know you have X amount of flu shots, book X amount of flu shots.”
The premier also defended the decision to move Toronto, Peel, York and Ottawa into modified Stage 2 restrictions.
Ford said he would rather err on the side of caution than let everything go “hog wild” and open up.
Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga, said her region added restrictions “at exactly the right time” but stressed that now a lot of cases are linked to private social gatherings. She added that if restrictions are lifted, it’s even more important for the public to follow the rules.
Brampton test positivity hit 9.6%
As COVID-19 cases continue to be identified, particularly in these hotspots, Peel’s most recent weekly Public Health Surveillance report indicates that Brampton’s test positivity rate has reached 9.6 per cent.
The value in other Peel municipalities is significantly lower at 4.6 per cent in Caledon and 4.4 per cent Mississauga.
The test positivity rate for Canada as a whole from Oct. 18 to Oct. 30 was four per cent.
The high rate had readers online frustrated:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the goal is to keep the test positivity values below five per cent.
Ontario COVID-19 cases stay above 900
Ontario reported 948 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, including 315 new cases in Toronto, 269 in Peel, 81 in York Region and 64 in Ottawa.
Seven more deaths were reported in Ontario, bringing the total in the province to 3,152 deaths.
The province completed 27,908 tests in the past day and 15,397 tests are currently under investigation.
There are currently 78 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 502 resident cases and 318 staff cases.
Ontario reported 71 news school-related COVID-19 cases on Monday, including 41 student cases, eight staff cases and 22 that have not been identified.
Quebec COVID-19 cases jump up over 1,000
Quebec reported 1,037 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, an increase from the 965 cases reported a day earlier.
Of the new cases, 224 are in Montreal, 173 people in Montérégie, 140 in Lanaudière and 105 in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean.
The province confirmed 12 more death, one of which occurred in the last 24 hours.
There are currently 499 people with COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, including 81 in intensive care.